How to hit your fitness goals
You’ve got all the right intentions: your Virgin Active membership is in your hand, you’ve washed your gym kit and you know what you want to achieve. But, you’re finding it hard to reach your goals.
Make your favourite workouts more challenging
“Increasing weights or rep ranges to make the same exercises more challenging as you get stronger is known as ‘progressive overload’. If I do 20 x bodyweight squats for 3 sets, 3 days a week, it will just get easier for me to do squats to that same rep and set range. My body will adapt to that movement and after a period of time it will stop growing any new muscles because it’s capable of doing the movement as it is already. This is known as ‘adaption’.
“To see progress, I need to keep adjusting the reps, sets or weight of that exercise in order to keep challenging my body and muscles. So week 1 + 2 could be 20 reps for 3 sets, week 3 + 4 could be 25 reps for 3 sets, week 5 + 6 could be 30 reps for 3 sets, or even 25 reps for 4 sets. You could then look to add weight.
“In short, the problem is not repetition of workouts; it’s the repetition of the same reps, sets or weights in a workout.”
Match your food with your fitness routine
“Everyone has a base level of calories needed for your body to function while resting. This is called your ‘Basal Metabolic Rate’. When you add any movement to that, you need to add more calories. If you move a lot but don’t eat enough calories, you won’t have enough energy to power the rest of your body. As a result, your other systems, including your immune system and muscular system will suffer. If you ever wonder why you’re feeling lethargic and lack energy for training sessions, this is usually the reason.”
“Understanding your total daily energy expenditure and eating a well-rounded diet of protein, carbs and fats to fuel the activity you are doing will make your workouts much more fun! There are a number of online BMR calculators which will give you a good figure to work from. Just remember that as you lose weight, gain weight and change your activity levels, this figure will keep changing.”
Mix up your training
“Runners need weight training (or some form of resistance training) to ensure that their body can manage the impact that goes through the body when their feet hit the pavement (or treadmill).”
Building and training different muscles will help to protect your joints and bones. You might even find that you can run faster or for longer once you add strength training into your routine.
Get enough rest
- Reduced stress
- Better concentration
- Reduced risk of serious health conditions
- Improved mental health
“Rest is hugely important to ensure that your body and brain function efficiently. 7-8 hours a night is the goal. Anything less than this and you risk developing issues with a number of systems, your immune system, your respiratory system, your digestive system and one big one being your endocrine system, which is responsible for hormone production.
“If you’re training more frequently but sleeping badly, this could be the reason you are sore more, don’t have as much energy and therefore struggling to achieve more through your training.”
Prioritise your workouts
“Prioritise time for yourself every day to move, especially if you have a job where you spend a lot of time sitting down. This isn’t about having a high intensity workout every day, this is about prioritising movement and making it a habit, for your brain as much as your body.”