Common Question: Should I Do Cardio First Or Weight Training?

It all depends on your goals. In a nutshell: If the primary goal is to increase aerobic endurance or lose weight, then you should perform cardiovascular exercise first. If the primary goal is to increase muscular strength, then you should perform strength training first.

Factual Info –

By now you know if you want to build a lean, fit body, you can’t stick to the treadmill or elliptical alone. It takes some heavy lifting to get that strong and chiseled physique. In fact, even if you want to be a better runner, you still need to incorporate strength training into your routine. But when you’re strapped for time, and need to squeeze cardio and weights into a single sweat session, which should you tackle first? Strength training, according to the research and fitness pros. Here’s why.

Why Weights Shouldn’t Wait

In one study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers pinned three workout tactics against each other: Strength training alone, running then strength, and cycling followed by strength. They found that exercisers did fewer weight lifting reps if they had just ran or cycled. Yet, doing strength training with no cardio beforehand resulted in more reps.

Another recent study found similar results. After research subjects performed different bouts of treadmill running, the number of reps they performed during resistance training decreased, as did muscle power. Their heart rate and rate of perceived exertion also increased during the strength training sessions that followed aerobic exercise, especially after a HIIT running workout.

“In my experience, I’ve found that most exercisers feel ‘stronger’ when they engage in resistance training first,” says Robert Confessore, PhD, clinical exercise physiologist at Summit Medical Fitness Center in Kalispell, MT. Many scientific studies also demonstrate that aerobic training can negatively affect strength development when performed prior to lifting (whereas research is lacking on the reverse effect), he says. This is due to physiological changes in the muscles that help you move. When you use those fibers to fatigue before you do resistance exercises, your form and drive will likely suffer.

And that can have a noticeable impact. According to Lacey Stone, an LA-based celebrity trainer, if you want the muscle-building benefits of strength training, it’s best to start with those exercises. “It’s vital that you lift before your cardio workouts, because you will have the most power and the most strength to lift heavier loads, which in turn will make you stronger,” she says.

When Cardio Matters Most

In terms of fighting off fat, both resistance exercises and anaerobic workouts are crucial. “When you gain muscle, it raises your metabolic rate, which helps you burn fat faster,” Stone explains. And according to research, doing both strength and cardio decreases body fatsignificantly more than each method alone. So you can probably stick to the same formula mentioned above, but keep in mind this caveat: That same study showed that while fat mass and waist circumference decrease when you do a combo of the two techniques or just aerobic activity. In other words, lifting alone didn’t lead to weight loss.

So if you want to slim down, you need to kick up your cardio — even if that means skipping some weights when you’re short on time. “Remember: Strength training changes your shape and cardio changes your size,” says Stone.

If it’s better cardio capacity you’re after, Stone says there are mixed reviews on what to tackle first. It’s still smart to strength train even if you want to be a better runner or biker. In fact, one study found that resistance exercises improved endurance athletes’ performance, muscle power and economy. You may just need longer and more frequent cardio moves (some of those being stand-alone aerobic sessions), with cross-training days sprinkled throughout your weekly schedule.

Research suggests taking ample recovery time between strength sessions, too, so you don’t mess with your endurance benefits. As shown in the study, the physiological stress from resistance training can fatigue muscles and potentially slow down the benefits of running or cycling sessions. Similarly, ACE-sponsored research shows that strength training before cardio increased heart rate by 12 beats per minute, which can increase your rate of perceived exertion. This makes your workout feel more vigorous and causes you to feel tired, faster. An important note to keep in mind if you’re aiming to go for a longer run or ride.

Finding Your Formula for Success

Of course every individual has different ideas for what they want to get out of their gym time. So tailor yours to your goals. “To the recreational exerciser, I recommend experimenting with the order of the two types of training within the same workout. Then gauge which works best for you,” says Confessore. If you’re still unsure of what to do, Confessore suggests scheduling these two types of workouts on different days. That way, you don’t have to worry about one affecting the other.

The bottom line… Do what works for your body, but if you need a place to start: Tackle strength, then cardio.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

8 Bad Habits That Kill Your Metabolism By: KEVIN GRAY

You may already suspect your metabolism slows as you age. According to research published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, you’re right. In a review of data on energy expenditure, researchers found simply getting older is associated with progressive declines in basal metabolic rate. On top of that, there are many daily habits that can drain your metabolism even further.

But you don’t have to go down without a fight. Cut out the below habits and watch your metabolism and energy levels improve.

Eating a nutritious breakfast is always a good way to start your morning. Because your metabolism slows down during sleep, eating can fire it up and help you burn more calories throughout the day. According to Rush University Medical Center, “When you eat breakfast, you’re telling your body that there are plenty of calories to be had for the day. When you skip breakfast, the message your body gets is that it needs to conserve rather than burn any incoming calories.”

OK, so it’s about more than just eating something in the morning. If you grab a sugary donut or eat a muffin in the car, you’re setting yourself up to crash later. Instead, choose something with filling protein and fiber like eggs, yogurt and berries or whole-wheat toast topped with peanut butter.

Going from your office chair to your car to your couch can lead to a very sedentary routine. And sitting for extended periods puts your body into energy-conservation mode, which means your metabolism can suffer. According to the UK’s National Health Service, “Sitting for long periods is thought to slow metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat.”

Cardio is great, and it can quickly burn calories, but once you’re done running or cycling, your calorie burn quickly returns to normal. When you do HIIT and resistance-based workouts, however, your calorie burn stays elevated for longer as your muscles repair themselves. Per the American Council on Exercise (ACE): “Strength training is a key component of metabolism because it is directly linked to muscle mass. The more active muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolic rate.” And, according to ACE, a pound of muscle burns an additional 4–6 calories each day compared to a pound of fat.

Protein feeds your muscles, promotes satiety and is an important component to sustaining a healthy weight. Eat too little, and you may have trouble building or maintaining muscle mass — and per the above, we know muscle’s importance to metabolism. Also, protein requires more energy to break down than carbs or fat, so you’ll actually burn more calories during digestion.

One bad night’s sleep is enough to leave you feeling sluggish and impair your cognitive processing. String together several nights in a row — or a lifetime of inadequate sleep — and science shows decreased metabolism and hormonal imbalances may follow.

In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers found drinking 500 milliliters of water (about 2 cups) increases metabolic rate by 30%, and that spike lasts for more than an hour. So, drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated, and you’ll get the added benefit of a boosted metabolism.

When stress levels increase, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol leads to increased appetite, makes us crave comfort foods, decreases our desire to exercise and reduces sleep quality — all things that negatively impact metabolism. So, while you can’t always control your stress levels, managing stress can go a long way toward protecting your body’s internal fire.

About The Arthur

Kevin is a Dallas-based writer who spends the majority of his weekends on a bike. His less healthy pursuits can be found at Bevvy and Cocktail Enthusiast.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

How Many HIIT Workouts Should You Do a Week?


HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is having a moment — a very, very long moment. With HIIT-specific fitness studios popping up left and right (and experts constantly raving about the benefits of the afterburn), it’s easy to feel like you should be doing HIIT all the time.

How often can your body handle this all-out type of workout, though? Probably less often than you think.


“HIIT is a type of cardiovascular exercise that involves short periods of high-intensity work followed by intervals of low-intensity recovery,” explains Tom Holland, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, author of “Beat the Gym” and host of the “Fitness Disrupted” podcast.

Let’s break that down: On a scale of 1–10, your average run or cardio session might involve a steady effort of about a 5 or a 6. In a HIIT workout, though, you’ll alternate between intervals of pushing at an effort level of 7 or higher and intervals of recovering at a minimal effort level.

Just how long your work and rest intervals last, and whether you run your intervals on a track or step them out on the stairclimber, though, is totally up to you. According to the American Council on Exercise, work intervals typically last between 30 seconds and 3 minutes, with rest intervals lasting equally as long — if not longer. (Because of these high-intensity efforts, most HIIT workouts last just about 20 minutes or so.)

The benefit of pushing through a HIIT session instead of doing your usual cardio? You burn more calories and fat — and in less time.


Given the serious bang-for-your-buck HIIT workouts offer, you’re not the only exerciser tempted to swap them in for every cardio session you do.

The thing is, “if you are truly doing HIIT correctly, you are putting significant stress on your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems,” says Holland. For that reason, you can’t do it every day.

Though just how many HIIT workouts a week you can handle varies based on your current fitness level and goals, it’s generally a good rule of thumb to have at least one day of low-intensity exercise between two HIIT days, says Holland.

Sticking to that guideline means you can consistently churn out three or four HIIT workouts per week, tops. “Even professional athletes generally perform at least one, if not two, easy workouts for every hard session like HIIT,” Holland adds.

If you’re a complete HIIT newbie, though, the American Council on Exerciserecommends you start with just one or two sessions per week for about six weeks.


Remember that thing about HIIT stressing your heart and muscles big time? It’s nothing to mess around with.

“Doing these workouts every day can lead to overtraining syndrome and injury,” Holland says. (Overtraining syndrome is basically a state in which you feel constantly fatigued and perform poorly in the gym as a result of too much exercise.)

“No matter how effective a form of training is, if you do too much, you will experience problems,” Holland adds. “This is especially true of higher-intensity workouts.”


First of all, if you’re attempting to do HIIT every day (or almost every day), keep Holland’s philosophy in mind: “If you can do HIIT every day, you’re not doing it right.”

However, even if you’re sticking to three or so sessions per week, look out for overtraining symptoms like trouble sleeping, a higher-than-usual resting heart rate, irritability, excessive soreness and poor performance, all of which indicate a need to dial it back.

If you need to slow your roll with the HIIT, don’t sweat it. LISS (lower-intensity steady-state cardio) still has a valid place in your routine, too. Lower-intensity workouts not only offer weight loss and heart-health benefits, but they can be a much-needed reprieve from the all-out mentality of modern life. In fact, during low-intensity exercise, you recover while you move, which makes it a must-do for anyone who wants to stay active and reap HIIT’s benefits.


Lauren is a writer, editor and content creator with a deep passion for all things health and wellness. Her work has been featured in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, SHAPE, Prevention and more. A self-proclaimed veggie-lover and nature-seeker, Lauren spends her free time reading, hiking and coaching at her local group training gym.

Well, well…..this is a great article because I’ve learned something new. Even though I love HIIT, it’s imperative that I mix it up a bit. I normally do HIIT cardio 2-3 days a week and get a pretty good burn. I do have weight training days where I feel like I need to do more. With that said, heavier weights are coming upon me on weight training days. 😊 I’ll let you know how it goes. 👍 With eating pretty clean & increasing weight, I hope to gain more muscle tone. I still need to focus on eating the right amount of protein I need. To be continued…..

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨


8 Foods That Are Surprisingly Good for Weight Loss (BACK TO THE BASICS)


Losing weight doesn’t always have to be about deprivation and denial. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Successful, sustainable weight loss is far more attainable when you focus on the quality of food rather than the quantity. Eat wholesome, nutritious, (and even calorie-filled) foods and you’ll be far more satisfied and content on less. Many of the foods people think are off-limits when it comes to losing weight are the very foods that have the ability to actually help us reach our goal. Here are eight foods that cannot only help you reach your weight-loss goal, but help you keep it off for good.

Drink skim and stay slim? Not always so when it comes to dairy. A recent study published in the American Journal of Nutrition found that more than 18,000 women who consumed more higher-fat and whole-milk dairy products had a lower risk of being overweight

How can this be? Some essential fatty acids are stripped when milk is skimmed — the very component that may help you feel fuller sooner and stay full longer with full fat products. Several studies have found that when people reduce the amount of fat in their diet, they tend to replace it with sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can have a worse effect on overall health.

Bottom line: Eat a variety of dairy and worry less about how much fat it contains. Limit high-sugar ice cream treats, and buy plain yogurt with no added sugars, which tend to pile up in the flavored and fruited varieties.

In addition to healthy fats, nut butters contain an impressive amount of protein and fiber, too. Peanut butter boasts a plentiful 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons along with 2 grams of fiber. 

A study from Harvard School of Public Health found that regular nut consumption among a group of more than 51,000 women was associated with a lower risk of weight gain and obesity. A similar study in the Journal of Nutrition found that weight changed very littleamong people who consumed a normal versus nut-enhanced diet. In other words: Nuts and nut butters can be a healthy addition to your diet, even when trying to lose weight. Try snacking on nut butters in between meals to sustain your appetite. A 200-calorie cashew or peanut butter snack is far more satisfying and filling than say, 200 calories of crackers or pretzels.

Shopping tip: Skip the reduced-fat versions, which ironically tend to have more calories, sugar, sodium and preservatives than regular nut butter. Buy those that list nuts — and maybe a bit of salt — in the ingredient list, and use them as a way to eat more whole grains, fruits, and veggies. What’s not to love about an apple smeared in almond butter?

Pasta is surprisingly low on the glycemic index — a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100, based on how quickly they raise blood-sugar levels. The lower the number, the longer it takes to digest, leaving you with a steadier source of fuel to support energy levels. Whole-grain pasta falls in the 32–37 range (about half that of white bread), while white pasta averages in the mid-40 range — still much lower than that slice of white bread. And because pasta is traditionally tossed with other wholesome foods like seafood, vegetables and olive oil, a healthy pasta meal is far from off-limits for those concerned about their weight. 

Pro tip: Stick to whole-grain varieties, double up on veggies and skip the super cheesy, cream-based sauces.

Rich in high-quality protein, healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals, eggs are a low-calorie, nutrient-dense choice when it comes to snacks and meals. At just 70 calories per egg, there’s no reason not to enjoy the entire egg, yolk and white combined. Yes, egg yolks are a source of dietary cholesterol, but recent studies now prove that dietary cholesterol has less of an effect on blood cholesterol than we once thought. The evidence says eating whole eggs in moderation is safe, and some studies even show they may aid in weight loss when eaten in place of refined carbs.

Bonus: Eggs are super cheap and cook quickly — a perfect solution for busy, time-crunched mornings. Cook your eggs in olive oil and use them as a vessel for sautéed greens and vegetables, then serve them over whole-grain toast for a complete, well-balanced, weight-conscious meal.

What most people fail to realize is that per ounce, dark meat chicken or turkey (from the leg and thigh) only has about 5 extra calories and 1g of fat more than white breast meat. The skin is where most of the fat lies — skip that on any part of the bird for a far more calorie-conscious choice. Dark meat poultry tends to be more tender, juicy and rich in flavor than white meat — requiring not only less butter and oil to cook with, but also less sauce or creamy condiments to make it palatable than breast meat. It’s a great source of lean protein that may leave you more satisfied at meal time, and less likely to overeat later. 

Dark meat contains more myoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein that gives it a gray-reddish color, as well as more iron and zinc — two immune-boosting minerals.

Portion tip: Thighs are about half the size of the breast, making them a far more portion-savvy option than today’s 9- and 10-ounce breast halves. Double bonus: They’re cheaper, too.

When it comes to weight loss, limiting liquid calories can be the key to success. Alcohol carries 7 calories per gram, which not only adds up quickly, but goes down quickly, too. But giving up our occasional cocktail at the end of a long day is non-negotiable for some. 

Red wine may be more beneficial than white, according to one study from Washington State University, which found the polyphenols in red wine (including resveratrol) may even prevent obesity by aiding in metabolism. The heftiest boost of polyphenols comes from whole grapes, but wine certainly carries a portion of those benefits.

Bottom line: Alcoholic beverages won’t necessarily aid in weight loss, but they do help us relax and wind down from stressful days. In moderation, alcohol is good for the heart, too. Drink responsibly (not on an empty stomach), limit your intake and choose a 120-calorie glass of wine over sugar-loaded cocktails and carbohydrate-dense beer for better weight-loss success.

Your daily cup of joe may do more than just help you roll out of bed each morning. It stimulates the brain and nervous system, and contains antioxidants that may help improve glucose metabolism — which not only helps suppress the appetite, but also lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Caffeinated coffee may also stimulate thermogenesis, and the body’s ability to burn more fat stores, improving performance in endurance exercises like running and biking. 

While the effects of coffee on weight loss are likely minimal, the overall health benefits are reason enough to enjoy a cup or two each morning as part of your daily routine. A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis of 36 studies found those who drank their morning cups of coffee were actually at the lowest risk for heart problems

A cup of advice: Not all coffee is created equal — most of the benefits associated with coffee are singular to black coffee — not the cream and sugar-filled coffee beverages from drive-thrus and coffee boutiques. Limit the flavored (and over-priced) lattes to a rare treat.

Just one or two bites of rich, satisfying chocolate can not only reduce stress levels, but help curb cravings for other sugar-loaded treats, too. High stress levels can lead to cortisol hormone spikes, which increase the appetite and emotional eating behaviors. 

The benefits of chocolate are specific to the concentration of cocoa flavonoids, which have been shown in studies to have multiple health benefits, such as improving blood flow to the brain and reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels, blood sugar and blood pressure. The higher the percentage of cacao, the greater the benefits. 

Buying tip: Skip the convenience store and check-out lane chocolate bars, which contain a lot of added fats and sugars — which can counteract some of cocoa’s health benefits. Look for bars with at least 70% cacao or higher, with a short, simple ingredient list … and indulge in just an ounce or two. Eating too much will work against you.


Sidney is a two-time James Beard Award-winning food and nutrition writer, editor and mom based out of Birmingham, Alabama. A registered dietitian with a passion for research and being proactive about health, she loves to eat, write, run and create simple, tasty meals with whole-food-based approach. Find out more from her website, Instagram or Twitter.

———————BACK TO THE BASICS——————

This article takes us back to the basics so we know of some foods and their benefits. I struggle a lot on my protein intake daily because I don’t eat much meat and always looking for non dairy alternatives. I’ve learned that dairy has a “not so good” reaction for me. 😕 That’s why you will see me posting to recommend some of my finds from the market. Weight loss was not a deprived time for me at all. My goal is to continue to loose body fat and still be able to enjoy foods I love. So far, this journey has gone well. My next step is to tackle and conquer my protein intake so I can gain muscle tone. 💪

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

How to Have Your Best HIIT Elliptical Workout Ever

By Ashley Lauretta Updated October 30, 2019

While the treadmill is often synonymous with high-intensity interval training (HIIT), there’s another machine that can be just as effective with a lower impact: the elliptical. But lower impact doesn’t mean easier. As long as you’re putting for the effort, you can work up a sweat and burn plenty of calories.

HIIT is an intense but effective workout.
Credit: microgen/iStock/GettyImages

Woman doing a HIIT workout on the elliptical at the gym
HIIT is an intense but effective workout.
Credit: microgen/iStock/GettyImages
HIIT workouts come with a long list of benefits, including slowing negative effects of aging and boosting heart health. Whether you do a 15- or 45-minute HIIT workout, are on an elliptical or doing body-weight exercises in your living room, you’ll still reap the benefits and the basic components are the same.

“You progress through a series of high energy bursts for a shorter period of time followed by active rest or recovery,” says John Thornhill, master trainer for Aaptiv. “The amount of time needed for a HIIT workout to be effective is based on the individual and their experience with exercise.”
Exactly how do you use the elliptical, then, to conquer your next HIIT workout? Here’s what you should know before you turn up the intensity.
Read more: How to Get All the Fat-Burning Benefits of the Elliptical Machine

How to Get the Most Out of Your Elliptical Workout

“The elliptical was created to mimic a running motion in a low-impact environment, and that’s exactly what it does effectively,” Thornhill says. “If you have injuries that prevent you from high-impact activities, the elliptical is an excellent cardio and strength machine.”

To avoid wasting your time plodding along with minimal effort and lackluster results, keep these two main things in mind.

Ramp Up the Intensity

Ever heard the myth that the elliptical can’t offer you as intense of a workout as a treadmill? Clair Mason, owner of elliptica, an elliptical studio based in Fairfield, Connecticut, says that isn’t the case as long as you change up the resistance and increase the cadence.

So first things first, figure out how to change the resistance and the incline on your machine. Not all ellipticals have an adjustable incline, but if yours does, you should absolutely take advantage of it, Thornhill says.

Resistance is your best friend when it comes to the elliptical, so once you get familiar with it, be generous with it. In the same way, if your elliptical has incline, make sure you take advantage. The higher the incline, the more you work your glutes.”

Perfect Your Form

You can’t get the most out of your workout if you aren’t using the elliptical correctly. Just as with running, form and posture are crucial. Even if you’re a veteran of elliptical workouts, a form check may be exactly what you need if you feel you’ve plateaued.

“Starting from the ground up, your feet should be placed squarely in the pedals with heels grounded,” Thornhill says. “Stand tall with good posture, hips and shoulders in line, and shoulders relaxed… Place your hands lightly on the handrails and focus on pushing and pulling with your arms to work your arms, chest and back, with the primary drive coming from your legs, glutes and core.”

While it may seem awkward at first, Mason says you should mimic your natural walking, jogging, running and sprinting motion when using the machine. Again, the elliptical was created to provide the same motion as running, with less impact.

Read more: 6 Elliptical Mistakes That Can Derail Your Workout

Try This HIIT Workout on the Elliptical

When it comes to the pacing of an actual HIIT workout, Mason says it’s a back-and-forth between bursts of energy and periods of recovery. Even if you’re just starting a workout routine, you can still do these types of intervals.

Need a HIIT workout that’s accessible for anyone? Thornhill shares this one that can be easily adapted to your fitness level. “Start small and work your way up once you build stamina and confidence,” he says.

  • 5-minute warm-up: Light resistance at a steady, easy pace.
  • 30 to 60 seconds: Add a moderate amount of resistance and push the speed to as fast as you can maintain for the duration.
  • 2 minutes: Active recovery (similar to your warm-up pace).
  • Repeat 3 times.

Should you need more guidance — and even more workouts — there are apps for that! Aaptiv(look for Thornhill’s workouts) and BeatBurn Elliptical Trainer offer audio guided workouts so you can put in your earbuds and get moving without having to track the time on the screen as you push your pace during those high-intensity bursts.REFERENCES

The Re-Fitness Focus

As some may know, I’ve been into fitness for a while now (since 2010). CrossFit was a big TO DO on my list. 😊 I was in the best shape of my life and felt good. But what’s different now….I’m revisiting my journey and becoming healthy in the process. It wasn’t until moving back to Texas, I decided it was time to take my life back. I turned to ALL foods for comfort, this was not good for my health. From the loss of loosing my twins (2015), to my acoustic neuroma brain surgery I had to have to save my life (2016), and to loosing my baby girl to save my life or stop lifelong complications, Rylee, at 22 weeks (due to severe pre-eclampsia, March 18, 2017), I needed a break through. ☹️ I felt very broken and at my lowest point for a while but GOD. 🙌

In 2018, I finally decided it was time to not only workout but eat myself back to healthy. I was at my heaviest weight. I started making baby steps on my food choices. (Example: Instead of drinking soda and juice all day, I would make myself drink at least 1-2 cups of water a day. 😂🤷‍♀️) It was a struggle because I craved my sodas all day. It’s said that it takes 21 consistent days to break a habit. I totally believe it. I can now drink my required amount of water everyday without drinking sodas at all. Don’t get me wrong, every now and then I will drink no more than half of soda when I crave it (never a whole one because of the burn 🙈). In the meantime, I still struggled because I was lifting more weights but not doing enough cardio to jump start loosing more body fat. I finally discovered HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio. 😍 This type of cardio worked for me because I would get bored doing traditional cardio and quit. With the HIIT movements, it’s a different feeling. I love it!!! I do HIIT cardio 2-3 times a week and HIIT weight training 3 times a week (5 days a week, sometimes 6 when I’m in town).

As of today, I’ve lost 30 lbs., eating healthier, healthier being, and enjoying life to the fullest with my amazing husband. Consistency is the key! If you are on your fitness journey and struggling with results, don’t give up. I promise you will see change. Your ideal weight loss should be (not everyone because everyone is different and have different goals) .5 – 1 lb a week. The slower the weight comes off, the better the results should be to keep it off. 💢 I will share what works for me. And yes I still enjoy some of the not-so-good for you foods I love from time to time. 🤟 #journeycontinues

Signing off,

Ray Marks ✨ #putyourmarksonfitness

Four-Day a Week Workout for Weight Loss

By Jennifer Andrews

Excuses for not exercising include lack of time and a busy schedule. You can improve your health and get fit in just four days a week. Do cardio exercise three times during the week with strength-training sessions on two of those days. Your fourth workout day should consist of a core strengthening and flexibility session.

Women on treadmill

Build muscle and trim down with four workouts per week.Credit: Luca Francesco Giovanni Bertolli/iStock/Getty Images

Burn Baby Burn

Young woman running on treadmill

Aerobic exercise is necessary for weight-loss.Credit: Estudi M6/iStock/Getty Images

Aerobic exercise burns calories for overall weight-loss. You’ll need to do cardio three days of the week for 30 to 60 minutes per session at a moderate-intensity. One session should be high-intensity interval training to maximize caloric burn. Do intervals on a run or bike by working hard for 30 seconds followed by two minutes of lighter recovery. Repeat 10 times and include a 10-minute warm-up and cool-down.

Strength Training

Group Of People Lifting Weights In Gym

A fitness group doing strength training.Credit: Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business/Getty Images

Strength-training may be performed twice a week on the same days as cardio with a day off in between for recovery. Do exercises back to back with little rest in between for a total of three sets. Select one to two exercises per major muscle group and do 10 to 15 reps each.

Two for One


Yoga helps you stay flexible.Credit: Denis Raev/iStock/Getty Images

A focus on the core forms part of the fourth workout of the week, along with attention to flexibility. A circuit of core exercises can include front and side planks, super-mans, one-legged dead-lifts and medicine ball twists. Do each for one minute and complete three circuits. Twenty minutes of yoga stretches for the major muscle groups — including the quads, hams, gluteals and back — will help you stay flexible.


I thought I would share the good read that I came across on this platform. I hope it helps to post good reading articles I find and also answer some of the questions I get. 👍

Signing off,

Ray Marks✨ #putyourmarksonfitness

What Is My Target Heart Rate?

Before I start with a technical answer, let me just tell you that I sometimes think my heart is about to come out my chest on my HIIT cardio days. 😩 My cardio day goal is 2-3 times a week and weights day goal is 3-4 times a week. This is a short, sweet, and get to the point post. Please comment below if you have any questions or feel free to contact me via email, Facebook, or Instagram.

Factual Info –

“Target heart rate—the heart rate range used to determine the desired intensity of an activity—will differ depending on the goal of the workout. You can calculate target heart rate using a percentage of your client’s heart rate maximum (HRmax), which can be predicted by subtracting your age from 220, or by measuring your heart rate while performing a maximum exercise test.

When the workout goal is to increase aerobic endurance (most useful!), the target heart rate should be 65 to 80 percent of HRmax (about 55%-70% of HRR). During interval training, which focuses on increasing cardiovascular performance, the target heart rate should be greater than 80 percent of HRmax (70% of HRR).

Helpful Website –

This website can help you to calculate your target heart rate along with other important calculations. Please check out to receive your target calculations, or shall we say goals! ✨ You can also click on the image.

“ I try to have answers!” ☺️

Let Me Introduce Myself

Hi, Everyone!

My name is Rayan Marks, and I reside in the great state of Texas. ☺️ I will soon turn into a Georgia Peach AGAIN….we won’t get into that topic. I’m a wife (Sen’Derrick Marks), angel mom (Rylee Marks), dog mom (Teddy Bear Marks), and live by faith! 🙌 God is good, all the time. “With God on my side, I will not fail.” I’m a small, online business owner of some delicious candy made from a secret – family recipe. 🤐 At Sweet XII, we offer homemade fudge (it’s not actual fudge but kept the original name from our older generation) and two variety of praline candy that’s to die for. 🤤 Please check out the website (, shipping is available. We are adding new items this year, started on January 1st. . Marks On Fitness is a new venture to blog my journey and hope to motivate someone in the process. Worse case scenario, you will get a “laugh of the day” from my epic fails. 😬 Welcome to my life, my journey.

I started my fitness journey in 2010 but challenging events in my life have intervened. To fast forward, we moved to the state of TEXAS. Shortly after I decided to change my health and get serious about fitness again in 2017. My main struggle was finding cardio (I’m not a traditional cardio girl) that would help me on this journey. That’s when I found out about HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) in 2018, and this was the best discovery EVER. 😍 I do cardio exercises with high intensity and a short amount of time. No more long minutes on the treadmills or ellipticals. 👏 I have a love/hate relationship with the rower. 🙃 My goal is to still enjoy my favorite foods in moderations without sabotaging my health or fitness results. I’m a “sweets lover” so it doesn’t takes much before I give in. 🥴