A PT’s Guide To Getting Fit Post-Lockdown

If your exercise routine has taken a back seat in recent months, you’re not alone. But it’s never too late to get back on the treadmill – here, we asked two of London’s leading trainers to share their advice to get going again.
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Write A Plan 

“Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to improving fitness levels – make a six-week plan which is specific to you, taking into account your likes, dislikes, goals and general lifestyle. You will only improve fitness levels with steady and consistent work alongside progressive overloading over time. Aim for two or three strength sessions per week alongside one or two cardio sessions, and at least one rest day. It’s also worth separating your workouts into either strength or cardio and avoid combining the two in one session. This will mean you can better focus on the specific training goal of that session, as opposed to merely working up a sweat or burning calories for the sake of it. Structuring training in this way is the secret to improved fitness levels and better results.” – Lucie Cowan, master trainer at Third Space

Set Goals

“Avoid the temptation of jumping into a fitness regime that’s too challenging for you. Instead, work out what level you are currently at and assess whether your goals are attainable. That’s not to say you shouldn’t dream big when setting your goals, but it’s often more beneficial to set micro goals which contribute to an end goal instead of getting frustrated by not achieving bigger goals along the way. For example, if you decide the epitome of fitness is running a marathon but you’re new to running, start with a 5k, progress to 10k and set a marathon as your end goal.” – David Wiener, training specialist at Freeletics

Keep It Short & Sharp

“If you want to get fit, you need to find a form of exercise you enjoy and one that’s sustainable. In fact, nothing sabotages results like the all or nothing approach. Often, less really is more. Your sessions should leave you feeling energetic, not in an exhausted heap on the floor. Contrary to popular belief, a 20-minute cardio session often is all you need. If you want to do some weights, 45 minutes of strength training, including a ten-minute mobility warm-up beforehand is also adequate.” – Lucie 

Approach HIIT With Caution

“HIIT gets a lot of airtime as being the workout that will get you fit, but it must be combined with other forms of training if you’re serious about your fitness levels. Because HIIT is quick, easy and leaves you flooded with endorphins, it’s easy to get addicted, but overdoing HIIT and neglecting strength training puts stress on the body and can cause injury and fatigue. If you’re managing to do a HIIT session five times a week, chances are you aren’t doing it properly either, which will also jeopardise your results. To really reap the benefits of HIIT, intervals must be performed at an intensity of at least 80% of your maximum heart rate. If HIIT is your only form of exercise, chances are you’ll rarely be able to consistently hit these high intensity bursts.” – Lucie 

Aim For Intensity Rather Than Volume

“Strength training should make up a crucial part of any fitness programme. It has a huge range of physical and mental benefits including improved posture, better sleep, weight maintenance, improved metabolism and reduced inflammation. Just remember to keep your training focused and avoid lifting for hours on end – a 45-minute strength session three times per week is enough. Lift the heaviest weight you can lift, whilst maintaining good form, and if you can perform 12 to 15 repetitions and keep going, it’s time for heavier weights. If you’re pushed for time, incorporate as many compound exercises as possible – think front squats, deadlifts and push-ups. And always keep your core engaged, which will build a strong foundation from which to safely increase your weights, in turn improving both strength and fitness.” – Lucie

Avoid the temptation of jumping into a fitness regime that’s too challenging for you. It’s often more beneficial to set micro goals which contribute to an end goal.
David Wiener

Walk As Much As You Can

“LISS – low intensity steady state training – is an often-overlooked form of movement that’s worth adding to your daily routine. Walk where you can, stand for a few hours with your laptop rather than sitting, or have a walking work meeting if that’s an option. Unlike HIIT, which involves max-effort bursts and short recovery periods – LISS is all about exercising at a slow and steady pace that burns fat over other energy sources, such as carbs.” – Lucie 

Test Yourself

“If you stick to a plan, you’ll notice changes within six weeks. Measuring fitness is dependent on your goals but tests can help. Two of the most common cardiovascular fitness tests are the Bleep Test and the 12-minute Cooper Test, which can be done either running or swimming. However, you can keep it simple by counting how many full press-ups or burpees you can complete in 60 seconds – keep a record of your score and see if you can improve it week by week.” – David 

Eat Enough Calories…

“When it comes to getting fit, nutrition is of the utmost importance, but chances are you’re under-fuelling. When I start working with a new client, 80% of the time they aren’t eating enough, which means they aren’t able to perform at their best in the gym, meaning your precious workout time is being wasted. Creating too large a calorie deficit can backfire and sabotage your progress – weight loss will slow, and you’ll end up burning muscle rather than fat. Under-fuelling can also slow the recovery process, meaning your next session will also be impacted.” – Lucie 

…And Eat At The Right Time

“My heart sinks when I see people snacking on protein bars before a workout. A pre-session snack is great, but what you eat matters. Protein is a slowly digesting form of energy, meaning it stays in the stomach for a long time, explaining why it helps you feel fuller for longer. Before a workout, your body needs fuel, so instead, look to quick release carb-based snacks such as bananas, oat bars and malt loaf, which give you an instant burst of energy. Save protein snacks for after your workout, when your muscles need protein’s building blocks to repair and restore.” – Lucie 

Make The Most Of A Rest Day

“It’s during rest that your body recovers and gets stronger. If you are serious about getting fit, forget a rest day at your peril. The best thing you can do on your rest days is actually rest. By that, I don’t mean a hours’ walk, a yoga class or a swim, I mean truly rest. If you do anything, head to your foam roller for a 15-minute session – it’s the next best thing to a massage. Don’t get into the habit of cutting calories on your rest day either. Nutritionally dense meals are even more important on your rest days, when your muscles are repairing from the stress of your workouts and getting prepped for your next session.” – Lucie

 

For more information head to ThirdSpace.London and Freeletics.com. Follow Lucie on Instagram @LucieXCX.

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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