So you have allowed time in your busy schedule to focus on improving the way you look and feel. You have a gym slot, maybe two if you can squeeze it in.
You are on track (most of the time) with eating mindfully and are making a real effort to be ‘good’.
But despite all this effort those jeans are still too tight and your post-holiday wobble is still most definitely wobbly.
Chances are the majority of us are finding our goals a little further away than we had hoped because we are not using our gym time effectively. We are not training smartly.
It’s time to look closely at your gym time and consider what you actually do during that session – not what you think you do. How much of that time is spent in focused mind-body connected exertion – heart rate raised, muscles flexed, brain stimulated, pushing hard?
This is the key to your rate of progress, or lack of.
Obviously each individual’s training focus and goals are unique to them. What follows is a suggested guide to successful, progressive exercise. Keep your last few gym sessions in mind as you read on to consider 4 key words:
AT LEAST three training sessions in a gym (or home gym) environment that focus on resistance training using body weight and gym equipment.
These sessions are typically between 30minutes and 45minutes in length – sometimes up to 60 minutes.
In addition to this, two sessions that involve getting your heart and lungs pumping in a 20 – 30minute cardio session.
Each exercise in your training session needs to be performed with the correct technique and level of challenge for it to be effective.
The combination or group of exercises is also important to maximise work / rest and intensity.
Exercise choice is often influenced by your specific goal but should also include those that challenge all muscle groups.
Flexibility work is crucial to make sure your body remains supple and injury free.
Your body gets used to what you do to it (therefore doesn’t alter) and your mind gets bored so change it up!
The training method you choose has a shelf life and needs to be progressed every 4 to 6 weeks in order to avoid a plateau in your progress.
Depending on your goal, it may be effective to run two or three training methods alongside each other. For example:
A weekly schedule (6 week block) to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle:
- Session 1: Compound exercise resistance training – for strength and building lean muscle
- Session 2: Muscular endurance circuit training – for burning calories and increasing muscular efficiency
- Session 3: Interval Cardio Training – Boost metabolism and burn calories
- Session 4: Superset resistance training – for detailed muscle sculpting
- Session 5: Long Duration Steady State Cardio – burns calories, improves cardiovascular system efficiency
As well as the training method, vary the equipment you use. Find substitutes and alternatives for exercises you use to target certain body parts.
Most days you walk into your session with a plan of action. Some days you don’t. In these instances, don’t be afraid to go off programme – listen to your body, make it up as you go along. Remember technique and intensity and move that body effectively.
Meet a friend in the gym unexpectedly? Make up a partner workout.
Wondering what a particular piece of equipment does? Ask! Use it.
Cardio sessions may also take place in the gym but be creative – take advantage of opportunities for physical activity as they arise to see how else can you fit them into your weekly schedule:
- Meeting a friend for a power walk instead of (or before) a coffee
- Playing with your children in the garden
- Racing your dog in the park
- Running up flights of stairs between jumping jacks, mountain climbers and a skipping rope!
- Get out for a run before the rest of the house stirs in the morning
Over to you…
Your Training Check – list:
3 + Resistance Training Sessions ( these strengthen, shape and contour the muscles of your body)
2 Cardio Training Sessions (these improve your heart and lung function, boost your metabolism and burn calories)
1 Day of Active Rest – do something today that keeps your body moving, even if it is only a walk to the shop.
As a Personal Trainer I am overflowing with ideas, methods, challenges and creativity. It is my pleasure to inspire, educate, motivate and push you to get the best from your body. Contact me to get started.