Workout Wednesday: The Basics of a workout

Welcome to our very first Workout Wednesday here at The Rihel Life. Once a week I want to share with you new exercises, fitness routines/crazes, or tips.

Today I want to go basic. I want to break down the 3 types of a workout and the 3 components of a workout. And I’ve made some simple diagrams to break it down for you.

3 Types of Exercise

3 Types of Exercise

There are 3 basic types of exercise; strength, cardio, and flexibility.

Of those types, you should be doing some form of cardio 3-4 days a week, strength training 2-3 days a week, and working on your flexibility daily. You’ll see this has you working out 5-6 days each week, which is ideal. Your body was made to move and especially if you are working to lose weight or tone up, 2 or 3 days a week really isn’t going to cut it. You should be moving your body daily, pushing your limits 5-6 days a week, and doing recovery movement (more on that in a sec) 1-2 days each and every week.

Cardio exercise is anything that gets your heart pumping; running, swimming, biking, zumba, etc. Cardio is what is going to torch calories.

Strength is any sort of exercise that has you utilizing specific muscles; weight lifting, body weight exercises, certain types of yoga or pilates. Building muscle is what will give you definition and keep your metabolism running high. Muscle burns more calories than fat. If you build muscle your body will burn more calories.

Flexibility training is any sort of movement that lengthens your muscles. Yoga is THE BEST flexibility training that you can do. I’m sure you’ll come to hear me say this a lot, but everyone should be doing yoga. It’s the body moving at it’s best. Gaining flexibility prevents injuries and overuse of muscles. But it can not be gained through just a 1 hour session once a week. Flexibility must be gained through continued practice… and that means daily. I’m not saying you need to spend 2 hours each day doing yoga, but you should spend at least 10-15 minutes stretching your body daily. This is the only way to really see marked improvement in your flexibility and it will help you in your other active endeavors. A supple body responds better to stress and fatigue. You will perform better if you spend time working on lengthening your muscles. My favorite time to get this done is right before bed to relax, but anytime will work. šŸ™‚

Personally, I like to mix my cardio and strength by doing high intensity circuit/interval training. This means I hop from one exercise to the next, keeping my heart rate up and keeping my body guessing. This gives me the strength training I need while working my body aerobically (cardio).

An ideal week for me currently has 3-4 days of HIIT (high intensity interval training), 1-2 days of running, and 1 day with a long session of yoga.

It’s always important to give your body a day of rest and recovery, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you just sit around all day. Doing that will only tighten your sore muscles and leave you more uncomfortable at your next workout. My two favorite ways to recover are to take my dog for a nice long walk or do some easy yoga. The goal is to get your blood moving and to loosen your muscles. There are many other great ways to help your muscles recover along with some easy movement but that will have to wait for another post. šŸ™‚


Now that you know the types of exercise to perform, it’s important to know the 3 components that each and every workout should have.

3 components of a workout

3 components of a workout

Every workout should have a warmup and cooldown. A warmup should be used to “warm up” your muscles. Never ever ever stretch for a warmup. It is way too easy to over stretch or tear a cold muscle. The warmup you do will depend on what type of exercise you will be doing. If you are going for a run, walk for the first 5-10 minutes. If you are doing work with weights, do some easy body weight exercises (squats, arm circles, etc). Basically do a lesser version of whatever you will be doing; you want to stair step the intensity. A warmup should take up about 15% of your exercise time, or a good rule of thumb is to spend roughly 10-15 minutes warming up before working out.

For a cooldown, do a few easy movements (like the warmup) to bring down your heart rate, then stretch. This is the perfect time to stretch while your body is warm. This is also the best time to add in your flexibility training. A good cooldown should be roughly 10% of your workout time, or generally 5-10 minutes. Add another 5-10 minutes of stretching to that and you’ll be preventing any future injury and pain.


See! Not so bad. šŸ™‚


Questions? Comments? What’s your favorite type of workout? Favorite way to warmup or cooldown?


Love and Joy,




3 Comments on “Workout Wednesday: The Basics of a workout

  1. Pingback: Workout Wednesday: Fartlek/Cardio HIIT | The Rihel Life

  2. Pingback: Workout Wednesday: 4×10 AMRAP | The Rihel Life

  3. Pingback: Give Me Ten | The Rihel Life

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