Negotiate Your Routine

 

The Deal is won in the detail. You must negotiate your routine.

The flexibility comes in the detail of what you do and there ARE non-negotiable items which you simply must do.

Negotiate your routine

  • Resistance Training – Don’t try to argue it, trust me it’s non-negotiable. If you’re not lifting weights or training against resistance you really should be.
    • Type of Training – So many to choose from. You can definitely find something you like. Personal training may not be for you but join a class, do cross fit, Olympic lifts, machine weights, kettle bells etc. the list is endless. Try until you find one you like.
    • Frequency of Training – From training once a week to every day, it really is up to you. Be realistic about what you can stick to as aiming for more sessions and not getting to them can be a huge demotivating factor – build it up slowly.
    • Time of Training – Night owl or early bird, lunch time or right after work. Find a time that fits with your lifestyle. Morning training is great but can be difficult to make it work. You need to negotiate a time that works and will work for you at least 80% of the time.
    • Duration of Training – Quick 20 mins or long 90 mins. No right or wrong answer.
    • Cost of Training – – Cost’s much less than most things. But please spend your money in line with your commitment level. Personal Trainers can be expensive so look at what you are trying to achieve, if you’re starting out completely new you may get as much benefit by going to the gym with some friends and when you decide you like it then take the next step. Plenty of free tutorials and work out generators online also if you need inspiration. Once your hooked you can start to add in more items: workout clothes, supplements, PT’s, Group Classes, Home workout equipment, wrist wraps, knee wraps, back belt, giant water bottle, Fitness wearable’s, styling headphones, yoga mats, foam roller, ab wheel, the list goes on and on. Beside listing some of the things around me in my room, the point here is to keep your cost of training as low as possible. There is no point going out buying all additional equipment upfront. You really need very little to start…</
  • Cardiovascular Training – Non-negotiable. You have to keep your heart active and healthy and to do so you need to get that heart rate up. Walks are great to hit your step count and activity level but also ensure that you are raising your heart rate on a regular basis every week.
    • Type of Training – Some people love cardio, some people (like me) hate it. However you definitely dislike some more than others, if you’re like me the trick is to find the one you dislike least. For me that happens to be the cross trainer. Brisk walking, jogging, running, cycling, cross training, skipping, stairs stepper. You don’t have to do all of them, but you have to do one of them.
    • Frequency of Training – 2-3 times a week minimum, please! but you can go even more if you like
    • Time of Training – Despite what some trainers may tell you, for the majority of goals there is absolutely no advantage to early morning fasted cardio. Unless your in an extreme cut, don’t go crazy here. Pick a time that suits your schedule.
    • Duration of Training – Keep your cardio at a minimum to 20 mins per session but after that go as long as you feel
    • Cost of Training – If your road running, make sure that you have a decent pair of trainers, other than that similar to resistance training try to keep your costs low initially and buy the add ons as you go.

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Fat vs Weight

Believe it or not, fat loss is largely linear. If you maintain a caloric deficit you will lose fat, the rate of which is pretty constant when you are consistent with your diet. The complete mind f**k for all of us is that weight loss is far from linear. Day to day, week to week it has it’s ups and downs in a short term period. You hear so many give the advice to not rely on the scales, but in absence of other measures it can be hard to not step on and check. Resist the urge unless it’s part of your planned check in as frequent acute differences can take you from feeling great about a weeks hard effort, to feeling like you want to pack it all in.

Know that once you have hit your plan, that you are going in the right direction regardless of short term weight fluctuations!

Fat vs WeightAffects Fat (Long Term)

      • Calories – Plain and simple, it’s calories in vs expenditure (calories out) that will make the difference in the long term.

Affects Weight (Short Term)

Note: Chronic (long term) difficulties with some of the below items can mean that your body responds differently to standard calorie deficit for your weight however the above Calorie principle still holds true, it just may be more difficult for you to find a consistent calorie number. In addition, many of the below are also triggers which can easily cause us to over consume and enter into a Calorie Surplus.

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How You Lift – Progressive Overload

How You Lift

There are numerous ways to create a progressive overload; add weight, add reps, add sets, reduce rest time, etc. but to ensure that you are testing yourself in every single set the above easy formula should be used when it comes to weights training. If you want to make the best possible progress in the shortest possible space of time you have to challenge yourself on every single set and to do that you have to find your level.

Form:

Form is key. Its the start point of your training and the item that you must learn to master on every single exercise. If you are lucky enough to have a coach or a personal trainer then they will help you here. The best coaches are obsessed with form and you should be too. Even if you do not have a coach or PT you should be familiar with the various phases of an exercise, start position, end position and transition phase. The desired range of motion between start and end position is also key to know.  Use the mirrors, use the diagrams present on all gym machines, use Google,  use whatever you can. At an absolute minimum you should know where you should be feeling the exercise, the machine diagrams will usually highlight these but for free weights you should become familiar with what body part is being primarily targeted during an exercise and what body parts are being targeted on a secondary basis. If you are feeling the exercise anywhere else or indeed not feeling it at all in the primary target area then it’s usually a good indication that your form may be off. This is something that I constantly ask my clients during a PT session to ensure the correct muscles are being worked.

Performing exercises without proper form and/or without full range of motion is your biggest blocker to success. You must get these right before even thinking about increasing the weight you are lifting.

Reps:

When your Form is perfect (or near perfect) and you can perform the exercise for its full range of motion, you next need to look at your reps. For simplicity lets imagine you are doing 10 reps at the same weight for a set. You must pay attention to your form and rep range for ALL 10 reps. It usually happens something like this:

  • Reps 1-5: Form Good & Range of Motion Good
  • Reps 6-8: Form Ok & Range of Motion slightly less then full
  • Reps 9-10: Form lost & Range of Motion halved

If the above is the case, you need to look at lowering the weight you are training with to ensure that you have correct form and range of motion for the entire set.

However, if you make if from 1-10 perfectly then you must immediately review the weight you are lifting!

Weight:

If your Form is correct and you maintain that Form for the desired Rep range

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How you Train and Recover Matters

How you train and recover matters. Over time, both good and bad, training and recovery habits compound to drive you in the right or wrong direction.

The below four training types are fitness level agnostic and can be commonly identified across all levels and types of training. The ‘Over Training / Injury Zone’ highlighted in each diagram below exists for everyone but depending on your own personal fitness level it may take more or less effort to reach it. The four commonly identifiable training types are as follows:

      • Optimal Training
      • Sub-Optimal Training
      • Inconsistent Training
      • Over Training

Optimal Training

Optimal Training DiagramAs the name suggests, this is optimal training. This is where everyone wants to be and with the right coach and mind-set this is where you should be. Optimal training has two key identifying traits:

  1. Train Hard – Those performing at an optimal level are consistently training hard and pushing themselves close to their limit without over doing it.
  2. Recover Properly – After a hard training session you are actually less fit than prior to it in the short term. It’s the recover phase that makes you fitter. To consistently perform at an optimal level you must also consistently recover at an optimal level. Every correct recovery allows you to again empty the tank in training and push yourself further again.

You can see from the graph the Optimal trainer is consistently training hard and recovering properly which is making them fitter and fitter over time.

Sub-Optimal Training

Sub Optimal Training

Sub-Optimal training is unfortunately the zone that most fall into without the assistance of an experienced coach or indeed when the motivation is not there. Sub-Optimal training is identified primarily by the following:

  1. Not Training Hard Enough – The key identifier of sub-optimal training is not pushing yourself hard enough. Skipping sets, skipping exercises, working with weights or resistance that  does not challenge you, or simplifying exercises are all habits that can lead you to sub-optimal training.
  2. Recovery – Recovery here could be optimal. Rest and nutrition on point but you are unable to get the maximum benefit due to not pushing hard enough in training.

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G.R.O.W.T.H model for Personal Fitness

GROWTH Model

  1. Goals
    • For You – Goals need to be thought about and defined clearly. No obligation to share widely, but you must know your own goals. If you have none, start here now! If you’re not working towards your own goals, your only working for someone else’s.
    • Your Coach – Understands your fitness goals and agrees them openly with you. Where a client does not have strong medium to long term goals, your coach should help you to define shorter term goals in fitness and health to help you begin your journey.
    • Level – Goal definition, understanding and agreement is the base level of coaching which should be expected. If you have clearly defined goals, although still at a low level, your personal fitness journey has taken it’s first step into maturity.
  2. Reality
    • For You – You must gain an awareness of your current state in the context of the goals you wish to achieve. Personal awareness of the reality is one of the most difficult steps in maturing your personal fitness journey. It is extremely rare that anyone can gain an objective sense of self from themselves alone. Over confidence and under confidence cause havoc in equal measures. Hard pills may need to be swallowed in this phase for the over confident, while a healthy push in the right direction and support is needed for those less confident. It’s a vulnerable phase, but key in maturing and moving forward in the right direction.
    • Your Coach – must at all times provide the objective view and help you to understand your own reality in the context of your goals. Some coaches may already fall down here in favour of quick profit. “Sure I can get you ‘-insert unrealistic goal here-‘ in 8 weeks. Incidentally here’s my 8 week challenge package”. The best coaches will help you understand your reality and form a realistic plan for helping you to achieve your goal based on where you are currently at. Trust and honesty must become the base standard between the two of you.
    • Level – Coaching which is honest and helps the client to understand their reality is key if goals are to be achieved. As a coach this is an uncompromising principle.  If you have made it to an awareness and acceptance of your current state, and still have a burning desire to achieve your goal, you have taken a very important step in maturing your personal fitness journey. At this point you know where you are and where you want to get to. By the way, this step never really ends, soz.
  3. Options
    • For You – You must be open to the options available to you to achieve your goal. This is a time to be honest with yourself and your coach about

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