Six Elements of a Well-rounded Fitness Training Routine
Every client will have different goals for their fitness journey. Whether they want to lose weight, build strength, or gain flexibility, it’s your job to help them achieve their goals in a sustainable and healthy way. For a well-rounded training routine, make sure your clients cover these six areas of fitness over the course of their weekly workout schedule.
A well-rounded routine has six basic elements: balance training, flexibility, core exercises, aerobic fitness, high-intensity interval training and strength training.
Challenging your client’s balance is a great way to promote stability and core strength. Balance exercises are helpful for all ages, but they’re especially important for older clients, as older adults tend to lose their ability to balance over time, which can result in fractures or falls. The exercise you choose for the client will depend on their level of strength and existing balance ability. Something as simple as having your client balance on one foot for a few seconds on each side can be a great place to start with a beginner or older client who needs to build foundational strength. Add challenge by increasing the length of time, or have them stand on a Bosu ball. This inverted ‘half’ swiss ball offers a variety of exercise possibilities which force the body to use core muscles to maintain balance.
Flexibility is a crucial element of any well-rounded fitness training routine, but it is often overlooked. This is perhaps because the benefits aren’t as tangible or obvious as say, weight loss or increased muscle mass. However, without flexibility, all other fitness goals are not only difficult to achieve but are less sustainable over time. While your clients may not see the point of devoting much time to stretching at first, it’s important to encourage the habit. After a while, they will feel the benefits—both in the gym and in daily life—and won’t need to be reminded. Stretching will (duh) make them more flexible, but it will also promote functional fitness, allowing them to perform day-to-day tasks with greater ease. They will benefit from a greater range of motion in the joints and may also start to enjoy better posture.
Stretching is a great way to cool down after a workout when the muscles are still warm. If the client would prefer to stretch ahead of their workout because of time concerns, this is fine as long as the client does a ten-minute warm-up beforehand. Extra points if your client does yoga, but this shouldn’t replace daily stretching after a strenuous gym session.
Love it or hate it, cardio is a staple of any well-rounded fitness training routine. Some clients will be hard to convince that they should do anything other than cardio. Other clients won’t do five minutes on the exercise bike without your breathing down their necks. Whatever their attitude, the client will benefit from a decent dose of aerobic activity in their fitness training program. Cardio demands that you breathe deeper and faster, and gets the heart pumping, increasing oxygenation of the blood, and speeding the flow of blood to the muscles. Helping a client improve their aerobic fitness will improve the efficiency with which their heart, lungs and blood vessels move oxygen around the body, making the rest of their fitness training routine like strength training more productive.
There are loads of options when it comes to cardio. Running is ever-popular, and can be enjoyed both in the gym on the treadmill, or outside in the fresh air as a separate cardio day. For clients requiring low impact options, consider spinning or swimming.
The Department of Health and Human Services suggests at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio per week for a healthy adult. This is ideally spread throughout the week, with a combination of moderate and vigorous exercise. Your client may have to build up to this, or they may wish to surpass it. If your client is allergic to cardio, just keep encouraging them to stick with it. Remember, any cardio is better than nothing at all.
Depending on your client’s goals and physical ability, they may wish to push themselves a little to help them make fitness breakthroughs. For a healthy adult hoping to improve overall fitness, a well-rounded fitness training routine will include a high-intensity interval training session. A HIIT session involves alternating bursts of intense activity (short periods of 30 seconds to one minute) with recovery or rest periods, which can be anything from ten seconds of absolute rest, to a four-minute lower intensity period. For example, your client could alternate high-intensity bursts of kettlebell swings with periods of slow and controlled lunges.
Muscular fitness is a core component of a fitness training routine. Not only will your client increase bone density and muscular strength, but it will help them lose weight, or manage their weight, depending on their objectives. A well-rounded fitness training routine will include strength training of all major muscle groups on a rotation so that each muscle group is trained at least twice a week. The type of strength training your client performs will depend on their preference and mobility. Free weights or resistance machines that challenge the muscle groups are great. Compound exercises are extra efficient as they help the client target several muscle groups at once. Build in progression as your client gets stronger and starts taking the routine in their stride.
The core muscles—the muscles in your lower back, pelvis, and abdomen—perform the vital function of protecting your spine and connecting lower and upper body movements. Core strength is a vital component of any well-rounded fitness training routine. Without a strong core, strength training is not safe, especially once the client progresses to heavier weights. Help your client build core strength through exercises such as planks, sit-ups, swiss-ball exercises, and leg lifts.
Whether your client is a novice dipping their toe into fitness for the first time, or a seasoned exercise veteran hoping to hone their performance, a well-rounded workout routine is vital. Include these six elements to create a balanced routine.