It’s a common question. But how much you should be working out, in my opinion, really depends on your own personal needs and wants.
Do you want a perky butt? Toned arms and a six pack? Or maybe you know what you want, but your mind is struggling to know where to start.
The motivation to do the reps escapes you and maybe what you actually need is some steady state cardio to get you off the couch.
There really is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to exercise. We’re all are living through different daily pressures and stress. Some of us may respond quickly to cardio while others prefer to dive into deadlifts and weighted squats.
So, here are my top four tips for getting the balance right – and the perky butt, too!
Be honest with yourself: Do you feel stressed?
Is your heart rate elevated? Is your mind racing? Is your breathing shallow? If so, this could mean your cortisol (stress hormone) is already through the roof! Cortisol can cause muscle to break down, belly fat to increase, not to mention our mood can be in a highly altered state or increased negative emotions and irritability… phew! If this is you, regular steady state cardio like 60 minute walks, yoga or other restorative practices like massage and acupuncture could be what you need to get started.
Be OK with doing less in the beginning
When stress levels are high, training can feel tough and not enjoyable. So rather than thinking you have to lift your heaviest or run your fastest, if you’re feeling low, work at a 70% intensity. Be OK with it. You still showed up, you still did something positive for you body and more importantly your mind.
Introduce strength training slowly and at least twice per week
If you want a perky butt, you need to challenge your muscles! These don’t have to be hour long sessions, 30-45 minutes is enough. Even just your own body weight can be challenging, but don’t be scared, ladies, of lifting heavy, if you want perky, then you need to feel the burn. Pilates is also an excellent alternative to squats and deadlifts, for building core/glute strength and stability if you haven’t been training for a while.
Walk as much as you like, but don’t forget to stretch!
Walking is a great practice to increase endorphins and combat depression, anger and fatigue. Challenge yourself and find some hills or stairs to climb, it will really help to elevate your heart rate if you’re not doing any running. Even walking however can cause tightness in the legs and sometimes a pain or pulling into the lower back, so make sure you spend 10 minutes stretching once you get home.
Tegan Haining is a personal trainer and the author of ‘The 7 Day Quickie’. She is the former PT of David Beckham, Jess Gomes and Lara Stone.
Read more stories like this: 3 signs you have ‘stress belly’ and how to get rid of it and How to keep your cortisol levels under control.