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Keep fitness simple this New Year

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Looking Good, Feeling Great

Author: Will Mbanga, Posted: Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 09:00

The New Year is a good time to take stock as you look to optimise your diet and exercise routine toward being healthier.

As any Personal Trainer or gym owner will tell you, this is the time of year where gyms see an increase in members and trainers gain new clients. It is the time when ‘slackers’ and ‘back sliders’ jump-start their lapsed training regimens and old memberships, as the siren call of summer holidays begins.

Your summer body is built in winter and there’s no time like the present to stop feeling anxious in your baggy winter trackies and get to work!

Getting started for a beginner can be quite daunting, whereas more seasoned fitness enthusiasts may simply require some guidance to go with their commitment.

Enjoyable, safe and sustainable

Deciding on what fitness modality to employ is essential to ensure that not only is your training effective, but it’s also enjoyable, safe and sustainable.

The term “functional fitness” has been bandied around the fitness environment a lot, but for a beginner, PTs can often over-complicate things using ‘fancy’ movements, when in reality there is nothing more functional than simply using your body to move naturally!

Incorporating everyday objects and mimicking normal movement patterns is “functional training” – you don’t have to do one arm headstands while balancing a kettlebell above your head to train ‘functionally’!

So be creative – use stairs for step ups, chairs or benches for dips and push ups, hang off the bars at the local park for pull ups, and use logs and rocks as heavy objects to carry or move.

Of course, training equipment, great background music, air-con and tv consoles on cardio machines is great, along with the mandatory gym selfies, post-workout smoothies or coffee to supplement your gains. But in reality, basic movements done well will give you an enormous fitness boost.

A hybrid of cardio and strength training

As a busy, time-limited person (or equipment if you’re not a gym user), the most time efficient way to maximise your training is to use a hybrid of cardio and strength training via a modality commonly referred to as High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT.

We already know that strength training gives you far more bang for your buck within a shorter time frame than just doing cardio on its own, and HIIT workouts incorporate full body strength training with cardiovascular training with impressive results.

The benefits of HIIT include:

• Improved cardiovascular health and fitness.

• Increased fat burning through post-exercise oxygen consumption (after a workout, your body continues to burn calories as it self-regulates).

• HIIT has been shown to increase hormone levels, which aids in building and maintaining lean muscle. Ladies, please don’t be afraid – HIIT training won’t substantially increase muscle mass without additional specific strength training!

It has been proven that HIIT is a highly effective method of increasing fat loss and developing lean muscle without spending hours in the gym or training space.

The combination of short, high intensity blocks of work followed by a period of recovery provide the body with a highly effective physiological jolt. Happy training!

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