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The Secret To A Great Workout Is You

Creating the “right” exercise routine can be a daunting task, and keeping up with a regular workout schedule can be even more egregious on your mind than your body. Don’t let the unknown scare you from the gym, though. A little research and planning can help you achieve your best body goals in no time.

First, the key to any good regimen is to know your body. All people fit (roughly) into one of three body types: ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs. Ectomorphs tend to be long-limbed and thinly built with small joints and narrow hips. Endomorphs, in contrast, tend to be thicker, with short, stocky limbs, thick joints and wide hips. Mesomorphs are somewhere in the middle and touted as the “ideal shape,” having defined muscles, thinner joints and narrow waists.

Knowing which body type(s) you fit into will determine what kinds of workouts are best for your health. In general, ectomorphs and mesomorphs should engage in more weight training exercises than aerobic exercises, in order to gain and/or maintain muscle. Endomorphs should do aerobic exercises daily to cut excess fat, along with strength training to boost their metabolisms and turn fat into muscle. To find out which type you are, take this quiz.

Knowing which body type you are can help determine what kinds of exercises are best suited to get you tight and toned, but what of the time? Fitting in a workout amidst school, work and social obligations can be tough. That is why your choice of when to hit the gym is so important. Consistency is key. Some people are better suited for a morning workout, if they are naturally early risers, or if they know they will forgo a workout later in the day when their schedule gets hijacked by work/school. Others prefer to workout on their lunch breaks to give them an afternoon adrenaline boost. Self-proclaimed night owls might be inclined to exercise after work or school when their bodies are loose and limber.

Knowing your body’s circadian rhythm (how body functions like heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and hormone levels are affected by the Earth’s 24-hour rotation) will establish your preferred time of exertion. If you’re unsure of your body’s innate schedule, try exercising at different times of the day to see what works best. In general, early risers should set aside more time for stretching, as joints and muscles tend to be tight in the morning, after hours of sleep. Midday conditioning should be done before a big meal or at least 90 minutes after you eat lunch. Night owls shouldn’t workout too late, or sleep will suffer due to high heart rate and body temperature. Allowing your body time to wind down before bed is essential for a good night’s sleep.

When you look at and listen to the natural tendencies of your body, you can create a customized plan, unique to you. Know your strengths and weaknesses and your body will perform at its optimal level. With this knowledge at the helm, HC Iowa wishes you luck on your special journey to a healthier you!

I am in my senior year and last semester at the University of Iowa, majoring in journalism, minoring in English and pursuing a certificate in creative writing. My passions include writing (poetry, short fiction and anything my mind must expel onto the page), working out and spending time with my friends. I stand by the aphorism, "the pen is mightier than the sword" and hope to use my skills as a writer to positively impact as many people on this planet as I can.
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