In last weeks article I wrote about the good,the bad and the ugly information out there within the fitness industry Today I am going to focus on the good and provide you with information I feel is useful and a smart way to train.Like I mentioned last week the primary goal for anyone really should be to get off the sofa,move more getting regular exercise, eating healthily, drinking more water and getting enough sleep.
Over the last 5-10 years we have seen a huge shift in the numbers of people now taking part in regular exercise.This really is great to see and this was largely noticeable at Dublin’s recent Health,fitness and wellness Wellfest festival in Herbert park over the weekend.
The biggest thing I have seen creep into the industry is intensity.Sure intensity is good but not every single training session.Some people may think they need to keep hammering themselves with lots of intensity,load and volume in each workout in order to get to their goals.We are now encouraged to keep going and going taking on the most extreme challenges of all.A marathon doesn’t seem to be hardcore enough any more and now it seems we need to be doing ultra marathons,500 rep workouts and lots more to be ahead of the pack.We are constantly being surrounded by quotes like “Go hard or Go home” “No pain,No gain”,”Dont stop when it hurts,stop when your done” or even “Train insane or remain the same” It wont take you long to find information or quotes like these with a quick glance on your social media feeds.To be honest the truth really is that less is actually more and quality over quantity is an approach that works best with me and my clients and the results we get speak for themselves.
Like I said in last weeks piece I have been around the industry long enough to know what is useful and what is rubbish and anything I feel is useful I try and bring it into this weekly column.Below I feel is the best approach for a general training template.
Know your goal and find the right path to get there
Most people nowadays have busy lives and may struggle to find the time to plan their workouts.My advice here is to try and get in three sessions per week and really aim to get the most from those sessions by targeting the areas that need attention first.A lot of the time most people I train on a daily basis need work predominately with their mobility and flexibility first then we put an emphasis on strength and core work finishing off with some form of conditioning work depending on the goals of the client.A lot of the time I would see people being a little clueless with their training regime and the training they are doing has little to no resemblance to their goal.My advice here if you are not sure would be to seek some assistance from a trainer who is particular about technique, has a good pedigree and has a proven track record of helping clients get results.
Build a good foundation
The wider the fitness base the better the individuals fitness capacity.I recommend to spend time on the initial stages and forget diving into the deep end.A lot of the time I would see people want to dive head first into the more complex movements,programs and workouts and haven’t spent enough time of working on the basics looking to continually improve on them.My advise and simple 3 step approach here is Technique-Consistency-Intensity. Work on the basics first get consistently good at them then start to ramp up with some intensity.Basic things like building your aerobic base,being able to perform simple mobility drills like a basic couch stretch or downward dog or even go work on some basic movements like the squat and build from there.The squat really is one of the best and most functional movements out there and people need to fix movements like this before progressing further down the line.
Listen to your body
Something I would say time and time again to people I train.You know your body more than anyone else and you need to decide what is the best approach on that day.A lot of the time we are encouraged to continuously ramp up the heart rate,sweat more and overall keep the intensity up.If that is what you care about session after session then you are on the road of burn out or a future injury.Like I said at the start intensity is good but sometimes “you need to slow down to speed back up again”.You need to know when is a good day to bring in high intensity,a moderate to light session or even a complete days rest.Bringing in some light active recovery work into your routine is something I would really encourage.Keeping your heart rate controlled and not worrying about a high heart rate all the time.A walk,cycle or jog could work here a basic yoga session or even a 15 minute body maintenance session like below would work very well.
Forget the noise and focus on what works
In last weeks article I talked about fitness marketing.Everything and anything is marketed these days from supplements we can hardly spell, workouts and training plans that promise you fast and effective results.Over the last 5-10 years we have seen a huge interest and large participation in fitness,health and wellbeing. In that time we really have seen a large amount of fads creep into the industry.I have seen it all now at this stage from workouts that involve standing on vibrating plates and belts,8 minute workouts that will promise you abs,dumbbells that shake and vibrate even down to the many of the latest and questionable group class workouts we see advertised about.Sure you should go down a route that you will enjoy and be fun but like I said if you are looking to get the most out of your training and a path that is going to improve your fitness then your really cant beat the basics and sticking to them consistently.Running,swimming,biking,doing some yoga and stretching along with bringing in basics movements like squatting,hinging,pulling,pressing and carries are all the best exercises that keep it simple and will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
Keep it varied yet relative
Doing the same thing over and over again in exactly the same way is not a recipe of improvement,it is a recipe for stagnation and gradual decline.Like I said above in order to get the best from your training you need your plan match and be relative to the overall goal.Your program should be catered to your goal, your body, your training age, your strengths and your weaknesses.My advise would be to vary your training as much as possible.In a typical week I would bring in plenty of changes.A couple of examples here are areas you could bring into your template.Strength work or weight based training,getting outdoors going for a walk,bike or run,doing some high intensity interval training,getting some yoga flow/mobility work in or even bringing in new weekly/monthly skills or challenges to work on and allow you develop your fitness that little bit more.I also mentioned in this article that sure physical fitness as very important but how you train and look after your mind and mental fitness is just as, if not more, important and you could also bring in many ways into your week on working on that.
Continue to assess your progress is something I would suggest you do every 6-8 weeks.This could be anything from doing a body fat test,retesting a bench mark workout or even working off a 8 week strength program and then going back to retesting your old 1RM. Like I always say “If you are not assessing you are really only guessing”
David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.
You can also see some of his previous articles here.