Kick-start a New Year Fitness Regime
by Steve Halsall
A Celebrity Personal Trainer
Where to start with the endless solutions and miracle cures that inundate you in the New Year? What ever you decide to do you must stick to it, no excuses. Every journey no matter how long will have the energy and creative excitement of the start. This is always followed by a plateau and 'the boring' part of the process, this is purely a state of mind and one you must override and understand that exercise is for not just for New Year it is for life.
I'm going to play safe and encourage you not to avoid weights and understand the basic's in the gym. I want to stress here that we are working towards three workouts per week that are an hour long and progress you in all the key areas of training.
Doing some kind of progressive resistance workout is essential not only in making you strong but in helping you lose fat weight. You won't burn that many calories working with weights but it is the long term effect on metabolism and lean muscle tissue % that matters here. Research tells us that keeping the weight workouts intense and vigorous is the best way to boost metabolism both during and after the weights session. Boosting lean muscle tissue and keeping the metabolism active means your body will burn energy hours after the weights session. Over time you want to increase lean muscle tissue and decrease fat. By doing this, you will become more efficient at utilising energy consumed and start to lose weight and tone up.
What is clear that regardless of your fitness level and ability in the gym, you have to workout as intensely as possible, without causing injury. There are zillions of ways to workout and it strikes me that most of the population do not have the basics in place when it comes to weight training.
You must have a balanced all over body workout at least twice per week to progress. Keep the workout thorough and keep it technically sound. Pace and intensity will come as well as variety. There is no point starting with a one legged squat on a bosu for legs. No, get the basic squat technique perfected and great legs await you.
Most clients I see who want to tone up, improve fitness and become stronger are all put through a workout that hits every muscle group. How many exercises and how many sets and reps are very individual.
As long as you have the following in your routine you will have both balance and structure to your workouts. Remember, when using the weights, you are there to workout, not chat, not stare at the people in the gym and not to get side tracked fiddling with your i-pod.
You must vary the number of reps you use in the workout. Never just do 20 reps of a lightweight thinking it will tone you up, it won't. Variety and shock is what the body requires and not being afraid to push a little towards the end of the sets. For arguments sake, you want to do sets of 12-15 reps. And every fifth workout throw in a 15 - 20 reps session, then follow it with a 10 -12 reps session. Keep the body guessing.
You need to get through the weight workout on twenty minutes, so don't hang around.
- Bicep curls
- Triceps dips
- Press ups
- Seated row
- Squat and shoulder press
- Squat or leg press
- Hamstring curl on a Swiss ball
Followed by abdominals.
What you are endeavouring to do is increase your overall stamina; improve your circulation and cardiovascular function, your heart and lungs. By being consistent and progressive with cardio training you will feel energised and have a clearer and sharper view of life.
Working the heart and lungs is the bedrock of self-preservation and one of the key components of health. And who knows, you may just surprise yourself and be entering a 10k race before you know it.
Looping the loop
Simply working for long periods of time doing the same routine of lets say 30-40 min's on the cross trainer at level 9 three time per week will not progress you as fast as you may think. Your body after a couple of weeks will get very used to the idea of what is expected and then as is often the case, take the easy way out when training. So what is required is a structured, progressive, safe and easy to implement routine.
Once you get familiar with the 'Loop the loop' Cardio workouts you will never look back. Working out 3 times per week you will be amazed at your progression and you will begin to understand your body and its ability to push with control to the next level. Having a strong cardiovascular fitness level is essential in getting you the body you deserve.
Three cardio workouts per week that feed each other in order to progress:
|Long cardio, you are aspiring to work for an hour without stopping with a constant level of moderate level.
|Half the time of the long cardio workout but more intense, aspiring to 30mins without stopping.
|Interval training, measured bursts of very intense activity followed by a measured rest period. Aspire to 7 repetitions of 2 minutes 'on' 1 minute 'off', with a 5mins of warm up and cool down, this workout will be eventually 31 minutes long.
Attach the shorter cardio workouts to the free-weight routine, ensuring that in three workouts per week you are ticking all the boxes.
Lastly…consistency, progression and a smile on your face will guarantee and new, fitter and better you.