How to Build the Optimal Fitness Routine

Jumping in to a new fitness routine can be an overwhelming goal. There are several different types of workouts you can do, and multiple areas of your body that deserve attention. Figuring out a plan that checks every box can be tricky, especially since time is so precious and working out is just one of many different things on your to-do list each day. So, what does an optimal fitness routine look like? The XPRO team for Xponential+ (or XPLUS) is here to help map out a simple plan that addresses each and every fitness need and achieves your goals.

Balance is really the name of the game here, in terms of both time and variety of exercises. Unfortunately, there is not a single type of workout that meets every possible need, so to get the most out of your routine, you’ll need to mix in several different types of fitness. To simplify, the XPRO team has broken it all down into three major categories: Cardio, strength, and stretching/recovery. They recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise per week, at least two strength focused workouts per week, and proper stretching before and after each workout.

On the cardio side, it’s good to get in the habit of doing a little bit each day. According to Stevie Vladic, CycleBar XPRO for XPLUS, an ideal approach would be to switch off between light activities like walking or jogging and more intense workouts like running, biking or swimming, perhaps with a class like CycleBar or STRIDE on Xponential+. Regardless of what category of exercise you like most, you’ll want to regularly do cardio because it’s a quick way to burn calories and get in good shape. 

Strength training is equally as important as cardio, because it builds muscle and improves your body’s ratio of lean muscle mass to fat. It’s smart to approach weight lifting carefully, because if you recklessly dive in, you risk injury. Josh Honore, Row House and STRIDE XPRO for XPLUS, recommends targeting all major muscle groups, which are legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms at least twice a week. In order to build muscle and get stronger, without overdoing it, start with 3 sets of 10 reps per muscle group/exercise. Below is a great lift for each muscle group:

  • Legs: Squats
  • Hips: Side Lunges
  • Back: Deadlift
  • Chest: Bench Press
  • Abdomen: Kettlebell Swings
  • Shoulders: Overhead Press 
  • Arms: Bicep curls with dumbbells

Some bonus lifting tips to keep in mind: focus on your form, not amount of weight. Keep a steady tempo, there’s no need to rush. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself once you start to feel comfortable. And finally, allow 48 hours of recovery time in between lifting sessions, so your muscles can repair and avoid injury. That’s you ultimately get stronger! 

None of this would be 100% effective if you neglect the most overlooked part of fitness; stretching. Kelsey Decker, StretchLab XPRO for XPLUS says it’s highly recommended that you establish good stretching habits before and after you work out. You can do this by doing either dynamic stretches, perhaps with a StretchLab session on the XPLUS app, or flexibility-focused exercises like yoga and Pilates, also available on XPLUS through Club Pilates and YogaSix. Decker can’t stress the importance of this enough, because this prepares your muscles for activity and reduce the risk of injury. It also increases flexibility and range of motion and decreases severe soreness, which all makes a more effective lift or run. Failure to do this can lead to slower progress and unsatisfactory results. Whether it’s before or after your workout, at least 10-15 of stretching is a must, while 15-20 minutes is ideal. No need to spend more than 20 minutes if you do the right stretches properly. See below for two key stretches that will set yourself up for success:

1. Lunge with trunk rotation: This will target your core, glutes and thighs. Start standing with your feet together then lunge backward with your left leg. Once planted, rotate your upper body to the right (away from the reversed leg). Lift your left leg and return it to the start position, repeat this on the right side. Complete this 10 times each side. Focus on slow and controlled movements. Quality over quantity.

IMG_2310_1

2. Hamstring sweeps: Start standing, move your right leg slightly forward (toe pointed up off the ground). Bend your left knee and in a slow, controlled sweeping motion reach down towards your right foot and then return to your starting point. Repeat this on the other side, complete 10 times each side.

IMG_2310

There’s no doubt that it’s not easy to start a new, full-fledged workout routine. But if you’re someone that’s been curious about jumping in and embracing the world of fitness, the XPRO team hopes this outline helps you develop a well-rounded, active lifestyle. As long as you incorporate a steady mix of cardio, strength training and stretching, you’ll get the desired results you deserve.