How to train the rest of your life without getting bored or injured
Consistency is king in the world of exercise. If you want to be fit for your holiday, feel fantastic or shed some weight then training regularly and often is key. Keep reading for tips on how to train hard while staying fresh and reducing your risk of injury.
Ok exercise boy, why's consistency so crucial?
Here's the deal. It's called the overload Principle. In order to stimulate change to your muscles, heart, lungs you need to regularly overload these systems with exercise. Do only a handful of crunches and a wall sit the night before your ski holiday and chances are it will be day 3 of the trip before you start to feel strong. Crunch and wall sit 3 times per week for the 3 month period before the ski week and you'll be hitting the slopes running .. errmmm I mean sliding... ahh you know what I mean.
I've trained 4 days a week with the same routine, like forever so I'm golden right?
To exercise often you gotta love training. Well no but it can't be a chore either and banging out the same ol' routine is a one way ticket to Tedium City and who the hell wants to go there on a regular basis. Even if you've the mental strength to tough out that trip numerous times chances are your body's gonna pick up a repetitive injury of some sort. Ever suffered from shin splints or tennis elbow? Those little niggles will blow consistency out of the water.
Woah there clever clogs! Consistency is key for results but injury is a byproduct of consistent training which will ruin my consistency. Your an idiot.
REPETITIVE training is the enemy. Hats off to those that exercise 3 or more times per week, just don't let yourselves train the same routine for more than 12 weeks.
You promised some practical tips.
Tweak the frequency with which you exercise. If you've been training pretty damn hard for 12 weeks then chances are your body and mind could do with a break. It's not a mortal sin to reduce the number of days you exercise or to even... dare I say it.... lay of your routine entirely for a week. Chances are you'll come back stronger and more hungry to train.
Adapt the intensity of your exercise. If you love your routine and want to keep it then this is the easiest change to make. For example; If resistance training is part of your routine then for a week try lifting heavier weights but for fewer repetitions. If running is your thing then maybe for a short time swap out the 5km jog for short sharp interval sprints.
You can reduce or increase the time you spend on each exercise. Perhaps you're a triathlete. Try reducing time spent on the bike and replace it with more practice time in the pool. You'll continue to train for your sport but you'll have given your body a break by shifting the training emphasis from legs to upper body.
And my favorite... change the type of exercise you do. You can still train to be fit for your sport/ passion, you just need to be a little creative. For instance you might want to be fitter for rugby. It's a stop start kinda game. All out effort followed by rest followed by all out effort. Much like a gym circuit class.
And anyhow, most of us aren't training for anything in particular other than we like doing stuff. That might be a sport or hobby, could be it just makes us feel great and we want to be as good or feel as healthy as can be. So for many of us it doesn't matter so much how we train because it's the act of training that's key. Go for a walk rather than a long bike ride, go to the gym rather than hitting the pool. Do something that will give your mind and body a different stimulus even if it's just for one day only.
So share this post with a training partner that's injury prone or just bored and please, leave a comment, would love to hear your stories.