Advanced Exercise – Taking Your Fitness Techniques to the Next Level
Taking Your Fitness Techniques to the Next Level
by Paul Bedford
If you’ve been following a fitness plan, at some point you are going to want to mix it up and move on to the next level. You should now be reaping the beneﬁts of your change in lifestyle. The results of your hard work should be showing and, perhaps, it’s now time to push yourself a little harder and aim for new goals.
CHANGE THE ROUTINE
Your body becomes used to familiar training and, if you continue to train the same exercises for the same period of time, you will struggle to progress any further. Mix up your training using diﬀerent styles such as circuits, super-sets, drop-sets, intervals and many more (see your instructor or use the internet to research these styles further). This will shock your body and give a bit of fun and variety back in to your workouts. You’ll soon be aching like the good old days.
PUSH ON TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Yes, all the stars have them and, of course, they’re not aﬀordable for everyone but personal trainers are a sure-ﬁre way to motivate you towards the next level. You’ve probably seen them at your local gym terrorising other members. But don’t be scared – they will push you to places you haven’t been before and the beneﬁts can be huge. If you ever feel that motivation ﬂagging a PT is well worth considering.
10k? IRON MAN? MR. UNIVERSE?
You should now be much ﬁtter so why not reset your goals and try something new? There are plenty of local 10km runs from around £15 and there’s a whole lot of satisfaction in completing a course, especially if you’re doing it for charity. Why not be even more daring and enter an iron man/ woman or triathlon to really test your physical state. You’ll never know unless you try!
DIET AND SUPPLEMENTS
We’ve learned that a healthy diet goes hand in glove with a ﬁtter lifestyle. Remember, our bodies work like engines and need fuel in order to function. The more you train, the more you need to eat. If you’re pumping iron and looking to develop muscle then you need to increase your protein intake so your muscles can grow. Protein shakes are a good way of hitting your daily protein-required intake. Get advice from your local gym about the best ones for your routine. If, however, you’re looking to increase your training on a more cardiovascular level then you’ll need to up the carb intake. You’ll get tired quick without them! Isotonic drinks have fast-releasing carbs and electrolytes which are lost during training which should give you a welcome boost.
Take plenty of recovery time from your workouts to avoid injury but don’t forget the most important part of your new, healthier lifestyle: You must enjoy it! Don’t become a slave to the gym. You’ve done the hard part physically and now it’s time to treat that new body and mind! Get out on the town! A good balance of physical and mental happiness is,ultimately, the perfect route to a better lifestyle.
Are sports drinks really any better than plain old water for your workouts?
Peter S, Sheﬃeld
In short, yes – but only marginally. It’s a well-researched area (I actually did a study on this for my dissertation at university) and it has been proved that sports drinks have a more positive eﬀect than water on the body during exercise. Most sports drinks contain sugars and electrolytes that are lost through exercise – water doesn’t contain them. These help your body maintain its natural balance for longer and, thus, keep you active for longer.
I play rugby and I am in really good shape. I’ve a pretty good six-pack and 10% body fat. But my body mass index classes me as morbidly obese! I don’t get it?
Gary Simms, Ilkley
In your situation BMI is not the best measurement to use. BMI is a measurement of your height-to-weight ratio and, I’m guessing, if you play rugby you’ll be carrying a lot of muscle and be a heavy guy. Don’t worry – stick to the body fat reading and you won’t be far wrong.
I’m ﬁt but inﬂexible. What’s the best way to go about improving my ﬂexibility?
Miss D, via email
A major problem with many people who come to the gym is that they don’t stretch before or after exercise. Stretching your muscles past their comfort zone helps to expand them and increases ﬂexibility. Yoga, Pilates and Body Balance are all great methods to assist with this too.