When it comes to fitness, there is no one plan that fits all. You’ll need to fit this to you as an individual.
That said, there ABSOLUTELY are some foundations that you should work from.
Today, we will dig a little deeper into EXACTLY how to approach your training programme to guarantee results - whether you’re looking to get started with fitness and fat loss, or maybe you’re looking to get that extra 1% of bodyfat off!
Here’s the foundations that all good plans need. Check this against your current plan, and if it doesn’t line up, you may need to rethink your approach.
So, let’s get started.
New to Fitness: Start here
If you’re new to fitness, here’s some foundations.
Exercise often. I know you’ve tried to fit this around a busy lifestyle, and that’s fine, but regular exercise will be hugely important for overall health.
How often? Well, do some form of exercise most days.
For strength training, or high intensity fitness work, a couple of times a week may be enough.
For foundational fitness work, you’ll get the best results from training most days (5-6 days per week if possible).
This isn’t a forever thing, but will get results much quicker than the 2-3x per week approaches.
It’s important to remember this isn’t just about weight loss. You’re trying to SET UP for future weight loss, health and fitness - so don’t get too hung up on the scales in the first few weeks.
So, what type of training?
Ideally, this will be a blend of low to moderate intensity aerobic training (this could be walking, jogging, cycling, gym machines, etc), with some resistance training.
The aerobic work should be something you can continuously work on for about an hour, but can include intervals, continuous work, or rounds of different types of exercise (eg rowing, then spinning, then cross trainer).
For resistance training, focus on big, fundamental movements, that are within your capability.
Make sure you’re staying within exercises that you’re comfortable with, but step ups, squats, pressing and pulling exercises - with higher reps, moderate load, and relatively low rest are probably a good place to start.
To keep the intensity appropriate, you may want to approach this as a circuit type structure with limited rest.
This exercise rotation will allow more recovery within the exercises, but also add a global fitness element, meaning more benefit from what are quite frankly, more engaging sessions.
What to avoid:
Here’s some of the most common mistakes I see with this type of plan.
All “high intensity”* sessions
Now, in reality, when most people do “high intensity training”, what they mean is they’re doing moderate intensity with incomplete recovery.
From an energy systems perspective, this may seem reasonable, but here’s some downside:
- Fatigue builds really quickly, and if you’re new to training, this means you get less work done overall
- The recovery demands are higher, meaning if you try the match the frequency of lower intensity work, you may find you’re adding a lot of additional stress, for very little benefit. Ultimately, low motivation and low level injuries will follow.
So, don’t over do the intensity. Instead, focus on getting lots of high quality work done on a regular basis for this phase.
Slow, heavy gym work
The next mistake is making the resistance sessions slow and heavy, because “this is best for fat loss”.
First off, it’s not. More muscle tissue will help with your metabolism, but don’t get confused.
Muscle can become more efficient at producing energy without increasing much in size.
That’s about mitochondrial density, not just muscle size, and the best way to improve this is to sit at the higher end of the spectrum.
So, higher reps can be beneficial at this stage by:
- Giving more exposure to the exercise increasing motor learning.
- Not having a negative effect on the ability to build muscle and strength
- Making the global effect of the training session more aerobic.
Why the hell would you not. And that’s not even mentioning the potential downsides of extremely heavy lifting for new exercisers (Blood pressure, injuries, etc).
The fitness class focus!
The final mistake is related to the above. It’s when people take “higher reps” to the extreme, with fitness class type rep schemes.
These can be an enjoyable addition to training, but as far as efficiency goes, they’re a bit of a waste.
We tend to ignore good movement quality, and do SO MUCH WORK that any strength benefit is massively reduced.
In addition, the high volumes mean recovery demands (particularly around joints that may be irritated through bad form or inappropriate exercises) are much higher.
So yeah, that’s one of the worst ways to approach training at this stage, so although you enjoy it, be aware of the downsides.
That’s it for today.
Next week I’ll go into the essentials for those who are already training well, looking to improve their physique or performance by that extra couple of percent.
It’s a very different set of fundamentals that you need to stick to.
Over these previous two articles, the information I’ve put out outline some of the key principles that feature in all of our plans at FX.
Ultimately, that’s why we get exceptional results time and time again. If you follow the principles, you’ll level up your results.
However, for the best possible outcome, you can get started with us by getting in touch here: https://www.fitness-experience.co.uk/I’ll be back again in 2 weeks, where we will start to look in more detail at how to train for performance and optimum body composition.
Here’s where specialist training comes in to play, but is also where we need to pay close attention to alternating intensity and recovery.
If you have any questions, as always, drop me an email at [email protected]
Always happy to help.
Speak again in two weeks.