What’s the best way to workout? All your questions, answered.

Hey everyone! I wrote this post as a response to one of your most-asked questions. I want to start this post by saying you can’t just do ONE thing and expect to see results. Your workout routine should have strength, mobility, and cardio components—all of which are included in the TL Method. - Tara

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You guys just love to ask loaded questions, don’t you?

Whenever you slide into my DMs, this is one of the first questions you ask me. And it’s a reasonable one—you want to make the most of your workouts, right? On any given day, I only have fifty minutes to an hour to workout, and it’s practically in my JOB description. Some of you reading this are PARENTS. I literally have no idea how you do it all.

So I get where you’re coming from, but I just can’t get past this question. And I want to explain why:

Asking me what’s the best workout? Is sorta like asking me, what’s the healthiest thing I can eat for dinner tonight?

In the end I’m like, “Why do you care!? It’s ONE MEAL.” Even if you prepare the healthiest recipe in the world (like, I dunno, my Buddha Bowl) it is ONE meal of one thousand you will eat this year. And just like eating a whole pizza ONE time will not break your diet, neither will one incredibly healthy meal make it.

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The same goes for workouts. Just as one, half-assed workout will not halt your gains, neither will one, dripping-sweat-omg-I-might-barf-right-on-this-mat sweat sesh suddenly land you on Strong magazine’s front cover.

A workout is just one piece to a larger program.

Programming—not just one, lone workout—is where your focus should lie. Crushing leg day is great, but the most efficient way to train is to follow leg day with an upper body workout, mobility work, and a total body workout in the upcoming days. Doing three leg days back-to-back-back, even if your number one goal is muscular legs, does more harm than good.

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That’s the marker of good programming. It takes an isolated workout and places it into a schedule, allowing you to hit all muscle groups (and all areas of training) in a way that’s most efficient for your body.

Am I getting ahead of myself? A workout program will help you reach your goals. It should give you the tools and resources you need to succeed in your fitness journey. While a single workout probably won’t make a dent in your physical or aesthetic goals, a quality program can make you stronger, prevent injury, increase mobility, and make you feel pretty damn proud of yourself.

The best fitness program don’t just focus on ONE thing—it encompasses all areas of training.

We all have our preferred ways to move. I love HIIT. Some of you LOVE running. Others are constantly DMing me telling me you just can’t get onboard with yoga.

I get it. But hear me out:

The reason it’s important to follow a well-rounded program is the same reason it’s important to fuel-up post workout: You can’t do ONE thing and expect to see results. You can’t just exercise and forget about nutrition. You can’t do the same workout repeatedly, ignoring the muscles it doesn’t hit.

Can you do it? Yes. You can eat a slice of pizza every time you hit the gym. You can run six miles every day for the rest of your life without ever stretching or weight training. But is it optimal? Far from it.

The best fitness programs have these 5 things

—In my humble opinion.

Now, some of you will read this and think, “I have to do ALL of that?!” Yes, you do. But I’m not asking you to spend an hour each day on every one of these components. You would literally never leave the gym!

For example, a given week might include 2 HIIT workouts, 2 strength workouts with mobility, 1 day of yoga, and 2 rest days. That kind of variety equals a well-balanced program.

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  1. Strength training to build muscle. Muscle burns more calories than fat at a sedentary state. Meaning, someone who has a higher percentage of muscle in their body will burn more calories sitting on their ass than someone with less muscle. And strength training doesn’t have to include weights! You guys know how much I love using bodyweight and resistance bands in my strength workouts.

  2. Cardio to cut fat. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t hate cardio. Cardio is what helps burn fat and keep you lean. What I dislike is how little creativity goes into many cardio workouts. Cardio is not limited to the treadmill, elliptical, or bike. Cardio can be star jumps, plyometrics, burpees, or box jumps.

    Pop quiz: What workouts combine strength AND cardio? HIIT training! Hence why I’m such a fan.

  3. Mobility to prevent injury. Here’s something you may not believe: Being in chronic pain is NOT part of working out. Many injuries (not all) can be tied back to limited mobility, which is your range of motion within a muscle. Mobility is what allows us to move freely and easily.

  4. Warm-up / cool down to get the most from your workout. If you’re like me, you love to go ham and lift heavy shit. Well guess what? The harder you go in a workout, the more you need to PREPARE YOUR BODY for that workout.

    Here’s the 3rd food analogy I will use in this post (and one I’ve used before): A workout with a warm-up or cool down is sorta like eating a burrito then running the fastest mile you can possibly run. You can’t can’t go from one extreme to the other.

  5. Someone to make sure you f*cking do it. Tell me I’m wrong. It doesn’t matter how scientifically perfect your workout program is, it doesn’t do you an ounce of good if you don’t do it. This is why I LOVE working out with a team. I have to have someone to hold me accountable.

“But what if I don’t have anyone to hold me accountable?” Glad you asked. If you really don’t have ANYONE to cheer you on (which I doubt—I’m sure you know someone who would love a workout buddy), tag me. Seriously. You have no idea how many of you having made me damn DAY by tagging me in your workouts. If no one else is signing up to be your cheerleader, I volunteer as tribute.

This week, get all the strength, cardio, mobility, and accountability you need—for free.

For this week only, I opened up my program—The TL Method—to everyone. As in you. As in, for free.

Why? Well, there’s a couple reasons. First, it’s September, and I feel like all of us can use a swift kick in the ass post-summer. Second, I want to open people’s minds to the idea that doing ONE thing won’t bring results. And I figured the best way to convince you was to simply let you try it.

I’m calling this week the TL At-Home Workout Challenge because every workout is one you can do in your living room. And yes, you’ll have an entire team of people cheering you on—just follow the #TLChallenge and #TLMethod to find other people doing the challenge.

You in? Join me here.

fitnessTara Laferrara