Created by Jamie Spoor
6 minute read
Photos by Chelsea Gibson
2022 is almost a month old so that means your New Year’s Resolution is in full swing (we hope). Invariably, there will be an influx of goals when it comes to fitness, nutrition, performance and physical well being and here at Train in Blocks, we can help you to consistently maintain your newfound health regime.
The biggest secret? Not really a secret at all but an unwritten rule with one simple buzzword: consistency. Try to apply this in four key areas - Strength Training, Conditioning, Recovery and Consumption.
Let’s now break these four individual aspects down to see how you can target your approach to suit your needs.
Pumping some iron in the weights room may look painful (and believe me, it certainly is), but lifting those weights will give you the best indicator of where you’re at on your fitness journey.
The ‘Everest’, the “Holy Grail”, the personal zenith of any client’s fitness raison d’être, lifting weights can be pivotal towards developing a stronger, leaner, better ‘you.’
If done right with good technique, stamina, and patience this discipline will give you the biggest changes in developing your upper body and muscular strength, improving bone density and structure with the perfect mix of preserving both power and energy.
But whilst building up strength in our muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones is your bread and butter and most clients’ sole purpose in going to the gym, it's easy to overlook the latter.
Power isn’t just a magical sprinkling of stardust only the elite possess: essentially, and simply by preserving this power, we all hold athletic ability in one way or another - even if it's just something simple like running, cycling or a gentle swim.
When it comes to the crunch (pun intended), a good way to keep your weight training in check is to lift at mid-to-heavy weight at varying speeds with two to three repetitions each week.
Ah, the necessary torture that is conditioning. Nobody likes it, but then again we all have to do things we don’t enjoy. Sometimes you just need to grit your teeth, dig deep and battle through - you don’t need to become conditioned like peak Cristiano Ronaldo to get the best out of yourself - although if you want to, then by all means go for it!
The best approach is to combine high-intensity (interval training for example), with low intensity - perhaps a walk, or a simple jog, indeed anything ‘long and slow’ a couple of times a week.
The former helps you build up aerobic and anaerobic capacity for short bursts of stamina; the latter provides balance for longer bouts of sustainable energy thereby giving you the best result for your overall fitness and health.
All this, and you get vastly improved cardiovascular endurance, better stamina and an upgrade when it comes to your strength training. Of course, quality is more important than quantity - both are up to you - but a good place to build from is three - four each week (one/two a week for both high intensity and low intensity)
Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination and the same can be said for your post-training recovery.
Picture the scene: you awake from a disturbed sleep like you’ve been hit with a sledgehammer - sluggish, tired, heavy and like you’ve gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson. OK, over-egging the pudding a little, but you get our drift. You’re not hungover (not in this scenario at least, but you’ve just had a night with no sleep whatsoever).
So what happens next? What would you do? How much would you get done, how productive would the following day be? It doesn’t take a genius to work out the answer would amount to the square root of pretty much nothing.
Now imagine the opposite and flip the scenario on its head - after the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had - you’re full of the joys of spring, bright eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to face the day head on.
It’s a simple ideology but an effective one - the amount of sleep you get is scientifically proven to affect not just your short term functionality and overall health but the long term benefits of rest and recuperation.
Try and ensure your sleep falls within the “magic” unwritten rule of 6-8 hours per night as is restful and uninterrupted; also get your head down where it’s cool, dark and quiet. All this together and we can paint a picture of how best to rest.
There’s steps you can take during the day too (metaphorically as well as physically): get Vitamin D as the ideal “de-stresser”, to improve your mood and mindfulness. You could also consider something like yoga, meditation, or reading as a mechanism to manage your stress levels. Remember the three basic rules when it comes to recovery: quality sleep, spend time in the sun and practice mindfulness throughout the week.
The oldest adages are the ones to hold most sway and this is no exception: “you are what you eat.” Whilst I’m not here to create a food diary or set up an extensive consumption programme, there are some simple steps to share with you to help you navigate what can seem to be shark-infested waters.
Quality nutrition - or, perhaps more pertinently the lack thereof - is just as important as any of what we’ve mentioned above.
Common sense applies here but prioritising protein is a good slogan to think of when we’re talking nutrition - focus on chicken, fish, turkey and the like, an array of veggies, and substitute high-calorie ‘carbs’ for multigrains, wheats and supplements. Oh, and drink plenty of water! By following these steps, it will help you and your clients to enhance your strength, conditioning and recovery gains.
Make 2022 the year of the ‘you’ and start supporting your New Year’s resolutions by developing those all-important health habits.
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