The Hamilton Spectator

The perfect fitness workout

Imperfect action always beats perfect inaction


Q So much has been written about working out and training that I was wondering if there was a “perfect” workout. One that meets all the needs for all of those who follow it. What would be your idea of a perfect workout? A

Wow, talk about a jumping off point! The question of what would make up a “perfect” workout is easily answered in two words; it depends. Just as our lives evolve, shift, and change with the seasons, so too do our workout needs. Having said that, I do have some ideas on what would make up a nearly perfect workout.

You can think of the perfect workout in a couple of ways. The first entails a longer-term plan which evolves and then ends at a “peak” and has you prepared for a specific outcome -- an athletic event, a reunion, a wedding, beach vacation or even something like a major surgery which requires “pre-habilitati­on.” The second is to think of individual “workouts.” A great analogy would be to think of the long-term plan as a diet regimen and the workout as a single meal. They are related, but not the same thing.

If you’ve followed me for any amount of mine, you’ll have read about my enthusiasm for “progressio­n” in a training plan. The reason for this is to ensure each training program continues to provide a challenge to the exercisers who engage in them. Without progressio­n, the body quickly adapts to the demands of the workout and stops improving before beginning a backslide where muscle, strength and endurance is lost while the body gets better at storing fat.

Therefore, the perfect workout must include an element of progressio­n. This can be achieved by lifting more weight, resting less, changing the equipment used or following a different training style or even by adjusting the length of each individual training session … along with many other methods. With imaginatio­n and experience, progressio­n means participan­ts will never be bored by the “same old, same old” routine and can continue to make progress over long periods of time.

When it comes to individual training sessions, there are certain things that should always be included in a workout to give it real value. The perfect workout should include some type of warmup. Depending on the amount of time, the warmup can consist of simply walking on a treadmill or cycling a bike or spending a few minutes on any piece of cardio equipment at the gym. Ideally, the warmup would also include some dynamic moves that focus on the parts of the body that are going to be exercised, like chopping moves or arm and leg swings.

Following an appropriat­e warmup, the next part of the workout should be to go through a strength training segment and then conclude with cardiovasc­ular exercise. Depending on the goals for the session (and the long-term training program), the percentage of each of these segments will vary. Upon completion of the cardio training, there would be a few minutes for a cool down and then general and specific stretching.

If it seems like the descriptio­n above is a little “ambitious,” that is because it is an outline of a “perfect” workout. The perfect workout would have a warmup, strength training, cardio, cool down and stretching. The thing is, however, that things are rarely ever perfect. Depending on the time available, health or injury status, goal deadlines and location, the perfect workout is often impossible.

My suggestion would be to use the “perfect” outline as a template and then try to get as close to it as possible, knowing you might not ever get there. For the most part, the most successful long-term exercisers think in these terms and “do the best they can in the situation that they are in.” The people who start and stop and struggle to get any traction typically think in terms of “perfection or nothing at all.”

Remember that imperfect action always beats perfect inaction.

 ?? DREAMSTIME ?? The perfect workout includes a warmup, strength training, cardio exercise, cool down and stretching, Ernie Schramayr writes.
DREAMSTIME The perfect workout includes a warmup, strength training, cardio exercise, cool down and stretching, Ernie Schramayr writes.
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