If you google “Get fit quick programme” you are served up 382,000,000 articles in less than a second. There is information everywhere! One programme says it’s all about weight training, another about cardio, the third HIIT not to mention all the advice on nutrition, sleep, times to exercise… arrggghhhh, which one is right?
In a bid to try and make your life and your lifestyle as simple as possible we’ve pulled together all the essential elements you will need to create a good, well rounded fitness programme that will deliver results and outcomes that will keep you fit, healthy and happy.
In 2018, the American College of Sports Medicine rated HIIT the #1 fitness trend across the globe. HIIT is based on working as hard as you can during short periods with the goal to exercise at 80 to 90 percent of your “estimated maximal heart rate,” using recovery periods to perform at about 40 to 50 percent. The duration of the workout is also short and sharp – anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, is advised.
It’s recommended that for maximum results you do high intensity interval training three times per week. Programmes such as Les Mills GRIT are great a leading you through HIIT workouts as there is a coach with you at all times advising, motivating and guiding you through the work out. Working with a PT can also be beneficial as they can give you specific HIIT exercises and routines to help you achieve your goals as quickly as possible.
Science and research doesn’t say that you should ditch all other forms of exercise though. Cardiovascular training or CV training is a great way to keep you fit and healthy and is a great way to ensure your heart is healthy too. A consistent cardio routine is a great way to ensure you can carry out daily activities such as climbing a few flights of stairs, running for the bus (if you need to) or just keeping up with the kids! Cardio or CV training can also help to prevent different types of cardiovascular diseases and other chronic illness. Great CV exercises include brisk walking, swimming or cycling. If you can look to achieve these each day for at least 30 minutes it will really help boost fitness levels in no time at all. Again there are a number of group fitness classes which are great at getting your heart rate up and fitness levels high – Les Mills BodyAttack, indoor cycling and running groups are great places to start if you want to get fit quick! The instructor and other members of the class or group provide ongoing direction, support, motivation and encouragement. You’re also more likely to stick to an exercise programme if you’re surrounded by other like-minded people, all working towards a similar goal.
Strength training also known as resistance training has received a great deal of positive press of late due to the great results it can achieve for people of all ages and abilities. Weight training puts external stress on your muscles and joints, which in turn increases bone density (which is great for later life in preventing the onset of osteoporosis) and builds lean muscle mass.
What’s so great about strength training, especially if you’re looking to slim down and tone up, is that the lean muscle mass it builds increases metabolism both when you’re working out but more importantly when you’re resting.
Training your body to be stronger will enable you to perform daily movements far easier too, whether it’s carrying the shopping in from the car or pushing the sofa to one side to hoover, you will find daily activities easier. It’s also been reported, those who strength train on a regular basis feel stronger and more confident.
Body-weight exercises are a great place to start (squats, press ups etc) and then progress to external weight loaded resistance training using equipment such as dumbbells, barbells or kettlebells. If you are a strength training or exercise newbie always seek advice first and speak to a qualified fitness professional for help and support when working with weights. For maximum results aim for a programme that works the large muscle groups such as legs and back and focus on multi-joint movements such as squats. These movements are generally more functional and present the highest metabolic demand on your body. It’s recommended to perform in the region of eight to 10 different strength-training exercises, two or three times each week.
Flexibility or mobility training is often a form of training which can be overlooked for people who want to get fit quick but this is believed to be an important component of creating a lifelong fitness programme.
Poor posture and often pain can be the result of poor mobility, which in turn can affect the ability to perform even the simplest of tasks such as standing with ease after sitting. If you recognise mobility is an area you need to improve look at starting a good quality stretching routine, which you would do at least two or three times per week, although if you can do it each day you will certainly see and feel the benefits.
These types of mobility and stretching programmes don’t need to be a chore. Classes such as yoga, pilates and Les Mills BodyBalance are great at motivating you and allowing a qualified professional to demonstrate and lead through some great and effective stretches. Whilst attending these classes and doing your stretches it’s likely you will notice the stress-busting benefits of these activities too and you will also start to feel calmer and more centred.
Although many of us do want to get fit quick, the key to a healthy and happy lifestyle is continuity. We would advise you exercise and keep active on an ongoing basis. Just remember to mix up your training and change your programme and plan regularly, this will not only prevent boredom but it will ensure your muscles and body doesn’t become complacent.
If you find a class or a style of training you really enjoy you’re more likely to commit to it so try out a good range of classes and training styles. If you’re worried or uncertain of where to begin, work with a personal trainer. They are there to ensure you understand what and why you’re doing each exercise, they will ensure great technique but most importantly will give you the confidence and support to keep going.