The Collins English Dictionary states, “A perfect storm  is an unusual combination of events or things that produce an unusually bad or powerful result.”  The key word in this definition is “powerful”. The “perfect storm” of fitness is the combination of these three things:  nutrition, cardiovascular exercise, and strength training.  Any one of these three things can improve your fitness life; but when you apply all three, a particularly POWERFUL result happens – a “Perfect Storm of Fitness”. 

Nutrition is 75% of the equation of a healthy lifestyle. This fact means that you can do all the cardiovascular and strength training you want and still override the benefits of these trainings with bad nutrition!  Our body is an amazing machine, and it requires carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to operate at its maximum capacity.  There is a myriad of opinions about the “best diet,” and  I have found in my career that eating three small nutritional meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and having two to three small nutritional snacks per day provides the body the best use of the food you eat.  Please speak with your doctor or someone knowledgeable about nutrition to determine what’s best for you.  

Cardiovascular training is moving your body through various aerobic exercises such as walking, running, swimming, biking, and much more. Cardiovascular training raises your heart rate, burns calories, pumps blood to the muscles, and lubricants to the joints.  The American Heart Association suggests these minimum requirements: 150 minutes per week (five days x :30 of moderate aerobic activity) or 75 minutes per week (three days x :25 of vigorous aerobic activity). 

Strength training is using various resistance tools to increase muscle mass, such as bands, free weights, machines, cables, or your own body weight.  This is most often the part of the “perfect storm” that people neglect in their fitness life. Women may be afraid of bulking up, or “seasoned souls” don’t think they need to build muscle.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Strength training is critically important for our body’s physical health.  Our muscles are what hold up our skeletal structure which provides a variety of benefits.  Our bodies are made up of fat, protein, and water.  Muscle (protein) doesn’t weigh more than fat; it takes up less room which gives the illusion that a person is smaller. So, the number on the scale is not the end all of the matter.  What that weight is made up of is what matters. 

Two facts to consider are that a pound of muscle burns 50 more calories per day than fat and it raises your metabolism, and the caloric burn from a strength training session can continue for 15 to 17 hours after your strength training workout ends!   The American Heart Association suggests a minimum of 45 minutes per day two days per week of moderate to high-intensity muscle training.   

Now that you’ve been educated, you have been given the POWER to Make Your Move into the Perfect Storm of Fitness.  Don’t wait, get started today!

Toni Ziegler is a Cooper Institute Certified Personal Trainer.  

She trains at Cross Gates Family Fitness, 1311 Gause Boulevard in Slidell, LA 70458 

She is the founder of Your Temple Fitness.  Feel free to email her at: toniall4him@yahoo.com