How Much Exercise Do I Really Need?
My mission is to empower, educate and inspire you to build a fabulous body in the most cost-effective, timely and natural way possible.
Being in the fitness industry for more than a decade now and having run a health club since 2010, I can confidently say that more than 95% of gym members want to simply look good.
They don’t want an overly ripped physique of less than 10% body fat or even excessive bodybuilder muscles. At the same time, they want to feel good by staying optimally healthy.
Why Being Specific Helps You Save Time And Effort
Abraham Lincoln once said
If I want to cut a tree and have nine hours to do so, I will sharpen my axe for 6 hours and perform the work for 3 hours.
Sharpening your axe would mean educating yourself to become specific, in fact very specific, with your fitness goals (and life goals in general).
Robin Sharma states
Clarity precedes mastery.
This idea changed my life. Most of us are like a ship without a rudder. We aimlessly spend our lives without any specific targets. Specific goals make you passionate, and you start to look forward to your training sessions.
There is excitement in every rep, every set, in the discomfort you feel while doing heavy sets. Recall that feeling after a hard workout, amazing, isn’t it? If you eventually don’t have these feelings before, during and after your workouts, there is a high chance that you will give up on your fitness goals.
We all are busy fathers, mothers, and professionals, who have tons of responsibilities, and I applaud you that you are taking out time to educate yourself first instead of mindlessly following routines suggested by conventional wisdom.
Coming back to the main point of this article: How many hours, what type of exercise and what level of intensity should you work out for to build a fabulous body?
Let’s find out!
How Much Exercise Do You Need?
With the recent mega-success of paleo diets, which mimic the diets of ancient hunter-gatherers, research also suggests that a fitness routine similar to the activities our ancestors routinely performed is most effective. In general, hunter-gatherers were lean and probably almost never obese.
James H. O’ Keefe’s comprehensive research into the lifestyle of hunter-gatherers describes their lifestyle as follows. 1https://thepaleodiet.com/
-A large amount of light to moderate activity, such as walking. Most estimates indicate that hunter-gatherers covered an average daily distance in the range of 6-16 km (3.7-10 miles).
-Hard days, resulting in expenditures of at least 800-1200 kcal, were typically followed by easier days. Life in the wild often called for intermittent bursts of moderate to high-level intensity exercise (hunting and stalking animals, shelter construction, carrying 20-30 kg of meat back to camp, etc.) with intervening periods of rest and recovery.
-Their routines promoted aerobic endurance, flexibility, and strength, thereby providing them with multifaceted fitness. This varied pattern of movement would have also conferred resiliency and reduced the likelihood of injury, allowing them to hunt and forage without major interruptions.
-Virtually all of the exercises was done outdoors in the natural world. Outdoor activities help maintain ultraviolet-stimulated Vitamin D synthesis.
-Ample rest, relaxation, and sleep were generally available to ensure complete recovery after strenuous exertion.
In addition to these guidelines on hunter-gatherers, which give us a good idea of what kind of training protocol to follow, let’s look at what ACSM suggests for a healthy adult between 14 and 65 years of age.
The official ACSM guidelines for exercise are 30 minutes of low to moderate activity each day. However, many people have misconstrued these guidelines and count a ‘general stroll’ as a form of exercise.
ACSM Clears Up The Confusion With These Specific Guidelines
-Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
-Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days per week or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise three days per week.
-One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions of at least 10 minutes are both acceptable to accumulate the desired amount of daily exercise.
-Gradual progression of exercise time, frequency, and intensity are recommended for best adherence and the least risk of injury.
-People unable to meet these minimums can still benefit from some activity.
-Adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.
-Very light or light intensity is best for older persons or previously sedentary adults starting exercise.
-Two to four sets of each exercise will help adults improve strength and power.
-For each exercise, 8-12 repetitions improve strength and power, 10-15 repetitions improve strength in middle age and older persons starting exercise, and 15-20 repetitions improve muscular endurance.
-Adults should wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions.
-Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve their range of motion.
-Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort.
-Repeat each stretch 2-4 times for a total of 60 seconds per stretch.
-Static, dynamic, ballistic, and PNF stretches are all effective.
-Flexibility exercise is most effective when the muscle is warm. Try a light aerobic activity or a hot bath to warm the muscles before stretching.
-Neuromotor exercise (sometimes called ‘functional fitness training’) is recommended for two or three days per week.
-Exercises should involve motor skills (balance, agility, coordination, and gait), proprioceptive exercise training, and multifaceted activities, such as Taichi and yoga, to improve physical function and prevent falls in older adults.
-20-30 minutes per day is appropriate for neuromotor exercise.
The FBX Training System
Recall Fabulous Body Law #9- Include Variety.
Variety is the spice of life, and that includes your workout. You need cardio fitness, strength, flexibility, balance, and agility.
All in all, you need a multifaceted fitness system that not only makes you look good but also is functional and optimally healthy. The whole idea here is to optimize your gene expression, and you don’t need more than three to six hours of exercise per week to do this.
After analyzing the above data (lifestyle of hunter-gatherers and ACSM guidelines) and combining it with principles and wisdom from the ‘Golden Age of Bodybuilding,’ I have created a system that will give you fabulous results in minimal time.
FBX workout routines are a hybrid between full-body and conventional split routines. You only need to work out three times a week (sometimes even two times will be enough) using mainly compound exercises with minimal use of isolated exercises.
There Are 4 Components To The FBX Training System
Weight Training (2-3 Times A Week)
Weight training is the bedrock of FBX, and it’s for a good reason. There are many benefits that accrue when you start lifting weights with the right mindset and principles.
Related Article: 14 Awesome Benefits Of Weight Training
HIIT (2-4 Sessions, 20 Min Each)
High-intensity interval training can be performed on any cardio machine by going for a swim or performing calisthenics. It helps you save time and optimize your hormonal profile.
Related Article: HIIT Or Steady State Cardio?
10,000 Steps (Inculcating More Walking And Standing In Your Daily Lifestyle)
Being active and walking more has many benefits and in my opinion few hours of high-intensity training is not enough to keep you optimally healthy.
I feel the concept of 10,000 steps is amazing, and one should make changes in their lifestyle to reach as close to this figure as possible.
Neuromotor Activity (Like Yoga/Tai-chi)
We need in total 1-1.5 hours per week, 2-3 times to perform flexibility regime and neuromotor exercises like Yoga, Taichi or even stabilization exercises that shall build a body that is not only strong, good looking but also ‘functional.’
What do I mean by ‘functional’? Functional fitness, in practical terms, means that you are free of any pains or aches. You can easily perform movements like tying your shoelaces, getting out of a car, performing a squat and overall, staying injury free.
In my book ‘The Fabulous Body,‘ I have managed to create 16 FBX workouts depending upon your training levels. Workout routines are divided as per the training experience of the person- beginner ( 0-6 months ), intermediate ( 6 months-2 years ), and advanced (2 years+).
I have further subdivided the workouts for each level into muscle gain and fat loss phases, which are termed FBX Gain, and FBX Cut, respectively.
Related: The Fabulous Body Book
In addition, for those who prefer to watch and learn, I have created my free course, The FBX Training. Make sure to check it out!
What do you think about the FBX training system? Have anything you like to add? Let me know in the comments below!
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About Akash Sehrawat
Akash is a creator of 25+ programs and certificate courses in which more than 200,000 students have enrolled both on Udemy and Fabulous Body's native platform. Akash is also an author of three books that can be found on Amazon. His answers on Quora have gathered more than 12 million views in less than a year.