I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard friends complain about not getting the results they want, despite how much energy they’re putting into their workout. People who want bigger muscles go to the gym every day but aren’t getting stronger. People who want better endurance when they lift aren’t getting it. The most common reason for this is that people aren’t balancing their workouts.
A good workout should contain aerobic exercise, which ignites your cardiovascular system and helps with weight loss/maintenance; resistance exercise, to tone muscles and build endurance; and flexibility, to enhance your range of motion and promote joint mobility. Your workout each day doesn’t have to always include all 3, but it should be evenly spread throughout your week.
Start your workout with dynamic stretches, like lunge rotations or leg swings. Check my post on dynamic stretching for more ideas!
Try to incorporate 30-45 minutes of aerobic exercise on 4-5 days per week. This can be things like running, jumping rope, biking, ice skating, etc. You want to push yourself hard enough that you’re slightly breathless, but not so hard that you can’t keep up a conversation. One day off should be saved for recovery.
Shoot for resistance training 2-3 days per week, with one day of rest between each. Include exercises for all your major muscle groups: arms, legs, calves, glutes, back, chest, core. Use a combination of weight training (e.g., bench press) and bodyweight exercise (e.g., pushups). Hint: martial arts is GREAT for bodyweight exercises!
End your workout with static stretches that you hold for 15 to 30 seconds each.
Understanding what each component of your workout is accomplishing will help you align your goals with your results.