Workout Makeover: Define Your Goals

We asked our experts to weigh in on one of our reader's workouts. Here's what they had to say.

Workout Makeover: Define Your Goals

"I'm a 44-year-old grandmother. I'm 5'5" and wight about 150 pounds. I work out three days a week, focusing on the upper body. My goal is to lose weight and sculpt muscle all over." - Maria V., Stockton, CA

Congrats on being such an active grandmother! You're working out often enough to meet your weight loss and muscle development goals but need to focus on the quality of your training and nutrition. For workouts, try to include compound (multijoint) exercises for upper and lower body, done at high enough intensity that you feel fully fatigued by the end of each set. Progression is critical: Every four weeks, increase the weight while hitting the rep counts outlined here. To help keep you diet on track, use a food log. I would also recommend emphasizing valuable macronutrient responsible for supporting tissue repair and muscle growth and retention. Add in a whey protein post-workout shake, like Optimum Nutrition Standard 100% Whey, which has 24 grams of protein in every serving and is low in fat and carbs. - Evan Shy, Owner of Shytown Fitness, Chicago.

Workout Lingo

Periodization: Just as a business needs a plan to map its growth, your body needs a fitness plan. That's where periodization comes in. A long-term, cyclical trainnig strategy meant to maximize gains, prevent injury, and avoid plateaus by varying time, volume, and intensity, periodization can help those just starting out to safely progress and allow avid exercisers to see continued improvements. Most periodization plans cycle between a build phase of mostly higher-intensity workouts and a taper phase and recovery period. Before you being, take a moment to defind your goals, whether it's prepping for a competition, training for a race, or reducing body fat and adding muscle. Then think about your time frame -- how long do you have to reach your primary goal? Finally, write down the increase in weights or reps, cardio or HIIT sessions, etc. Use a notebook or an online program to stay organized. - Gino Caccavale

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