A six-day workout routine can provide substantial results if you customize it to your goals. Analyze what is most important to you -- substantial weight loss exclusively, gaining stamina, having peace of mind or building toned muscle. Developing a lasting routine that you enjoy is key to keeping up a six-day-a-week workout schedule.
Balancing Cardio and Strength Training
A balanced workout routine will include both heart-pumping cardiovascular exercise and muscling-toning strength training. If your goals are primarily to lose weight and bring in toned muscle later, then focus your time on cardio to lose inches and gain stamina. For a well-rounded workout with variety, then consider strength training sooner and keep in mind that it has the benefit of promoting weight loss. According to the Mayo Clinic, muscle burns more calories than fat even when at rest, so the burn from your workout will last longer if you have toned muscle.
Cardio Routine Options
Engage in 45 minutes to one hour of cardio exercise for each of the six days. There are a variety of options to choose from depending on whether you like regularity or want to avoid boredom. At the gym consider the treadmill, the elliptical or stationary bike; each of these machines works out multiple muscle groups of the legs and the elliptical adds in an upper-body workout with swinging handbars. If you have joint concerns, then avoid the treadmill, as it is higher impact than the others. If you have substantial weight to lose or are new to exercise, then the stationary bike has the added benefit of not having to bear your own body weight, meaning you may have better stamina during your routine. Another option if you're short on time is to consider 30 minutes of swimming laps, as it is a full-body workout that gets your heart pumping quickly.
Add in strength training on three or four days of your new routine. At the gym create a routine that covers the main muscle groups including the arms, back and shoulders, abdominals, glutes and legs. A sample workout with common weight machines could include the leg press, leg curl, leg extension, abtractor and abductor, back extension, weighted crunch machine and biceps curl. Do two sets of 12 repetitions at a challenging weight.
Safety and Tips
As with any new exercise regimen, you should listen to your body's natural signals of stress. If you're new to exercise, then start slowly and work your way up as you gain stamina. Choose a weight on the machines by starting low and edging upward until the last rep of your set is challenging but doable; you will be surprised by how quickly your strength will increase with a regular workout. If you have joint or other health concerns or substantial weight to lose, then discuss your new workout routine with your doctor before beginning.
Grace Bordelon is a public relations professional, teacher and writer. She owns her own boutique public relations firm that specializes in the advertising, gaming and software industries. She also teaches at a major design school for fine artists, commercial artists and graphic designers. Bordelon holds a B.A. in international economics and an M.A. in English from Bard College.