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PT2: How To Train


How Often Should I Be Training?


Welcome to part two. If you haven't checked out part 1...what the hell are you doing here!? Joking...you're obviously more than welcome. It's just a bit weird, like starting a film half way through, but whatever floats your boat. If you do want to go back to where it all began, hit here. If not...carry on you beautiful nutter.


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In the last blog, I explored what the difference is between 'working out' and 'training.' Turns out, it's having a plan that sets these two apart. Training is designed specifically for those individuals looking to hit a certain goal, whether that be weight loss, strength gains, endurance or speed. Working out is keeping our general health ticking over in a less structured way.


But what I want to know now is how often I should be training based on certain goals. Does it matter? Let's dig in...



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The General Advice


According to the NHS, all adults should aim to:

  • do strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on at least 2 days a week

  • do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week

  • spread exercise evenly over 4 to 5 days a week, or every day

  • reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity

If you are looking to exercise for your general health, mental wellbeing and to keep our hearts working wonderfully, this is a good guide. If you have a pretty sedentary job, its super important to be doing some kind of exercise every day. Our bodies need using or they get a bit sad and grumpy and start playing up. Don't do that to your body. Keep it oiled and moving.


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(Not what I mean't but sure)


How often should I train for weight loss?


If you are wanting to lose weight, you've got to be training in a sustainable way, something that is manageable. If you don't make it sustainable, you'll fall off the wagon and when you stop training, because it's physically impossible to workout at an extreme rate forever, the weight will pile back on.


So a good idea would be to do 3-4 days of exercise, using a mix of strength and cardio. Cardio burns more cals initially, but weight training builds muscle which will lead to burning more cals in the long term. Both together...winner winner chicken dinner.


How often should I be training to increasing my strength?


To get stronger, you're obviously going to need to be doing strength training. So ease off the cardio a little and focus on 3-4 strength days. This is why our group coaching is a classic 3days. We smart.


Make sure you are training all the muscle groups, up the weight every 1-2weeks and incorporate low impact cardio like walking, cycling or swimming. Basically tooooooo much high intensity cardio will slow down the repair and recovery of your muscles, and this is what they need to get stronger!


But to nit pick, is there a difference in the amount of training between building muscle size (hypertrophy) and improving muscle strength? Not really, its more down to how you train.


Let's take an example.


Janet & Ethan love strength training together. Janet wants to be able to lift heavier but Ethan wants to "bulk up", can they do the same training programme?


a) Of course

b) Hell no

c) Maybe a bit?


Answer: C. There's no reason they can't train together, it just might mean tweaking weight and reps. For Janet to lift heavier, she should aim for 2-6sets of up to 6reps of heavy weights (90% of max weight) whereas Ethan would aim for roughly 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps (around 70-80% of max weight.)


So it's about getting a smart and specific training plan for YOU. If you need guidance, get a PT.



How often should I train to prep for a race?


The training programme will depend on your race or competition but let's take the classic marathon. You're going to need endurance and to improve that, you'll need to be running 3-4days a week, increasing distance each time, with rest or cross training* in between.


*Cross training is used to rest a certain muscle group or exercise but still working on improving other muscle groups or skill ie: in running a marathon, a good cross training exercise could be cycling, as it still helps to work on that endurance.

But what if you're working on improving your speed? Interval runs where you run for a set distance or time, walk or slow jog for a short interval, and repeat. You should also be doing some cross training with strength to increase power in your legs and ultimately help reduce risk of injury. A good ratio would be 3 cardio days to 2 strength days.


Whatever race or competition you are preparing for, you will need a training plan. Wing it if you want, but don't expect much.



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Active recovering and rest?


Whatever your goal, you need rest days. This doesn't mean lying down doing nothing. In fact this can make you feel stiff, sore and even slow down muscle repair. So instead, get smart with active recovery. This can be anything from walking, stretching, yoga, steady swimming...something low impact. The benefits are that it increased that blood flow around your body, getting blood to those healing muscles.


You can 'over exercise' and get fatigued. Then, you're not going to be able to do the training. You may injury yourself, get bored and there's no way you can put 100% in every day so you might just stop making progress at all. I'll say it again....Make. It. Sustainable.




A Word On Diet

I've focused solely on exercise here but whatever your training plan, you will need a diet plan to compliment. Diet is SO IMPORTANT. In fact, it's so important, I may even dedicate a whole blog on it.....introducing PT 3: Training Smart


Stay sassy people, see you next week.....


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