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Are You Training Smart?
June 18, 2013

Do You Know How
to Plan Your Fitness Routine?

I believe one of the biggest obstacles that people face when beginning a fitness plan is simply not knowing what to do. It is great to understand and acknowledge that you need to exercise, but it can be quite daunting to actually try and figure out how to structure a safe and effective workout routine. Where do you begin? What do you do? How do you do it?

Well, no worries because I am here to answer these questions and allay any doubts or fears you may have concerning these issues and many more.

To reiterate what I’ve been preaching for years, your fitness plan needs to consist of cardiovascular exercise to burn off calories and fat, strength training to tone, build and condition lean muscle, and a healthy nutrition plan to fuel your body through all of the above. In today’s newsletter we will discuss the cardio and strength training segments.

Myself, along with any other personal trainer worth their weight in dumbbells, will tell you that the best way to burn fat from any part of your body is through…what? That’s right, cardiovascular exercise. That said, you’ll still need to strength train in order to have more lean muscle mass. Remember, the more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism and the more calories you burn even at rest. Why? Because muscle is a much more active substance than fat. Muscle burns 2-3 times the calories per day than fat.

There are many factors to consider when planning a workout regimen. Things like specific goals, your level of fitness, how many days a week you want to train and how much time you are willing to commit.

Many people ask me if they should do cardio and strength train on the same day and if so which comes first? The answer depends on how long you want your session to last. For instance, if you've planned an hour, you could split the time between them. If you are thinking of doing much more than 30 minutes of cardio on the same day as strength training for 45 minutes or more, you may want to consider putting a few hours between them if possible in order for your system to recuperate a bit. In other words, if your total workout time exceeds much over 75-90 minutes, you may be better off to do cardio one day and strength train on another. Morning or evening cardio is an option, strength training at another time in the day or on alternating days. Extra long training sessions are okay now and then, but I recommend against them on a regular basis.

Just remember: Biting off more than you can chew on an ongoing basis can lead to overtraining and possible burnout. Burnout is one of the biggest reasons people start a fitness regimen only to quit before they see results. It is better to go at a steady pace for the long haul rather than to hit it like gangbusters only to risk injury and burnout.

If you plan to strength train and do cardio in the same session, I suggest strength training first and follow up with your cardio. This will augment the fat burning process during your cardio and will allow your best glycogen (stored carbs) to be utilized for strength training.

For general fitness, you should strength train every major muscle group at least 2-3 times a week. You need to be doing cardio 3-6 days a week according to what your goals are and your current fitness level, etc.

Be sure and read the cardio guidelines and strength training guidelines at to ensure safe and effective workouts. Plus, don't forget to stretch. Flexibility is important, especially as we age. Lastly, always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise, diet or fitness program. Now, go work out and have fun! No, really! Enjoy!

For more tips and info that can help you get better results from your fitness plan, be sure and check out my new eBook So You Joined a Gym...Now What? Part II Essential Workout Tips & Secrets for Beginners: How to Exercise & Train Smart." The information in this book will kick your workouts into overdrive, no matter what your level of fitness. Because it matters HOW YOU WORKOUT! This book will show you how. Go to Smashwords for any other format that isn't covered at Amazon.

This is the part of the newsletter where I feature an exercise and give explicit instructions on its proper execution.

This month's featured exercise is the Swiss Ball Side Raise. This is an amazing exercise for the waistline. It is a little tricky at first, however, when done right, you won't be able to believe how much you feel this in the oblique area. And who doesn't want a more defined waistline???

Swiss or Stability Ball Side Raises
Primary Muscle Group Worked:
The Entire Core. Abdominals, including oblique muscles.

To see a video of this exercise go to My YouTube channel

Preparation: Kneel sideways to the wall about a foot away from the wall with an exercise ball at your side as shown. Bend leg closest to the ball at a 90 degree angle and position your body sideways across the ball with hands just below ears. Nearly straighten the other leg and lodge it against the wall for balance.

Execution: Exhale as you bend at the torso up towards the wall as far as you can and pause and return to the straight torso position. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.

TIP: This takes practice. If the ball is too far under your armpit you won't be able to move much. And if it is too far under your hip it won't feel right either. Keep trying till you find the right position. You'll know it when you do. It's a great one for the waistline! Enjoy!

Okay, peeps! This is the inspirational part of the newsletter known as the "Ponder Pond" where you're welcome to take a swim in the sweet waters of inspiration.

I warn you that this month's video is by a guy named Andy Dooley, and he is more than a little wacky, but he cracks me up and has found a way to deliver a profound message in a craaaaaaaazeeeeee way. He is the brother of Mike Dooley who does the Notes from the Universe. I have them delivered to my email daily and honestly look forward to each and every one of them. I hope you like it!

Be sure and check out my new blog site! Just click here. to head on over and give it a read! I will be posting a new blog in the next few weeks.

Please sign up for my mailing list and subscribe to my blog so that you can be informed when I post a new blog. I am a believer in less is more so don't worry about being inundated with posts telling you every time I had a snack or a new thought. On the other hand, I hope you find the wait between posts worthwhile as I plan to speak directly from my "writing" soul and I look greatly forward to it.


Go Here to buy my fitness books now for your Kindle! And did you know you can give Kindle ebooks as gifts – just click the yellow "Give as a Gift" button on the right side of any Kindle book page on Amazon.

The Now What? Fitness Series is for sale now at and is available for download to your Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android devices, PC, and Mac.

Or if you're a loyal Barnes and Noble customer, then by all means click here.

Say! Did you know that you can follow me on Facebook? Well, you can! Jump on over to and "like" my page, please. I post a fitness tip most days. Feel free to leave comments and check in often. Thanks ever so much! If you have read any of my books you can also go to my new facebook page at and drum up a conversation with other readers or me or whomever. It's brand new so don't let the crickets scare you. Somebody has to get this party started, right?

Thanks so much for subscribing to this newsletter and for reading it and for your support. Our relationship is reciprocal as I live and learn from all that happens in my life, just as you live and learn through yours. We are truly in this together, and I empathize with your challenges as I do my own. I promise to hang in there and learn and grow along with you, and I hope that sharing through my writing maybe helps you a smidge. If it does, that is my payback. It is why I continue to do what I do.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to pay it forward to anyone you think would like it too. That is the best compliment you could ever pay me, and I appreciate it very, very much.

And don't forget to tell everybody about and Now What? Fitness Blog where they can get all the fitness info their heart desires and sign up for this newsletter while they are there.

From my heart to your health,

Linda Burke, CPT

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