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Training

It is common knowledge that regular bouts of physical activity can improve both your mental and physical performance levels, as well as having positive effects on your health. Regular exercise is essential, and it remains an important part of your USN Body Makeover Challenge.

The USN Body Makeover Challenge training plans allow you to train at your own pace in the early stages while you get accustomed to the routine. It is important that you take charge of your training programme, and you address your training duration, intensity, training frequency and resistance weight. This ensures that you adapt to your training, improve your fitness levels and progress positively throughout the next 12 weeks.

A balanced approach to exercise is important. A programme that embraces both cardiovascular and resistance (weight training) for more or less an equal time frame 4-5 times per week, will considerably improve weight-loss, increase lean muscle tissue, tone and conditioning and minimise the potential risk of injury.

Cardiovascular Exercise
You will be taking part in cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise 4-5 times weekly for 30-45 minutes in order to promote the benefits of such activity. You will immediately notice an improved energy level, improved sleep cycle and an increase in body fat metabolism. As your fitness levels improve, you will have to increase both your intensity of training and your duration of activity. You should take part in activities that suit your goal or level of health. You have a range of cardiovascular options available to you including cycling, jogging/running, swimming, planned classes and outdoor fitness activities.

Resistance Exercise
Regardless of gender, age or health status, you should take part in resistance exercise for 30-45 minutes 4-5 times per week. The ideal scenario is a planned programme that targets and identifies individual muscle tissue groups on a daily basis as set out in the prescribed training plan. This offers your system the ability to rest and recover for 72 hours before retraining that muscle group. Resistance training has been shown to improve bone density, increasing both tendon and ligament strength, improving muscle tissue strength, tone and conditioning as well as increasing lean muscle tissue development while stimulating a higher metabolic rate.

Rest and Recovery Training
Rest and recovery training remains important to your ability to adapt to the USN Body Makeover Challenge training plan, and to get the best out of the 12 weeks.In addition to your workouts, optimal nutrition, supplementation and rest are the remaining key components to a good health and fitness programme. Training hard every day with no break or decrease in intensity will actually limit your progress and you may increase your risk of injury.

Recovery training is simple – it is a short, low intensity training session designed to help your body repair muscle damage and increase blood flow to ease inflammation on joints, tendons and ligaments.In most cases, recovery sessions are simply added in addition to your regular training sessions during the week. However, since they are rather short and not very intense, they can be done any time – before training, after training, or on an off day e.g. a swimming session or a light super circuit.

Rest is downtime where you take a total break from activity. This downtime supports muscle tissue recovery and energy reload. It is further supported by a healthy diet and supplement strategy.

This is how my training weeks look like. Remember your training program will depend on how your fitness levels are etc. I have been training since January so I start new programs on my Polar as I go along.

My Star Program is set to loosing weight at the moment, that is why you will see they advice me to train less in zone 3. Zone 3 is high intensity training and on weight loss the program focus on a Zone 1 + 2 heart rate.

More about Exercise Zones:

Exercise zones are ranges between the lower and upper heart rate limits expressed as beats per minute (bpm) or as percentages of your maximum heart rate (HRmax). HRmax is the highest number of heartbeats per minute during maximum physical exertion.

Heart Rate Target Zones

Exercise can be divided into three different intensity zones. Each of these intensity levels corresponds to various health and fitness improving mechanisms in your body.

Light Intensity Zone

When your heart beats at 60-70% of your HRmax (HRmax %), you are in the Light Intensity Zone. Whether you have just started working out or you exercise fairly regularly, much of your workout will be in this zone. Fat is the body’s main source of energy at this level of intensity; therefore this zone is also good for weight control. This intensity still feels fairly easy for most people and provides, for example, the following benefits:

  • Helps in weight control
  • Improves endurance
  • Improves aerobic fitness

Moderate Intensity Zone

Push on to 70-80% of your HRmax, and you are in the Moderate Intensity Zone. This is especially good for people who are exercising regularly. For most people, this is often the fastest pace they can maintain and still remain comfortable and free of pain. Exercising in this zone is particularly effective for improving aerobic (i.e. cardiovascular) fitness. If you are out of shape, your muscles will use carbohydrates for fuel when you are exercising in this zone. As you get fitter, your body starts using a higher and higher percentage of fat for fuel, thus preserving its limited stores of muscle carbohydrate. Exercising in the moderate intensity zone results in some additional benefits:

  • Improves aerobic fitness
  • Improves endurance
  • Helps in weight control
  • Accustoms your body to exercising at a faster pace
  • Begins to raise the speed you can maintain without building up lactic acid

Hard Intensity Zone

At 80-90% of your HRmax, you have moved into the Hard Intensity Zone. Exercise in the hard intensity zone definitely feels “hard”. You will find yourself breathing heavily, having tired muscles and feeling fatigued. This intensity is recommended occasionally for fit people. Exercising in this zone is intensive, so it provides some unique benefits:

  • Increases muscles’ tolerance to lactic acid
  • Improves hard, short effort ability

When you exercise in the correct intensity zones, it guarantees your enjoyment in your favorite sports. Alternate between intensity zones to improve your fitness and get variation in your exercise. Remember that the lower the intensity the longer you can comfortably exercise in it. Exercise in the higher intensity for shorter periods.

Note: Polar target heart rate intensity definition is modified from international exercise science authorities’ recommendations in which light intensity can reach lower than 60% of HRmax.

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