Wednesday, 30th January

Training diaries and records are vital for you unless you have a photographic memory and you can remember pretty much everything you do from session to session!

Some of the most successful individuals I know and train keep a record of everything, from their training to their 7 days eating typically.

The eating plans tend to be done once only every couple of months, or especially the sudden gaining of a little weight!!

The training record though would typically be kept in a little book, and some of these books can go on for years I have seen! The thinking behind it all is that you will have a roadmap on where you have been, and indeed where you intend to go from where you are now.

Also, if you have no plan, no past workout history, and you workout in a haphazard fashion, then your results are never likely to be as impressive as you would like.

Your body responds well to a good routine too.

For example, if you are doing 10 press ups for week one on a Monday and Thursday for example, then pushing that figure from 10 to 12 won’t seem that too much of a stretch.

The week after 12-15 won’t seem that bad, and the week after that, 15-18 won’t be a superhuman effort.

From these examples, its easy to see how people get to doing 25-30 press ups through this system of gradual progression.

The thought of going from 10 to 30 press ups in one go is frightening, and indeed pretty much impossible!!! Doing this gradually and in a methodical way is the ONLY way in my book.

The training diary lets you record this in black and white, and as I have always told you, when you write your goals down in black and white they are 80% more achievable!!

Your training diary is not only a practical way to record your progress, but is much more likely to see you achieving great things with your body and health in general!!

Thursday, 24th January

We have talked a little about training differently, such as bosu balls, medicine balls etc.

This is a highly productive form of training, and will guarantee good results as long as you know what you are doing.

Now its time to re-visit traditional cardio.

I’m talking rower, treadmill and bike. We also have a device called an Ultraslide at the gym, a wonderful platform that not only gives you a great workout in 5 or so minutes, but i can add substantially to your speed and agility.

So going back to the rower, first of all its important just to get used to it, rowing properly wth good form. Once you are able to row for 12-15 minutes, then its a great idea to set some targets.

2000 metres and 2500 metres in particular are my favourite targets.

These distances give you something to aim for, set your standards at and constantly let you know where you are in fitness terms. These are more intense rowing efforts, and will be far more challenging than just rowing at one easy pace.

I would row these distances just one a week maximum. They will take a lot out of you if you are putting your best efforts in. So once a week, even once a fortnight is always a good idea, and designed to keep on improving you!

Same with bikes, don’t enlessly try to stay at one boring pace. Set targets!

Keep your revolutions per minute at 80. RPM is the measurement on the bike. This has been proven to be the most efficient level to ride bikes for maximum results.

I also like to put clients on spin bikes, encouraging them to stand up on the bike for intervals.

So that could be 60 seconds sitting down and 15 seconds standing up, 60 seconds down and 15 seconds up and so on until you feel as if you have had enough. This is a very effective form of training, and as you get fitter, you can stay up riding for longer.

More on this tomorrow!

Wednesday, 23rd January

As we were talking about training in a different way yesterday, this principle can be used in any form of training.

When i run with someone for example, i often mix running styles up just to get a better result for the person i am training.

Let’s say we are doing 30 yard sprints on a hill, then i wouldn’t just do forward running/sprinting. I would always put backward running in with this effort, and sometimes some sideways running. This creates a great workout giving total development and boosts progress substantially!!!

One thing on sideways running thats a common mistake, do not over extend your stride when running sideways. This can create hip trouble and over-extension problems if you do a lot of it. Keep your strides shorter and i find this always helps in our aim to keep our training totally injury-free.

You can do a lot of variation with leg training.

I totally believe in your normal leg presses, but after that, how does this sound to you?

Try walking lunges, and please remember in this exercise that your knee should never come more forward than your ankle, if it does this means you may be creating some long term problems for your knee. Exercise form is paramount and makes your workout experience far more rewarding.

Do the walking lunges, then straight after you do squats with a sandbag (i like to use this a lot) and make sure you keep the sandbag in an oblong position (this makes it harder), then also do side to side runs on the bosu balls with the sandbag in your arms. This is a great exercise for your core and your legs are also working intensely!

Your workouts are only limited by your imagination, but the way you put your exercises together will be very important, and definitely lessen your chance of injury.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, 22nd January

With a bit of luck, you have got through your big workout yesterday to set the tone for the week, and maybe you are thinking how you can replicate that impressive start to the week.

Variety then should be your number one way to keep your standards high, your workouts fresh and therefore your progress high too!!!

This is why your workouts apart from weight training and the usual cardio should incorporate so much more!!!

If you have read this thing for a while, then you will know only too well that i love medicine ball work, bosu ball exercises, swiss ball work, and boxing workouts.

These exercises will work your body in a different way and often reach the hard to get areas that traditional exercise doesn’t seem to get near!!!

All of these different forms of exercise tend to hammer your core much more deeply than a more traditional workout. They are so successful that i consider these forms of training as my “traditional” form workout!!!

Once you have your traditional form of training change, then its at this point when exercising becomes “exciting again”, which is down to the variety AND effectiveness of your training, which in turn produces the big results that we are all after!!!

The best way to incorporate these types of training is to package various exercises into groups of 3.

For example, you could do medicine ball press ups, with alternate squat thrusts, and then finish it off with rope work we like to do at the gym all the time. Let me straight away that the group of three just mentioned may well be the hardest combination you could pick.

Of course, exercise selection depends entirely on your fitness ability and what you can handle.

It’s always better to start off cautiously and we will be discussing much more of this tomorrow!!!

Monday, 21st January

Assuming you are still building your programme up, one big thing you should be making sure of is the importace of a big workout on a monday to start off your week in the right way!!!

You may have had a workout before breakfast, lunch time or you hit your workout at tea time, whatever that time may be, you need to make sure you hit it with intensity, aiming to do a little bit better than last week, and setting yourself up for a very strong week.

When you do train hard, you will be more inspired to eat well and less likely to make poor choices.

When you train hard, you won’t want to waste any of that effort you have just put in.

This is why monday is SO important. How many times have you had a bad monday in terms of missing a workout, and then you went on to have a poor week in general? You may think that because you missed monday’s workout, then it will not be so bad to miss tuesday too, and by the time wednesday comes along, you may as well wait until next week!!!

Missing a week of training usually goes with softening up on your diet too. The attitude of “putting everything off until next week” is very common, and i hear anecdotal evidence of this all the time.

Being in shape is all about creating good momentum, getting into shape in the first place is very much about getting that momentum going strongly, and the only way you get momentum is getting a succession of good workouts together along with feeding yourself in a highly nutritious way.

The great news is that once this momentum does get going, it can be very hard to stop and results at this stage are much easier to get, almost without even thinking about it!!!