What do you want?

What at first might appear a bit rude is actually a pertinent question. It applies to just about every aspect of life and is one we should ask ourselves regularly.

When it comes to health and fitness it is key that we know what we want or more accurately what our goal or goals is or are. Only once you know your destination can you really begin to start your journey (see February’s issue page 8 for help setting goals).

So basically if you want to improve your running you need to run more. Spending countless hours lifting heavy weights in front of the gym mirror is not really going to benefit your running. Conversely, if you want to enter strongman competitions you probably won’t benefit from focusing all your efforts on running every day.

Most of my clients’ initial goals, unsurprisingly, are to reduce their body fat, increase their muscle and/or strength and improve their overall health. In many ways this is actually a much harder task than simply training for a specialist event ie a 10km run or an amateur body building contest. Allow me explain that statement.

Let’s take runners for example as, fantastically, we have rather a lot in Ludlow.  If you are a runner you will mainly run.  If you are a serious runner you might also engage in some circuit training strength training and flexibility training.  These latter forms of exercise will probably not add up to more than 15% of your total training volume though.

In contrast, if you are trying to improve many aspects of your fitness you will need to train many aspects of your fitness.  So you will regularly undertake strength training, flexibility training, Long Steady State Aerobic Training (LSD) and high intensity circuit training (HIIT) in roughly equal proportions.
At this point I imagine you appreciate that devising and implementing a training programme that best suits your goals is fundamental to achieving them.

One principle that all training should incorporate is that of progressive overload. Progressive overload is defined as the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training. Huh?

In other words, gradually, you have to lift more or run further if you want to be able to: lift more or run further.  It sounds blindingly obvious but all too often we forget this principle because it is easier to stay within our comfort zone and keep lifting the same weights or running the same distance at the same pace.

In the next few issues I will be writing more in-depth articles on how to improve the following aspects of your fitness: Strength, Power, Hypertrophy, Cardio-Vascular, Flexibility, Nutrition. In the meantime enjoy what you are doing and if you would like further guidance please get in touch with me.