No matter what your goals, there are some fundamentals that need to feature in your training week. Ditch the next new craze for a second and know where your bread is buttered. Here’s how we like our Fit Girls:STRONG – We will never get tired of telling you how important strength is and we hope you don’t get tired of listening. After all, it is your one-way ticket to achieving most of your fitness goals. What’s that? You’re a runner and don’t need strength? Sorry honey, you need to be strong to run. In fact being stronger will take your running to a whole new level. Now I am a big yoga fan, and whilst there is an element of strength required to hold yoga positions, it is not equal to picking up a weight with good form and putting it back down. Strength and muscle mass are the top biomarkers of health and longevity influencing: body fat %, basal metabolic rate, aerobic capacity, blood sugar tolerance, cholestero/HDL ratio, blood pressure, bone density and ability to regulate body temperature, according to a 1991 study by Simon and Schuster. Time to cancel spinning and hit the weights room, no? FIT – Look up definitions of fitness and you will discover various governing bodies fighting over what ‘fitness’ should be defined as. For the purposes of this post, we are talking about aerobic capacity – are you puffing and panting when you climb the stairs? Long gone are the days of an hour of long-slow-steady-state cardio. We have found quicker ways to get our fitness levels up fast, that don’t take anywhere near as long as the 60-minute cardio sessions we used to bow down to. Now there’s a glitch with this…so many of you still believe the more time you spend in the gym, the better your results. WRONG. Train smarter not harder! Interval training is a way to hit your fitness levels hard and transfers nicely over into any long distances you might do. Incidentally, anyone I train for an endurance race does a strength session at least once week, interval sessions at least twice a week and only one longer steady-state session. Note that if you are brand new to fitness, interval training sessions are tough, ease yourself in with some steady-state cardio first, before upping the intensity with interval training. AGILE – All that strength training and interval training can make a girl creaky if she doesn’t take time to stretch and mobilise. If you can’t get to full depth in the squat, it’s probably because you haven’t spent any time mobilising/stretching before or after. Similarly, if all those spin classes you have been so virtuously attending have resulted in sore knees and tight hips, it’s probably because you haven’t spent any time mobilising/stretching before or after. Now many fitness gurus argue over whether you should stretch/mobilise before or after a workout. I say do what feels good, but definitely do it! That can be in the form of a yoga/movement session once a week or just some time spent before or after your training to be kind to your muscles.
Right so now that we have the basics, what does that look like in your week?M – Strength session: squats, deadlifts, rows, presses etc. T – Rest W – Interval training: 6-10 x 20-60 second sprints, followed by 60-120 seconds rest on rower/treadmill/bike etc. T – Mobility session: yoga, stretching, pilates F – Rest S – Play: get out into the park with friends and have fun! S– Rest
This is based on the minimum you should be doing. You can always replace rest days with exercise but ensure you have at least one rest day a week. Two strength sessions are fine in one week. Two interval sessions are fine in one week. If you are new to training, try building up your cardio before attacking intervals.