How Much, How Often?

Most people aren't gluttons for punishment and prefer not to dedicate the necessary amount of time to create serious bodily changes. In fact, most people also want to do the bare minimum and yield the most results. Unfortunately for these types, that isn't how the body works. Our body's respond to stress. The more we apply the more it will adapt, but if we apply too much stress the body can fail. Over-usage injuries such as stress fractures and tendonitis are the most common, but major joint injuries can also occur due to too much progressive overload. So how much time should we dedicate to see solid results? That number you should aim for is 10 hours per week of fitness related activity. That's right, 10 hours! This may sound very unrealistic, but if we break it into days, we are looking at less than 1.5 hours per day. Here is how you can split up your fitness schedule to make that 600 minutes per week easily attainable.

1. Get your cardio in every day! Mix it up so that it doesn't become boring and redundant. Try something like an easy Fartlek workout on Monday, 15-20 minutes of Stair Climber on Tuesday, a 45 minute Spin Class on Wednesday, Track or Treadmill intervals for 30 minutes on Thursday, an easy jog or bike ride for 60 minutes on Friday, and a  hike or trail run on Saturday.

This should total about 3.5-5 hours of your fitness for the week. The more weight you are looking to lose, the more cardio you should be putting in. Also, adding cardio DOES NOT mean taking time off from your other fitness activities.

2. Make your resistance training short and sweet but also very intense. I suggest at least 3 "hard" workouts per week. Hard is obviously a relative term but and good indicator of a "hard" workout is at the end of 30-40 minutes you have only taken a total of 5 minutes of combined rest time. These fast-paced workouts will boost your metabolism while also increasing the bodies ability to recover.  Do your hard resistance workouts on days that are easier cardio days. You can also combine cardio and resistance into circuits to save time.

Interval workouts and Fartleks are great cardio workouts to mix resistance training and cut down on the amount of time spent in the gym.

3. The most common workout to skip is probably the most important to hit, our corrective exercises. We all make it to the gym for our favorite grueling HIIT class, but most people usually just squeeze a couple corrective exercises in at the end of their workout. While I would never say thats a bad thing, it is much less effective to do 2 exercises than it is to do 2 sessions of correctives. Allowing yourself to focus on what ever muscle imbalances you may have, or joints with a lack in range of motion helps prevent injury and will increase efficiency in the body mechanics.

4. Lastly, the therapeutic aspect of your fitness must be addressed, stretching and myofascial release. I have never told a single person that they foam roll too much. It doesn't matter where or when, but daily stretching and massage will help your body wake up easier. Stiffness and tightness can be mistaken for soreness and lead to skipping your daily fitness fix. 20 minutes per day is all you need. This can even be broke into two 10 minute sessions at the beginning and end of the day. If you really don't like to do it, ask your trainer if they offer stretching sessions. We saw a huge increase in the amount of activity our members were engaging in after the started signing up for 1-2 stretch sessions per week. We also saw a huge decline in the number of complaints about lower back pain, shoulder impingement syndrome, and knee soreness. 

By splitting up our fitness into daily goals we can manage our time better and get great results without risking injury or burn-out. Don't expect to hit 10 hours every week, but make it a goal. Some weeks you will do much more and some weeks you might come up a bit short, but sticking to this goal will create healthy habits. Good luck!

Setting Personal Records on the Reg

During the month of August, Lisa and I have chosen to work on ourselves from the inside out. We started by creating goals then we created a plan to achieve it. Our plan includes a list of potential obstacles and/or challenges we expect to encounter along the way. Then we developed a plan to tackle these issues when they arise. The goals we set follow the traditional S.M.A.R.T. goal format. I am looking to achieve a new P.R. at the Long Beach Half Marathon in October. This goal follows the S.M.A.R.T. format because it is:

Specific

Measureable

Attainable

Realistic

Timely

 

 Martin F. started with a vague goal, we talked and came up with a S.M.A.R.T. goal. Now he is on his second short-term goal and has set a new long-term goal; running the Long Beach Half Marathon. 

Martin F. started with a vague goal, we talked and came up with a S.M.A.R.T. goal. Now he is on his second short-term goal and has set a new long-term goal; running the Long Beach Half Marathon. 

S.M.A.R.T. goals have been used for a long time by businesses to help asses employees and to drive productivity. These 5 characteristics of a goal allow us to pass judgment on our ability to achieve the goal whether we do or don't. The S.M.A.R.T. goal must have an empirical value, a number. Your final goal might not be a S.M.A.R.T. goal, it might be vague in nature. One of the most common goals I hear as a trainer is "to lose weight." Another one is to be stronger or more fit. These are great goals, but the problem is that they aren't measurable nor specific. These goals need a number value, like losing 20 pounds, running a sub-6:00 mile, or dead lifting 300 lbs. Only then can we make a proper goal achievement plan.

 

  When I have a client who wants to lose 40+ pounds, I will break their goal into more compact short-term goals, like losing 15 pounds

 

Goals shouldn't be overly ambitious or lengthy, otherwise they can lead to failure or can be unrewarding because they take too long to achieve. When I have a client who wants to lose 40+ pounds, I will break their goal into more compact short-term goals, like losing 15 pounds. These are more manageable because they have less obstacles, simply due to the shorter amount of time it will take to achieve said goal. Also, short-term goals allow us to create evaluations that will help designing our goal-achievement plans or making adjustments.

 Ken has been one of my most dedicated clients ever. While his goal might be quite zealous, Ken always sets an achievement plan, stays focused day by day, and always achieves.                                @Glide_tc  

Ken has been one of my most dedicated clients ever. While his goal might be quite zealous, Ken always sets an achievement plan, stays focused day by day, and always achieves.          

                   @Glide_tc 

My last tip about goal-attaining is to stay focused and persistent. All achievements, especially in fitness and in health, take time and effort. Don't expect that because you make all these changes to your lifestyle that you will change immediately. Specifically, the physical changes take time to become visible. That is because the psychological change must be made first. Once you have a made up your mind on a goal you want to achieve, make a goal-achievement plan, assess the plan, then execute the plan.