Many people would have made a commitment to make some progress in 2019 around their exercise goals. With the New Year drive behind us, now what?? Here are some things to be aware of if 2019 will be the year that you change your exercise habits.
Exercise vs Movement – Exercise always gets the attention with goals and movement gets forgotten about. In a world of step counters on phones, Fit Bits and Apple Watches it has never been easier to track movement. Most people would benefit from getting their base movement up, especially if trying to change body shape. A large percentage of people average less than 4000 steps a day. If you were to double this or take it 10 000 steps a day by this time next year that would have a significant impact on your body and health.
Motivations To Exercise – Why are you looking to exercise more in 2019? This is important because there are so many forms of exercise available depending on your goal, the major reasons to do exercises are below with some key points to note –
Lose Weight – Exercise is third on the priority list if you are trying to lose weight, the base is nutrition followed by general movement with exercise on final important element. There are so many exercise possibilities if weight loss is your goal you are spoiled for choice. A key thing to understand is there is no set exercise you “have” to do to be able to lose weight therefore do not get caught up on any particular fitness you do not enjoy, just pick something else.
Tone Up / Gain Muscle – Most people’s goals to tone happen through simply losing body fat. For those who want to gain actually muscle they will need to do some form of resistance exercise. This will usually involves weight lifting of sorts but various forms exist from body pump classes to pole dance or bar calisthenics.
Health Reasons – To get the health benefits of exercise there is again a variety of options to use for fitness related benefits and more directed exercise forms for weight lifting related positive changes. The key thing to know for this area is you do not need to push yourself that hard to get the health benefits. The stimulus (if progressed over time) is enough and that extra push / burn / hard work is not actually needed if health is your main objective.
Feeling Good / Mental Well being – When feeling good or mental well being is the focus of exercise almost any form of movement will give you these rewards. The key would be to move every day in some way. The more variety the better but just move daily.
Sports / Fitness Challenges – If training for a sport or specific fitness challenge it adds motivation and focus to your efforts. In general your sport or challenge will dictate which form of exercise you need to select for your training plan. The key to success in this area is exercise consistency over particular focus on exercise effort, e.g. better to run using a moderate effort level 3 times a week for 6 months to train for a marathon than train a like lunatic with your running only to be inconsistent and pick up injuries.
Exercising Vs Behaviour Building
Too often people look to follow some super plan of action with hardcore sessions in it when they start training. This is great if evaluating your progress week by week. However, it is not so good if you are focusing on building behaviours, which is the more important long term evaluation of exercise. To develop the behaviour it is about how many times you start the exercise not how well you do during it. It can take from 20 – 70 repetitions to really ingrain a behaviour. In this context it would be better to do four short 5 minute runs than a 1 hour long jog per week in the first few months of exercising. If you have not been consistent with your exercise over the last year then behaviour building should be your goal. If you are a exercise regular then you should look to use higher level performance exercise techniques.
Developing The Cross Section Of Exercise Behaviours
If Behaviour building is the goal you need to focus not just on getting exercise done but really coming at it from the cross section of situations in which you need to be able to do exercise. The ideal behaviour cross section would include –
-Exercising Alone – You are happy, confident and know how to train alone.
-Group Training – You have access, enjoy and confident to exercise around other people
-Early Training – You can motivate yourself to exercise early in the morning
-Late Training – You can motivate yourself to exercise late in the day
-Short&Long Sessions – You know how to and happy to do short (10 mins) to longer sessions
-Easy & Hard Sessions – You are comfortable doing a easy session or a challenging one
If you focus on developing these then by the end of 2019 you will be completely transformed. It would mean you are happy training alone and like group sessions, you can train at any time from super early to late and happy to go hard or just coast a easy session. This increases the odds of you doing sessions when busy, stressed, demotivated and more. IF you had this achieved by the end of 2019 it would be a life changing year of exercise. To actually train these into you simply have to do each one, train at 6am for a week, do only easy short sessions on a Tuesday for a month. Repetition is the key for developing these skills.
High Level Performance Techniques
If you are already a consistent exercise loving person the goal of 2019 has to be to take things to the next level. This will not happen from just doing more of the same or trying a bit harder. You will instead need to use higher level performance methods. Sports Science is a specific field because as someone gets to higher fitness levels you have to be much more intelligent, accurate and specific with methods you use to get to the next level. If you train regularly yet on a plateau you need to use new methods. These may include but certainly not limited to:
-Changing The Programme Focus – Most plans need to change at least every month
-Using different training methods within current sessions.
-Using 3 month progressive overload training plans
-Focusing on resolving weak / blocking points in your goal progress.
-Increasing Sessions – Some goals simply need more sessions, e.g. serious muscle gain.
To do this you need to identify what your current plan is doing, then see what more advanced people do. Another approach is to identify what are your weaknesses and focus on resolving them for the next few months. For some adding data to monitor their current level and progress can be a positive change.
Making use of experts here is very helpful, this can be from one to one sessions, online coaching, workshops, course, getting a programme designed for you and much more.
How To Use This In 2019
You have a fairly simply choice, if you have not been consistent with your exercise over the last 12 months follow a behaviour building exercise focused plan. If you have been consistent start using higher level performance methods.
Photo – Part of a Rugby Conditioning Plan I did For Northland’s Province in Fiji after which they won their first trophy for many years.
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