[GUIDE] PART 1: Getting to Know the Different Styles of Workouts

by | Nov 7, 2019 | Training

The fitness industry is BOOMING.

Gyms, training facilities, or fitness programs are popping up left and right (Myself


I was talking with a family friend a few weeks ago who said he felt there are now TOO

MANY gyms out there. He said there everywhere he looks!

He’s not wrong.

But then he said he didn’t like it. He said our society doesn’t need that.

I told him that’s exactly what I think we need.

I think the growth of the fitness industry is a direct reflection of our growth and knowledge of how to get fit and live a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s reflect a little bit, the fitness industry was all about the big box gyms and personal training.

Run on the treadmill. Lift weights for a little bit, and then get back to the cardio.

It was the “secret” to weight loss.

But people hated it!

So many people hated it that they started to try new workout routines, and to their surprise they found ways to work out that they ENJOYED.

People found ways to work out that WORKED and motivated them to GO BACK.

That’s why the fitness industry is booming.

We’re at a point in society where we NEED to make a change in our activity and lifestyle habits.

But we’re also at a point where we promote individuality and finding your passion.

My entire philosophy is built around wanting to help others.

I want to help you find strategies to make a healthy lifestyle stick. Strategies that you enjoy.

If it’s not me, it’s not me. It’s more important to me that you find what you love.

There are enough people in this world in need of coaching where each unique gym,

training center, or fitness program can stand on its own (Yes, that does only count if it is a well-run business).

So yes, there are gyms and new training styles all over the place, but it’s because someone has found his or her passion for living a healthy lifestyle and is ready to share it with the world.

Maybe you’re hating your workout routine right now, and this intro has you desperate for a solution.

I really do want to help.

Let’s start by breaking up different styles of workouts to see if we can find what works best for you.

There are two broad types of physical activity that serve as umbrella terms for all other styles of training.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic means “with oxygen.”

This means that during cardiovascular exercise, the body is readily able to take in oxygen, process it, and utilize it to restore energy supplies to continuously fuel the body.

Aerobic exercise has a lower level of intensity and can be performed for longer periods of time.

Some of the benefits of aerobic exercise are:

  • Improve cardiovascular health
  • Reduce risk of heart disease
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol
  • Improves lung function
  • Decreases resting heart rate

Anaerobic Exercise

Anaerobic on the other hand, means “without oxygen.”

However, this does not necessarily mean oxygen is not taken in, but simply that the intensity is too great to process and repurpose the exercise for fuel.

Anaerobic exercise can be performed at a moderate to high level of intensity but is kept to shorter durations or alternating between higher and lower bouts of intensity.

There are many benefits of anaerobic exercise include:

  • Improves muscular and cardiovascular power
  • Improves bone strength and density
  • Promotes weight maintenance and potentially, loss
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Improves energy
  • Strengthens and protects joints

Now, you might be thinking that since your workout is aerobic and you hate it that it means you need to switch over to anaerobic.

Not true.

Let’s break down the different intensity levels to see if we can better understand your workout preferences.

Low-Intensity Steady State

Low intensity exercise is any repetitive form of exercise performed at 50 to 60 percent of one’s maximum heart rate. This repetitive motion or exercise is performed continuously for 30 to 45 minutes.

Now, you may not have the slightest cue what your maximum heart rate is, let alone 50 to 60 percent of that; therefore, I like to describe this as the “walk and talk” form of exercise. This means that this exercise is performed a low enough intensity that you are able to talk and hold a conversation with little to no labored breathing.

Despite recent times labeling high-intensity exercise as “The Thing” for weight loss, low-intensity exercise still burns calories and fats. It also does a great job of improving cardiovascular functioning, circulation, mood, and muscular endurance.

The most well-known form of low-intensity exercise is walking, but additional forms include light swimming, biking, elliptical, rowing, stretching, or yoga.

Notice these forms are exercise are fairly gentle and easy on the body, but that doesn’t mean the elderly, weak, or injured are the only ones who can benefit from low-intensity exercise. In fact, with the fast-paced lifestyle so many of us live, low-intensity exercise is a great counter to the hurried pace of everyday life.


As you can imagine, moderate-intensity exercise is of greater intensity than low-intensity exercise. This may or may not be a repetitive form of exercise but is performed at approximately 65 to 80 percent of a person’s maximum heart rate.

In relation to the talk test, moderate-intensity exercise would still allow for someone to talk during, but breathing is more labored, and conversation is more of a challenge.

Moderate-intensity brings about the same benefits of low-intensity exercise; however, it has shown to improve weight loss and management due to the greater caloric burn during and shortly after.

Examples of moderate-intensity exercise include speed walking, light jogging, water aerobics, biking at a speed of 7 to 10 miles per hour, or dancing.

These forms of exercise do contribute to the wear and tear on the body but are still manageable and able to reduce pain or risk of injury.


It’s all the rage these days.

High-intensity exercise is a form of exercise performed at a high level of intensity (80 to 100%) for short bouts of time.

During high-intensity work, you are unable to hold a conversation and breathing is labored.

However, high-intensity exercise does offer a number of benefits – high calorie burn in a short period of time, improve oxygen consumption, reduce heart rate and blood pressure, and raise the metabolism.

Examples of high-intensity exercise include running, sprinting, bike sprints, speed or high-intensity swimming, or boxing.

Now, this form of exercise is more intense and does elevate the risk for pain and injury, but it does allow for a significant calorie burn in a short period of time. There is also a great deal of variety that can be involved during high-intensity exercise to give ample variation in your training program.

Take note as you move through your workouts this next week.

See if you are able to identify whether or not your training is aerobic or anaerobic.

Label the intensity level.

This is just the beginning to identifying the BEST style of training for you. Next week we’ll dive in to Part 2, where we’re going to break down the basic types of cardiovascular training and being to pinpoint the best form for you and your goals!

About The Author

Jordan Davies is the Co-Owner of Complete Performance. Jordan has her B.S. in Exercise Science and Psychology, and her M.A. in Holistic Health Studies. She is a CSCS certified strength and conditioning coach, and a PN-1 and NCI-1 certified nutrition coach. She loves to study how the human body needs to be moved and nourished and making that fit to your unique lifestyle. Click Here Now to Apply for Coaching with Jordan.

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