The Three Key Elements of Becoming Physically Fit

by Kiki Michelle

Becoming physically fit is a not only a matter of improving your appearance, but also your overall health and longevity. People with a significant amount of excess body fat are at increased risk of developing potentially serious health conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain forms of cancer. Cardio exercise, weight training and a healthy, well-balanced diet are essential components to any health and fitness regimen.

Cardio Exercise

Cardio exercise activates major muscle groups and elevates your heart rate to a level that supports maximum calorie and fat burning. Health and fitness professionals recommend at least 30 minutes of sustained cardio exercise every day to promote fat burning and help keep fat off. Cardio exercises like running, jump roping, kickboxing, swimming and cycling not only activate major muscles throughout your body, but also can help you burn several hundred calories in an hour.

Weight Training

Weight training helps promote lean muscle mass, which allows you to burn calories more efficiently. Weight-resistance exercises also help you manage your weight, maintain joint flexibility and improve bone density. The American Council on Exercise recommends that you do single sets of 8 to 12 repetitions using a weight that, at the end of the set, leaves the target muscle feeling fatigued. Aim to each major muscle group at least twice a week.

A Healthy Diet

Your diet plays a monumental role in your ability to burn fat and increase your muscle mass. You must burn 3,500 more calories than you consume to lose 1 lb. of fat, therefore it is essential that you monitor your caloric intake to ensure you maintain a nutritional deficit. Your diet should be rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, seeds and nuts. Limit your intake of beverages high in sugar and caffeine and make water your drink of choice throughout the day to stay adequately hydrated and further promote fat loss.

Tips and Considerations

Medical professionals recommend that you aim to lose no more than 1 to 2 lbs. per week, as rapid weight loss often leads to adverse health effects and equally rapid weight gain. Always warm up with a brisk walk before exercising and stretch for at least five to 10 minutes after your workout to reduce the risk of potential injury. Learn proper weight-training techniques by working out with a professional to prevent injury and get the most out of your workout.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.