How to choose a workout (Part 2)

In General by Adam Friedman

Part II: Know your goals

I. General Health

A. Represents prevention of some common, or hereditary health risk factors such as:

  • Dying prematurely
  • Dying from heart disease
  • Developing diabetes
  • Developing high blood pressure
  • Developing colon cancer
  • Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety

B. Represents the desire to improve health in the following ways:

  • Control weight.
  • Build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
  • Promote psychological well-being
  • For older adults to become stronger and move without falling

II. Fat Loss

It is the desire to lower the total percentage of body fat in the entire body to accomplish the following:

A. To reach healthy or fitness standards

Body Fat Standards for Women Recommended by Age Group

20 to 29 30 to 39 40 to 49 50 to 59 69+
Very low (extreme fitness) <16 <17 <18 <19 <20
Low (fitness) 16-19 17-20 18-21 19-22 20-23
Optimal (healthy) 20-28 21-29 22-30 23-31 24-32
Moderately high (borderline obesity) 29-31 30-32 31-33 32-33 33-35
High (obese) >31 >32 >33 >34 >35

B. To gain confidence by looking and feeling better with, or without clothes.


III. Muscle Strength through weight lifting is commonly used for body shaping and building, and to improve performance in activity.

A. It is the desire to have the following improvements or increases:

  • Body Shape and Symmetry
  • Amount of lean muscle in the body
  • Metabolism (muscle requires more energy to sustain than fat)
  • Functional mobility (speed, power, and quickness)
  • Balance and coordination
  • The ability to perform challenges of daily life with less effort.
  •   Reduction of injury risk and severity
  • Strength of tendons and ligaments
  • Muscle Tone
  • Bone density and strength
  • Posture

B.     Activities that lead to muscle strength are based on three types of muscular contractions that target mainly the fast-twitch muscle fibers.

  • Dynamic contraction
    • Weight training
  • Power contraction
    • Plyometrics (jumping, throwing)
    • Olympic style weightlifting
  • Isometric contraction
    • Handstand
    • Spinal Erector during Squat, Overhead Press, etc


IV. Cardiovascular Endurance

A. It is the desire to have the following improvements or increases:

  • Cardio respiratory function – heart and lungs for efficient breathing, and recovery after activity
  • Cardiovascular function – arterial blood pressure
  • Circulatory function – blood flow to the body’s tissues to slow the aging process.
  • Stamina – last longer during moderate to high intensity activity.
  • Metabolism – stimulate the endocrine system to burn more calories.
  • Digestion – stimulate the large and small intestine for better bowel movements.
  • Immune system – stimulate the movement of lymph fluid (body’s natural defense) through out the body.

B. Activities that lead to cardiovascular endurance are based on two parts:

  • Continuous Training (Primarily Aerobic activity) which focuses mainly on slow twitch muscle fibers.
    • Biking
    • Walking/Jogging
  • Interval Training (any work to rest ratio of at least 1:1 stimulating both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems) which involves a combination of slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers.
    • Circuit Training
    • 2:1 Run to Walk Ratio

V. Muscular Endurance

It is the desire to have the following improvements or increases:

A. The ability to accomplish repetitive movements in a single or multiple bouts, with reduced effects of muscular fatigue.

  • Example: Skiing, Rowing, Running

B. The ability to hold a resistance for a prolonged period.

  • Example: Rock climbing, tug-of-war, carrying a baby.

C. Prolonged intense contractions coupled with short rest periods.

  • Example: Basketball, Football, Tennis, Circuit Training, Boxing

VI. Core Strength is the body’s ability to stabilize the spine and the pelvis, and protect our nervous system and vital organs.

A. It is the desire to have the following improvements or increases in:

  • Posture
  • Overall Body Strength
  • Injury Prevention
  • Low back and hip health
  • A toned mid-section

B. Activities that lead to Core Strength are based on two parts:

  • Stability (static postures)
    • Isometric Body Bridges
    • Balancing on one foot
  • Stability with Mobility
    • Squat
    • Dead lift
    • Hanging Leg Raises

VII. Injury Prevention

A. It is the desire to have the following improvements or increases in:

  • Muscular balance of strength for proper posture, and efficiency of movement
  • Proper Biomechanics in activities (lifting, running, jumping)
  • Tendon and ligament strength around joints.
  • Optimal muscular length for flexibility
  • Optimal joint range of motion for unrestricted movement

B. Activities that lead to Injury Prevention are:

  • Strength Training
  • Cardiovascular Training
  • Stretching

VIII. Increased Energy

A. It is the desire to have the following improvement or increases in:

  • Productivity at work
  • Stamina for long days
  • Exercise performance
  • Recovery from any activity

B. Activities that lead to Increased Energy are:

  • Strength Training
  • Cardiovascular Training
  • Stretching