Sunday, 26 July 2015

How Many Reps and Sets

It can be confusing to start planning your workout sessions and that is why we often get stuck doing the same workout and not improving; in fact if we go on so long with out change we develop an imbalance in our muscles and this can cause a weakness and finally an injury.

It is always good to keep a log of your training over the years to see if you have got stuck in a rut. One way of keeping a record is your hours per week or miles covered. Heart rate zones and power meters but it's not so easy to look at your workouts and training plans and decide how much of each thing should I be doing?

We need to think about our goals, from basic fitness to races or muscle development, so here I have made a very simple outline to help you think about what sort of intensity, duration and of course sets and reps. Now the gym bros out there might advise you differently but what we have here is a guideline that can be used to adapt to your own needs.

Muscle action

Training plans 7 to 10 days
Recovery days from 1 day to two weeks depending age and activities. The more intense the activity the more recovery  will be needed.  The older we get also means that we may need more recovery days and less workouts back-to-back so we may want to plan sessions over ten days rather than seven.*

Strength, 1-3 days per week – core, upper, lower body
Speed and Power, 1-2 days per week, heart rate zones 4/5
Base fitness or distance training, 2-4 days per week, heart rate zone 2/3
*Recovery days, zone 1, active rest.

The combinations depends on your chosen sport for example training for a half marathon will have more distance training than strength days.

Cycling the plan over three week build of either intensity or duration then week four is a recovery week with lighter sessions allowing the super-compensation (muscle rebuild and fatigue to reduce) required to continue the next month. 

I hope this will give you something to think about with your training when you are looking at the calender. I have a training log that I use with clients that helps us develop these areas that often change as the weeks go by, sometimes there is a set-back and other times we have to switch focus to a weak area so these plans should never be fully set in stone. 

If you are interested in getting better control of your training plan then send me an email and we can have a look at what is the right steps for you. 

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Lights OUT Night Hiking

Hi all, as you know I am a big fan of an active lifestyle and always trying to think of new things to do.
Here in the the south east of Spain in July it is almost 40º in the day so outdoor activities other and the pool or the beach are limited. Bit like the UK in the winter. So I put together a Night hike.

I got inspired by an area while out on the mountain bike in Gebas and the reservoir and thought this would be a great place to come at full moon to see the reflection. There is a marked PR and we could do a circular walk, distance of about 14km so with a snack about 3.5hours.

With an international group, French, English, Spanish, Colombian it was good fun, English was the common language and off we set at about 8pm. Full moon was the night before at 10.30 so with about 7km walk out and a stop for dinner stack we should start to see the moon come up.

Conversation was in full swing only on a few climbs did  the pace of talking start matching the walking.

we weren't alone thou it might look like it

The sun was starting to set and we would make it to the waterside to have a rest and watch the night. Unfortunately my planning was a little off; I hadn't calculated the 45 minute change per night before and after the full moon. The actual moon-rise time would be almost an hour later. So after our dinner we had to head back by torch light rather than moon.

This was actually very useful for night navigation as there were no clouds we could easily see the Big Dipper. And then behind us part of the way back there were shouts of joy as the moon quietly came up to show a hazy orange face. :))

Thank you all for coming out on a warm evening and doing something different.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Fitness Training Behind the Sceens

I thought it would be fun to show you what I do to prepare, how I decide what equipment and sessions, where and when the training is done.

As you know I like to use the triathlon style of training, so a typical week will have those three elements plus, resistance training in and out of the gym, stretching and also hiking.
weekly record of training, keep it simple pen and paper.

My bike element is one that is given the most focus and this year I have gone through the process of training as a Mountain Bike Instructor, this involved not only bike skills and fitness but also navigation with map and compass, learning to read the features of the land, So when there is no signpost I still know where I am.

Planning the route on the Mountain Bike Instructor course

I break the week up to include a bit of everything, using the basic three week build of either intensity or duration, then dropping the load on week 4. this way whatever my focus is, a race or just fitness then I can see at a glance if I am heading into over training. Right now I can see that my duration is down to a total of 50km per week. And that is because the weather is nearly 40º so the focus is on intensity and more gym work. This Spanish summer training would also be and UK winter training plan.

Just some of the extra reading, training books, maps.
Lets look at some of the gear that I use, Here is my home gym and as you can see I am working through a session and making combinations, Like all gym work there should be a balance, if I do a back exercise then I  should do a chest. If I focus on legs and gluts one morning then the next will be the upper body. I'm always trying new things, never staying with the same routine. Yes it is important to repeat movements to train those muscles but when your body has learnt them it's time to move onto another.
5lts of water = 5kg

adding a dice to spice up sets and reps. Plus it's good to get ideas from your peers.

Lets look at other activities, swimming is a big mind game, it's all about the feel, technique is everything so if you are not focused then you won't improve. Part of being comfortable in the water is the goggles that you have. Yesterday I was sent a message asking what brand to buy. And that got me thinking about all this, how and why. Goggles need to stop the water getting in your eyes. So you need to do the suction test, A bit like buying shoes. If they don't fit right then it doesn't matter how expensive they are. They need to stay on your face without the strap.
suction not sucky
Hiking is a nice way to slow things down, be more social and it also helps me improve my navigation skills and works other muscles, for example the abductors as we step up and over rocks and obstacles. But it also requires preparation, looking at maps, deciding the steepness up and down, the weather conditions the time it will take, food and water are just some elements that need to be organised to make the hike safe and enjoyable.
Bags, hats, maps, helmets, shorts, waterproof

So as you can see there is a non-stop list of elements that go into planing a ride, hike, swim, or gym training session. If you have any questions or comments please write below and I'll add more details.

Thanks for reading