You’re working hard at dropping your body fat levels, but just how hard should you be working?
How much time in gym is enough?
You’re working hard at dropping your body fat levels, but just how hard should you be working? Moving on from machine to machine without a plan and a set and rep structure won’t get you to your goal faster. We know that 80% of your results will come from your nutrition, but you will still make great progress by spending the other 20% wisely in the gym.
Never do the same routine day after day.
Your body adapts very quickly, so it won’t benefit from the same exercises after a while. You need to keep your body continually guessing by changing your routine. You also need to occasionally “shock” your body by doing something unexpected. To improve any component of fitness it is also necessary to ‘overload’ or work harder than your body is used to working.
Overload is achieved in circuit training in a number of ways:
▪Reducing the time it takes to complete the circuit
▪Increasing the exercise resistance or the difficulty of the exercise
▪Increasing the amount of repetitions
▪Increasing the amount of circuits you perform
Varying the type of exercise you do also helps keep you interested and motivated.
Constantly doing the same exercise can often lead to a plateau in your results, so don’t be scared to try different forms of exercise.
When it comes to determining a healthy body fat percent, it is important to note the differences between men and women. A healthy body fat percentage for a woman is generally higher than men. The absolute perfect body fat percentage doesn’t exist either. Everyone is an individual and factors such as your age will also determine your ideal percentage. Some people might feel and perform better at a higher or lower body fat percentage than others of the same age and sex. That’s why suggested ranges and guidelines exist.
The ideal body fat ranges for the general female population are:
Ages up to 30: +/- 12% – 23%
Ages 30-50: +/-16% – 23%
Ages 50+: +/-16 – 25%
Athletes or very active people will generally have lower body fat percentages, depending on the sport they play and its physical requirements. Otherwise anywhere within this range is ideal. There are risks associated with falling significantly above or below the upper and lower limits of this range, as the body requires a certain amount of body fat to function normally and regulate your body temperature, store energy and cushion and insulate your organs. This is called essential fat. For women the average amount of essential fat is around 12% of bodyweight. Trying to achieve a body fat percentage that is too low may affect your essential fat stores which is not good for your overall health.
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.