In the Zone: The Perfect Workout Week

Last week, personal trainer and fitness expert Mohamed Elzomor talked about getting in the right mindset to begin a new exercise routine (after a summer of cold margaritas and pizza, we could all use a little help with that, am I right?). Today, he’s breaking down what an ideal week of working out should look like for those of us who are really looking to raise our game. —M.S.

A perfect week of working out really depends on what your goals are. If you’re looking to lose fat, build muscle, or work on your strength or endurance, they will all require different types of workouts at different intensities. Generally speaking, to see real results, you need to get moving five out of seven days a week. Here’s a look at the steps you can take to create a solid workout regimen: 

Step 1: Strength training 
The best full-body workout in the gym (or even at home) can be referred to as circuit training, which involves total body exercises: planks, jump squats, jumping jacks, burpees, back rows, mountain climbers, etc. By taking very few breaks in your workout, and moving from one exercise right into the next, you can keep your heart rate up, and in turn, burn more calories. Another benefit: Taking less breaks means you get way more done in a shorter amount of time. Frequency: 3x a week

Step 2: Weight training
Unlike circuit training where you barely take any breaks, weight training utilizes more breaks in between your exercises. That’s because here, you are focusing on using weights and challenging yourself by increasing the weight of each set. Your number of reps should range from 20 to 8, with a gradual decrease in reps in each set as you increase the weight. Frequency: 1x a week

Step 3: Slow Cardio
The elliptical machine, the stair climber, jumping rope, cycling, swimming. Doing this type of slow cardio will get our bodies to focus on only burning fat—and not any muscle, which is why it’s good to incorporate it into your routine. It’s also a great change of pace if you’re constantly doing HIIT training (high-intensity interval training). You’ll want to keep yourself at about 70% of your maximum heart rate for this workout. Another tip: Doing it fasted (i.e. on an empty stomach) makes it even more efficient. Frequency: 1x a week