3 Keys to a Well-Balanced Workout

Pilates, Barre, Crossfit, Spin — the range of workout trends and options is ever-growing. Whether you’re on board with the latest craze, or you rely on your own tried-and-true plan, there are three important components of a well-rounded workout strategy. Read on to determine where your regimen falls.

Cardiovascular Exercise: aka: “Cardio”
The term “cardio” is thrown around alot, but its importance shouldn’t be underestimated. Cardiovascular exercise is any activity that raises your heart rate for 20 minutes or longer. Biking, walking, running, swimming laps, using an elliptical or stationary bike — they all fit into this category.

Regularly scheduled cardio can benefit you from head to toe. It burns calories and fat, helps strengthen your heart, decreases the chance of a stroke, helps control blood sugar, boosts your mood and improves sleep. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio a minimum of five times each week.

Strength Training
Strength training is any activity where muscles are worked using external weight, like free weights or kettlebells, or one’s own body weight, such as with push-ups or yoga. Strength training helps you develop strong bones and manage chronic conditions you may face.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend muscle-strengthening exercises at least twice a week. These may include traditional activities that don’t require equipment, like abdominal crunches and leg squats (with your body weight), as well as equipment-based moves. Intense interval training programs like Crossfit and HIIT also fall into the strength training category.

Rest and Recover
You can go hard on each and every workout, but people tend to forget that we have an adaptive response to workouts. Working out literally break the body down. The body responds by recovering and adapting to be better prepared for another workout (breakdown), BUT if the body isn’t given the chance to rest and recuperate, you will continue to break down; and that’s the definition of overtraining. So, enjoy occasional rest days, and add active recovery to your schedule. Whether it’s a restorative yoga class or a relaxing walk around the neighborhood, the low-impact activity can help your mind and body recoup from taxing workouts.

Growing up in Little Italy Chicago wasn’t easy. My neighborhood was a lot like the movie Good Fellas. No joke. And lets just say I had no luck dating back then. I had thick glasses, braces, a funny hair do, and I was a runt. I couldn’t talk to a girl let alone get a date. Tired of being bullied and overlooked, I started training like I was Rocky fight for my life. Ironically, working out started as my coping mechanism, but evolved into a very successful career in fitness. Today, few things bring me a greater sense of fulfillment than helping friends empower their lives through fitness, the same way it empowered mine. I currently live in Los Angeles where I coach body transformations, and oversee my fitness and business endeavors.