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Principles of Training

It is that time of year when people start thinking of getting in shape for the summer. Most people have a particular goal in mind whether it is to increase aerobic fitness, increase endurance, increase strength or lose weight. What people don’t know is to target these specific areas you need to train at particular levels of intensity or weight. This is a general guide as to how to go about achieving your goals.

First thing we need to do is establish a few measurements. Your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) is the maximum number of beats per minute your heart should reach while exercising. MHR is roughly 220 minus your age (if you are 20 years old then 220-20=200 therefore your MHR is 200). To find your Resting Heart Rate find a pulse and time 6 seconds, count how many beats there was and multiply it by 10, normal is around 70 beats per minute.

Next is your One Rep Max (1RM) this can be assessed in the gym, it is the maximum weight you can lift during an exercise doing only one repetition for that exercise. These Measurements are important because we will need to work off them when targeting specific training types.

Weight loss and fat burning is known as Body Conditioning Training. Anyone looking to slim down and decrease their waist size this is the training for you. This type of training can be a mix of cardio and local muscular endurance exercises (light resistance training). The secret to Body Composition Training is L.S.D. (long, slow, duration training and not the drug!). It should be performed at 55-65% of our MHR (our 20 year old with a MHR of 200 should therefore be training at around 110-130 beats per minute) training should last from 20-60mins long about 3-5 times per week.

Increased Cardiovascular Endurance is achieved by training at 60-85% of your MHR for a minimum of 20minutes and 3-5 times per week. (Our 20 year old with a MHR of 200 should therefore be training in between 120-170 beats per minute). The benefit of this type of training is increased oxygen intake/lung capacity to allow you to train or compete more efficiently for longer.

Strength/Power training is performed at 70%-80% of your 1RM for beginners/intermediate and 80%-100% for advanced. If your bench press 1RM is 100kg then to target strength training you need to be lifting around 70-80kg for a beginner at higher reps around 6-10. Advanced can lift heavier around 80kg-100kg at lower reps 1-6. Sets can vary depending on your experience level a beginner may start at 1 set and progress to 3 where an advanced lifter may do 4+ sets. As many as 4-6 sessions per week can be done using a split routine which is alternating between upper body and lower body which allows your body to recover.

Hypertrophy comes from the Greek word for excess nourishment. It is the increase in the volume of an organ or tissue due to the enlargement of its component cells. This is what every man dreams of and every girl fears. Guys go to the gym to get bigger and girls go to lose weight. Often women are afraid to lift weights because they believe they will get bulky. So let me dispel any myths about bulking up: If you want to get big you have to lift big and lift a lot, muscle adapts to load so if you lift heavy weights your muscle has to adapt by growing in order to cope with the stress you put it under.

Lifting weights is also one of the most effective ways to tone muscle, burn calories and therefore increase weight loss. Your body ceases to burn those excess calories after a cardio session, however resistance training (weight training) continues to burn calories even after you finish your training session. The reason for this is when you do weight training it damages your muscles. This damage is crucial to muscle growth and strength increases. Your body repairs these tears after training has stopped and this process continues to burn more calories while the muscle repairs itself making it more effective form of training for weight loss compared to cardiovascular training. A combination of the two is recommended as seen in Body Conditioning.

Hypertrophy training is performed by lifting 70%-80% of your 1RM. The difference between this and strength training is the number of repetitions. Hypertrophy requires high reps 10-12 in order to stress the muscle and cause adaptation. Research shows that 3-6 sets per exercise are the most effective number for muscle bulking.

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