1. Strength training should be tailored to your body type. We all have a body type due to heredity and lifestyle choices. A fitness assessment is important because a personal trainer identifies postural weaknesses and muscle imbalances. The fitness program is then tailored to fit your needs. Without this assessment, you are "shooting in the dark."
Achieving optimal muscular fitness requires flexibility, strength, endurance, power, and speed. These components should be included in an integrated training program.
Because of lifestyle habits, the dominant side of the body develops more than the non-dominant side. And, if certain patterns or muscular actions are performed repeatedly, muscles develop more in either the front of the body or the back of the body. As a result, some muscles become tight, lengthened or weak.
An integrated training program focuses on 3-dimensional muscular balance. This is done by training in all 3 planes of motion. This will help overall strength, burn more fat, prevent injuries and enhance everyday living.
Opposing muscle groups should be in balance. Focusing more on exercises like squats, deadlifts, rows, shoulder presses and bench presses will help you do this. Using more unilateral (one-leg, one-arm) exercises also improve muscular balance. Lunges, step ups and dumbbell exercises fit this category.
So, muscle-building is a never ending process. It is much more than haphazard weight training programs with no design. You need at least 3 weight training workouts per week, 20-50 minutes per session (depending on your training maturity and goals).
2. Your cardio exercise should aid in your fat loss and not waste away your precious muscle mass. Your cardio exercise should:
--Improve heart health
--Burn calories (during and after your workout)
--Spare muscle mass
Keep your cardio workouts at about 20 minutes. That's all it takes to help you reach your goals. And, it will keep you from the boredom and muscle-wasting that's built into long cardio sessions.
Intense interval cardio workouts will increase your body's growth hormone. Research has also proven that the benefits of anaerobic exercise (like sprint interval cardio) is superior to aerobic exercise for fitness and heart health.
3. Eat for fat loss. You must eat enough to build muscle and burn fat. A balanced diet which contains the macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats) is best. You should calculate your calorie needs for reaching your goals. Starvation diets will not work. Nutritious calories are critical to build muscle.
For instance, you should eat protein with every meal. Protein is critical for rebuilding muscle tissues after workouts. Protein also helps you control calorie intake because you stay fuller for longer.
It is also a good muscle building tactic to eat protein before and after strength workouts.Protein drinks (particularly whey) work well for this purpose.
Work hard to build the body you want and need!