Countless theories support various weight-training routines, and heated debates often surround discussions of what is the most effective number of "reps", sets, days, techniques, and intensities. In the end, most routines work — assuming they are supported by proper nutrition and training protocols. Essentially all weight-training routines are based upon the fact that if muscles are stimulated or stressed through weight-lifting (no matter what the routine), muscles will in turn respond by growing. Basically, "controlled damage" is the goal of every weight-lifting routine. The athlete must tear-down the muscle just enough so the body will respond by adding new muscle fiber. It is important to understand that "controlled" indicates that it is possible to lift too hard, too long, and too often and thereby overtrain the muscle — which is, in fact, counter-productive.
So which program should you use? The best answer is to try them all! The key to progress is muscle stimulation. The most effective way to consistently stimulate the muscles is to vary your routine every 8 to 10 weeks. So grab a routine out of your favorite magazine and try it out — just don't hang on to it too long. Inject new ideas and routines into your training. Your muscles need change; they respond to variety. Once your body adapts to your current routine, your progress will begin to slow and perhaps even stop. You must shock the muscles with different routines and new exercises.
The purpose of this training guide is to consolidate and describe a number of training exercises for each body part and to suggest a few training schedules. It is your responsibility to determine when your body is no longer responding (getting sore or making gains) and to then determine that it's time to alter your routine. Additionally, this guide sets out some fundamental principles concerning technique, intensity and concentration. Lack of attention to these three principles (not lack of some secret training regimen) prove to be the downfall of most novice and intermediate athletes and bodybuilders.
Aerobic activities help to strengthen the heart, increase lung capacity and burn "fat" calories. Expending energy is what gives us back more energy for other activities in our lives. Vary your aerobic activity. Cross training gives your mind and body something to continue to work at. Less chance of boredom when you have more choices of activities to do. Your body will be less likely to plateau if you change what you are doing.
How often and how long? If you are just trying to maintain your fitness level and keep conditioned, do aerobic activity at least 3 times a week. If you are wanting a change in your fitness level, your aerobic activity needs to be no less than 4 times a week and as much as 6 times a week. Aerobic activity can be broken up into periods throughout the day, but you want to have at least 20 minutes of continuous cardiovascular work and up to 60 minutes. Varying the duration of your activity is also a good way to keep your body guessing.
Vary your intensity level. Using a "rate of perceived exertion" scale of 1-10 learn to listen to your body and then believe it and challenge it from time to time. The "1" is the rate at which you are at complete rest. The "10" is the rate at which you are breathless. In an aerobic activity you will typically be between 5-8 on the scale. It is okay and actually recommended to do interval training to where you reach between the 8-10 on the same scale for short bursts. We call this getting uncomfortable. Many changes can occur when challenging your self aerobically at 1-2 times a week during your aerobic activities. Understand that heart rate increase as well as an increase in oxygen uptake is truly working aerobically. If you can sing you are not working hard enough to make changes..