GOLDEN RULE #1: 30-a-day
So in no set order… here’s numero uno of my Golden Rules.
Get your 30-a-day. By that I mean 30 mins of exercise, and whatever type it is, the intensity needs to be high to make those 30 minutes count. Aiming for 5 days a week, with rest days in between. To improve our health… whether that means increasing our fitness, or stripping fat, three days of training a week is the minimum amount of training we need to be doing, on a consistent basis. Any less, and it’s just not enough work to force the body to adapt.
By all means… train for longer, once you’ve got the lycra on and your heart rate is raised, then its easier to be inspired to carry on, but if we start with the attitude of doing 30 minutes, its easier to structure into our day and therefore commit to it.
If you’re going to stick to the 30 minutes time frame, the“must” factor, is high intensity. The time frame is short, so it means as little rest, and as much oomph as possible… whether this means lifting weights, circuit training, intervals or a fast run.
Intense exercise forces our bodies to adapt to be fitter, stronger, so rest is important too. Rest time is when we recover and these adaptations happen. I’m calling this 30-a-day, because although I may be training 5 days a week, the two rest days are planned and organised, and equally as important as the training itself.
The ultimate time frame for muscles to recover is 48 hours, so we need to ensure that we are not training the same muscle groups two days in a row. Think upper body one day, lower the next… or anterior muscles day one, followed by posterior muscles day two.
Circuit training is a slightly different matter, as we tend to recruit lots more muscle groups, and so the intensity in the muscle is not quite the same (even though its a high intensity workout). We can still plan circuits to be upper or lower body dominant to enable more recovery. Either way, it’s not a bad idea to make the third day a cardio day with no resistance work… running, cycling, incline power walking, swimming…
Phew… I hope I’ve cleared that up… The big “take-away” is that it does not matter how fit we are, making the time for the 30-a-day is all that matters, and whether your a super-fit-gym-bunny or a fitness-virgin as long as we train to the highest intensity that we can sustain for 30 mins… we’re gonna make a difference.