Thursday, 18 February 2010

Flat Earth Fitness

The earth is round. Now this may not come as a big surprise, but in 240 BC when Eratosthenes first determined the Earth's circumference it was quite a big deal, even though Pythagoras had pretty much argued the point 6th Centuary BC. In fact it took a few centuries for the idea to catch on. It is now generally accepted as common sense (though I'm sure the flat earth society would have something to say about that).

I'm often asked what the best ratio of weight training verses cardiovascular training. The American College Of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recomend,

" Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week, Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week And Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week." (ACSM Guidelines fo Healthy Adults Under 65)

While these maybe useful guidelines. This is very much flat earth thinking. Now, before you start pelting me with stones, hear me out. I'd like to make this distinction, Weight Training is a training modality, cardiovascular is a definite physiological system. You can use a plane to fly, but the plane is not flight itself. Don't confuse the two.

Try this out for a example. Pick up a light to moderately heavy weight (any lift of your choice). Put it down. What do you notice happen to your breathing? Nothing much? ok, so now do this continuously for 3 to 5 minutes. What now? Starting to breath a little more heavily? hhhmmm interesting right? Now what if you structured this so that you could maintain it for 30 minutes, or even several bouts of 10 minute efforts; wouldn't that meet the ACSM guidleine for cardiovascular training? But hang on, aren't you doing weight training or a type of strength training at the same time? (you see where I am going with this right?).

If your are simply training for health benefits and time is your premium, Flat Earth Fitness might not be the best way to go about it. Infact it might take you a lot longer to see results. Once of the reasons interval training using weights is becoming so popular is exactly because if its ability to boost your metabolism, burn more calories, get your body chisled, and improve your cardiovascular system all at the same time. It's also a great benefit of Kettlebells when used effectively.

Are the ACSM guideline incorrect? of course they're not. They are a fantastic starting point. However, if you're further along the road and not seeing the results you want, do yourself a favour, give your Flat Earth Fitness training the sack. Add some dimension to it. Ok, so how do you structure your training week? The Goldie Locks principle is a great way to go. Invented by Rannoch of Kettlebells Scotland, it goes something like this;

Cold Porridge

"This session is all technique. Pure focus on perfect movement. An ego less session dedicated to hard wiring superior form. This session should leave you feeling like you can keep going, easily."

Hot Porridge

"The second session is hard. Grisly bear hard. Scalding. You will push yourself. Even if you just work two moves back to back, it will be tough. You are in the driving seat. You know it’s hard. You know that whining lizard brain will try and get you to quit before the body has had enough. You will abide. You only train at this intensity once a week, so make it count. This session should leave you happy to put the weight down and get horizontal. Look for a bed that’s “just right”."

Just Right

"The third session is about finding the sweet spot. Here you use a challenging weight/rep count but you keep gas in the tank. As soon as form breaks, stop. Catch your breath and go again. Leave a couple of reps on the table. Thirty minutes after this session you could go again. You might not want to but you could."

This is a really simple protocal, but very effective. For 'Hot Porridge' ideas check out our youtube channel, or drop us an email to find out more about general training.

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