Embarking on a fitness journey is one of the best things you can do this year. You’ll look back in twelve months and be amazed at how far you’ve come, you’ll be fitter and stronger, look better and have more energy. Chances are you’ll have improved sleep, improved mood and working out will probably inspire you to eat better too. But what sorts of things do you need to include in your routine? Here are some ideas for building up a workout schedule. 

Cardio

When you think about exercise and getting fit, chances are it’s cardio that springs to mind. Running and jogging, HIIT workouts, martial art classes like BJJ Gi and any cardio machine in the gym are all great for this. These kinds of workouts exercise your heart and lungs which help you to build up endurance. They burn lots of calories so are great if you want to lose body fat, and they give you that typical ‘high’ when your body gives you a boost of endorphins. Add a number of cardio sessions into your week and you’ll see and feel the effects really quickly, not only will you feel fitter and be able to go for longer when working out, but you’ll naturally have more energy and probably be in a better mood as well. Cardio is hard work and so keeping motivated can be tricky, the key is to find activities you genuinely enjoy and mix it up as well. If all you do is hop on the treadmill and jog for an hour every session you’re soon going to be bored to tears. Not only will different activities work out different body parts but it will keep your interest for longer too. Things like sports and group activities can be good as having other people around will likely motivate you. 

Low intensity workouts

With high intensity workouts you’ll burn a lot of calories and feel the effects of them quickly. However, don’t be afraid to add some much slower paced activities to your routine too. Take walking for example, it’s is a massively underrated exercise which is free to do and provides numerous effects to the body. Swimming is another example, or even easy cycling routes on flat ground. It goes to show that you don’t always need to be pushing your limits to get great effects from exercise- these things are good to do on your ‘rest days’ as well. This is because they keep you active but without putting strain on your body so it can heal from more intense days. Sometimes you might just be having lower energy days where the thought of working to your maximum really doesn’t appeal. Don’t just skip your workout, do something like this instead 

Flexibility

Flexibility is so important, as it gives you a greater range of motion which can actually help to prevent injuries. On top of this, stretching is a great way to warm down, and can also promote relaxation and wellbeing. Take yoga and pilates for example, the effects of these sorts of exercise on both body and mind are well documented. Once a week, make the effort to do a stretch workout or attend a class. It only needs to be thirty minutes if you’re short on time, but it can make a huge difference in the rest of your exercise journey too. 

Strength

If you’re looking to start your fitness journey because you want to make a significant difference to the way that you look, adding strength workouts in is the way to do it. Cardio will drop the body fat, but it’s strength workouts that will tone and sculpt and really pull you in in all the right areas making you look strong and lean. And of course, there are numerous health benefits on top of this. It makes you stronger, and having this muscle means you will burn more calories at rest so is another fantastic tool for weight loss or managing weight. Plus, the stronger your muscles are, the harder you can work in your cardio workouts too so you’ll be able to go faster and for longer. This means it’s something that everyone should include in their routine regardless of gender. You don’t have to hit the heavy weights, in fact to build lean muscle it’s better to use lighter weight and do more reps. If you want to bulk up, work your way up to heavier weights gradually to avoid causing an injury.