Move to Lose: Sport Magazine Feature.
Most of us don’t have unlimited hours to spend in the gym each week, so we’re looking for maximum results in minimum time.
All forms of exercise work if you do them long enough or intensely enough. At a base level, you should do the type of exercise you enjoy because that is what you will stick to. But if the goal is to maximise results in the time available, what is the most effective approach?
The truth is that there is no definitive answer. It depends. Everything has worked for somebody at some point, but that does not mean that it will work for everybody all of the time. We all respond differently, mentally and physically, to different types and intensity of exercise.
That said, and accepting there is no one rule for everyone, here is how I’d suggest most people (with general fitness goals) prioritise their training time while working out which combination works best for them.
1. Daily movement
Structured exercise is important, but at least 30 minutes of daily movement is essential. To lose weight, you ultimately need to expend more energy than you take in. The easiest way to do this is to increase our levels of daily activity through things such as cycling, using the stairs, kicking a ball around in the park and the big one: walking more.
2. Resistance training
If I had between one and three hours per week to dedicate to exercise, I’d prioritise resistance training.
Performed correctly, it’s the best use of time for most when it comes to shedding fat. It has the capacity to increase our heart rate in the same way as other cardiovascular activities, while also helping us to develop strength and muscle, which provide the foundation for any personal fitness goals.
3. Interval training
If I had three to five hours per week, I’d add one or two interval sessions. There are various forms of interval training, all of which can be beneficial. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and other anaerobic approaches are hugely popular and can be very effective for the more experienced exercisers, but don’t discount slightly longer, aerobic intervals, which can be equally effective for a lot of people.
4. Steady state cardio
If I had more than five hours per week, I’d do more steady state cardio. I’m a big fan of traditional cardio. It’s something most of us should make more time for. It’s vital for overall cardiovascular health, a great destressor and an easy way to burn a few extra calories: all hugely important.
Part 2 of Jean-Claude's 4 week fitness guide...
If you’re new to the gym or have had an injury, improving basic stability and performing bodyweight movements will give you plenty of strength gains initially. But once you’ve moved beyond this, you’ll need to get to grips with the weight room.
A well-designed strength training programme doesn’t need to be complicated. Choose three or four key movements and get good at them. To begin with, improve your technical proficiency, then progressively add load.
Bear in mind that strength training done correctly requires adequate rest, so that you can complete each movement safely and effectively. Do not rush between sets or rush the reps themselves. This is not circuit training. Take your time, think about how you are performing the movement, and progress steadily over time.
Here is an example of a basic strength- training programme that can be performed two to three times per week, depending on your goals and activities away from the gym. Warm up thoroughly before starting to make sure that the joints are ready to move and the muscles ready to fire.
Squat (3x5 reps)
» The squat is perhaps the most effective lower- body and core exercise you can do. Keep tension throughout, work through a full range of motion and keep your torso angle consistent
Overhead press (2x5 reps)
» Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width. Brace your entire body before pressing the bar overhead.
Tip: you move around the bar, not the bar around you.
Deadlift (2x8 reps)
» Start with the bar over your mid-foot. Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width, adopting a neutral spine. Brace your core throughout the lift, keeping spine neutral throughout.
Seated row (2x15 reps)
» Place feet on the footpads and hold the handle at shoulder-width. Row the bar into your chest, contracting hard in the end position. Think about rowing your elbows through your ribs.
Note: Sets are to be completed in straight format, resting long enough to start the next set fresh. Select a weight that allows you to complete the desired number of reps with good form.
Optional conditioning finisher...
Row 250m, rest for two minutes
- » Complete 10 burpees in the ‘rest’ period.
- » Repeat x 3
Week 3 coming soon...