Training and operating in your best self is a delicate balance that is often hard to get right. We are often training too hard or not hard enough, we are extremely critical of ourselves or not real enough with ourselves and the list goes on and on. We often believe that in order to be the best we can be, we have to be hitting the same maximal level every single day in all facets of our life. This is often not the case. More importantly is that when we are feeling good and up to it, we maximise our results and efficiency, and the times we feel flat and sedentary, that we accept this is normal but not to let it destroy our momentum for what we are striving for, the best version of yourself.
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In terms of our fitness training, this is massively important. You’ll have up days and down days, but it’s always important to tackle strength, power and recovery movements in your routine so to maximise energy expenditure when you’re high, but also when you’re low!!!
The best strength and power movements you can include are
A massive movement that forces the whole body to switch on when performed correctly.
This movement obviously helps up become stronger and more powerful in the gym, but on a functional strength level, it is hugely beneficial, assisting us in ‘picking things up’ in day to day life.
The deadlift, whether conventional or sumo, works your core, strengthens your posture and spine and improves power, strength and activation through your legs and glutes.
Depending on ability and fitness level, hit the deadlift 1-2x week and be sure to manage the load correctly with the assistance of a professional.
The squats, like the deadlift, are huge for strength and a solid whole body workout. This process of loading up your body with weight, sitting down and standing back up, is a fundamental aspect to living and occurs on a daily basis whether we’re actively training or not. Like the deadlift, our core is worked and our posture is strengthened, while our quads, hamstrings and glutes get pumped so it’s easy to see why the squats and a range of variations should be included in your training program.
Depending on your experience, intensity and volume chosen in your program, your squat days over the course of the week can vary greatly. You can squat 3x a week if you’re experienced or as little as 1x week and still get good results. Play with different weights, different rep ranges, forms and techniques to get the most out of your body and your squats!!
Box jumps / Broad jumps
I’m putting these two movements together because they are both incredible metabolic blasters in your training. They both work your legs and entire body with the energy demands required for a completed rep and the form is very similar for both. The main difference between the two motions is the box jump is testing and improving your explosive power in a vertical plane, while the broad jump is improving your explosive power in a horizontal movement.
These movements can improve your athletic power such as sprint speed and endurance due to the lower body involvement but can also dramatically improve your cardiovascular health and endurance.
When we’re feeling mentally fatigued and can’t stomach a hugely taxing strength or conditioning workout, it’s important to mitigate this with a proper recovery day plan. We can still exercise, but it’s important to listen to our body and factor our fatigue in with how we want to train. For some, it may include a different workout type, such as more cardio or a circuit style session. For others, it may involve focussing on technique and form overpower or strength in order to continue moving forward but to not switch off. We can utilise supersets and ‘cheat’ movements to assist us in getting the workout completed while also allowing our body to recover from the week that was. A great example of a ‘cheat’ movement is a ‘burpee to pullup’. This is completed where we do a full burpee, explode into a jump and pull yourself up on horizontal bars in the process. We use the power from the burpee to essentially pull ourselves into a pull-up position, opposed to what we’d do in a strict pullup.
One method I enjoy programming is a simple 30min cardio session, with a 1:1 ratio of effort to rest timing. Where your heart rate will climb high during the effort portion, and it will drop rapidly during the rest portion. This tactic facilitates recovery and recuperation without thinking too much but also improves your endurance and cardiovascular health. This can be varied for rowing, running, cycling etc.
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