Your body is like the sponge after a workout. You have drained it of all the
fuel, vitamins and minerals and you have to feed it what you want it to be!!
With that said, I have come up with 4 fundamental rules that I educate my clients about. Wherever they may go in their travels, whatever gym across this great country or around the world, if you follow these rules, you will succeed. These great big gyms have SO many pieces of equipment that are really unnecessary. It reminds me of men telling their old high school football stories. Too much information considering the audience (the older we get, the better we were too!). This is why I spend so much time on education as I do the actual workout programming and how these rules were born.
RULE #1: Always do cardio AFTER resistance training. You should warm-up for 5-10 minutes at a moderate pace. Get the body warm and the heart rate up a bit but this is not your cardio session, then you are ready to begin your lifting routine. *Remember: Cardio burns calories at the time, resistance training boosts metabolism.
RULE #2: You must, you must, you must lift weights or at least your body weight. You are more likely to be sore after resistance training than after a walk. When you are sore, your body is burning calories at a higher rate because it is trying to repair what's broken. What does this mean? It means that while you're at work or sitting on the couch, your burning more calories being sore vs. if you were not. Some folks and programs out there are calling this the "Afterburn" effect. Over a longer period of time, cumulatively, you are burning more calories than just walking alone.
RULE #3: Always eat a quality carb and protein source before and after a workout. With no fuel (carbs) in the body before a workout, the energy your body will use is the very same item you are working so hard to build: MUSCLE. Put fuel in the tank so the vehicle can run efficiently. Think about washing your car and that process when planning your post-workout meal. You have a pail full of water and suds and you dip the sponge into the mixture and then begin to wash your vehicle. Eventually, the water and suds run out so you must take the sponge back to the bucket and submerse it. What happens to the sponge... It SOOOAKS the water and suds up again. Your body is like the sponge after a workout. You have drained it of all the fuel, vitamins and minerals and you have feed it what you want it to soak up!!
RULE #4: When doing cardio, be educated and know what your MHR (max. heart rate) and what your THR (target heart rate) are. There are 3 energy systems the body utilizes and the system that burns the most fat lies in the middle. What does that mean? That means you must work to get your heart rate up and then have "rest" period to allow the heart rate to come down. I say "rest", however, it is not rest but the intensity is less. Your will alternate from 60-120 seconds of "work" to get the heart rate elevated into your range, followed by 120-200 seconds of "rest". Not sure what your MHR and THR will be, check out my blog under the "Burn Fat" category.
Follow these rules and you will maximize your time in the gym.