The one fatal fitness mistake I see often with people returning from an exercise layoff is that they tend to have the Ill do cardio for a few weeks and lose weight before I train with weights mentality.
Myth: Cardio burns fat, fitness training adds bulk
Truth: Muscle is where fat is burned, train it to adapt to stress and grow, you will lose more fat than you ever will doing cardio alone. Cardio is simply a supplement to your fat burning efforts. And 99% of ALL people get it wrong.
Many people think that they can burn fat by doing cardio alone, its simply not the case not if you want to look good when its all said and done.
Cardio (the slow steady type youre familiar with) has barely any true fat loss enhancement effects. It can increase your metabolism in small increments, but nothing compared to training to increase or maintain muscle size.
Its certainly understandable if you want to begin with cardio for the first few days to ease back into exercising, but if you MUST do cardio first to get into the habit, keep it no longer than 3 days before you begin a weight training routine.
Any longer and you risk sacrificing muscle tissue and literally sabotaging your fat loss efforts.
The best way to get back into training after a long lay off is to perform 2-3 full body weight training sessions per week, and keep them light to moderate in intensity. Once youve gotten through the first 4-6 workouts, you can begin strategically increasing the intensity to ramp your metabolism and burn more fat 24 hours a day.
Heres a sample full body routine to get you started:
A1. Shoulder Press
A2. Bent Row
A3. Dumbbell Swing
A4. Barbell Curl
A5. Jump Rope (30 seconds)
* Perform 8 reps of each exercise (A1-A5) moving from exercise to exercise without rest until #4 is complete. This is 1 round. Rest 90 Seconds and repeat for a total of 3-6 Rounds.
B2. Hammer Curl to Press
B3. Stiff Leg Deadlift
B4. Overhead Tricep Extension
B5. Step Ups
B6. Plank (30 Seconds)
* Perform 8 reps of each exercise (B1-B6) moving from exercise to exercise without rest until #4 is complete. This is 1 round. Rest 90 Seconds and repeat for a total of 3-6 Rounds.
What about abs training you say? You can read about ab workout exercises here:
What about cardio? Heres the deal with a program like this, you dont even need it! If your nutrition choices are good, then cardio at this point can be counter productive. But if you MUST do cardio Opt for Interval training 2-3 times per week Either immediately after your weight training session, or at a different time of the day.