Don't overlook the basics when starting your fitness journey or pursuing a new fitness goal.
When starting your fitness journey or starting work on a new fitness goal, you need to keep these training basics in mind. There are a multitude of ways to get your sweat on, from a weights session in the gym to swimming in the sea. So how do you know what method of working out best suits you? Read on to find out how to do exactly that.
The first and most important factor when deciding on a training plan is your goal. Your own personal fitness goal. This is going to shape your training and keep you accountable on the days you really don’t want to get out of bed. Whether you want to lose weight, build strength, improve sporting performance or just feel flamin’ good, you can tailor your training to help you reach that goal most effectively.
For example, for weight loss your training routine needs to emphasise calorie expenditure. This means that your workout priority is to burn calories, to keep yourself in a calorie deficit, resulting in fat loss. You would also want to prioritise maintaining muscle mass during a weight loss phase to give you that ‘toned’ physique.
Whereas, if you’re trying to build muscle and put on weight you shouldn’t be as fussed about calorie expenditure. In fact, burning too many calories could take you out of a calorie surplus, meaning muscle will not be built optimally. Instead try focus on hypertrophy training, maximising muscular gains.
As you can see, 2 people with two completely different goals are going to have two very different training routines. So you need to be clear on your fitness goal, so you workout sessions can be tailored accordingly.
Progressive overload refers to the idea of gradually increasing the work your body does during exercise. For example, in the first week of your new workout routine you may complete an exercise for 2 sets. The following week you may add on an extra set. These gradual progressions, mean that the muscles are kept under constant stimulation and stress, so they grow. What you find hard at the start, will soon become easy. Your muscles need to be challenged in order to grow.
There are many ways you can progressively overload your training sessions. Like stated above, you could add on sets to an exercise. You could also add additional repetitions. You may also increase the load you’re lifting by small weight increments. Another example could be, minimising rest between sets/exercises. Again how you chose to progressively overload will be tailored to suit your individual fitness goal.
The reason progressive overload is essential is because the muscles need stimulation in order to adapt and grow. After a while of performing an exercise with a given weight for 10 repetitions, this will become easy. Continuing to perform 10 repetitions with the same weight will not put the muscle under enough stress, meaning that no growth will occur from this.
Rest & Recovery
We know it’s very challenging in the first few weeks of a new training programme to actually take the rest days. You’re itching to get in the gym or smash out a home workout. But rest and proper recovery is paramount. So take that rest day, get your 8 hours in and eat to fuel your body for your next training session.
When working out, your muscles are actually broken down. It is only after a session that your muscles start to repair and grow back bigger and stronger. If you’re putting your body under too much stress and not allowing it to properly recover, you are not going to make the progress you want to. Not only that, you are much more prone to injuries if your muscles are not performing at peak performance. Rest is essential for making sure that each sweaty session is performed at your best, yielding the best results possible from the hard work.
Not only is recovery needed to make sure you're performing and progressing most effectively, it is needed to look after that little old organ in your head. When starting out any fitness journey, the key is substantially making sure that it fits into your current lifestyle commitments and responsibilities. Exercising should be enjoyable and attainable. If you don’t rest and recovery well enough, you really will burn out. You want to keep that fitness flame alive and lit! So look after your body, look after your mind and don’t over do it!
So to conclude, when choosing a workout plan keep these three things in mind.
- Your goal. Not your mates, not that fitness influencer on Instagram, yours! What do you want to achieve from working out. That is going to guide your sessions.
- Your workouts need to be gradually getting harder in order to stimulate new muscle and fitness adaptations. This is done through the means of progressive overload.
- Rest and recover properly! Don’t waste all those hours working up a sweat by not allowing your mind and muscles to ease off.
Now you’ve got these 3 basics in the back of your mind, you can start to look into some examples of training to see what suits you the best!