Part 2 of the fantastic guest fitness guest posts from Kang at West London Personal Training… check out Part 1 here.
If you’ve been reading the Sim’s Life blog, you’ve probably read up on Sim and her quest for fitness. If you wanted to follow her lead but didn’t know where to start, here’s a few questions that I frequently get asked as a personal trainer –
1 – What type of trainers should I wear?
The type of footwear you choose to wear when you first start running is important. Knowing what type of foot you have can help…A simple test using a manila envelope or piece of paper can show you the type of foot you have. Place your feet in some water and shake off the excess, step on the envelope or paper and see what kind of foot print you leave behind.
Which one did you get? Use the guide below to find out what your arch type is…
Most people can come out with a normal arch on the test but tend to over pronate slightly. It’s best to go to a real running shop to get your gait tested.
2 – Should I run outdoors or in the gym?
Pure running enthusiasts tell me running indoors is something like a slow death!
Running on the treadmill has its benefits but is it going to help you in the long run? (No pun intended)
The treadmill is a good piece of kit to use for those with injuries, it softens the impact on your legs as you hit the belt. You also get to watch the TV or perv on other gym users that you’ve got your eye on 😉
However as the treadmill belt is pulling your legs back, you don’t build the proper muscle activation needed to help propel your body forward. You have to push off the ground with your quads and the faster you go the more your hamstrings and glutes (the bum) activates. Running this way helps you learn the proper mechanics of running.
If you’ve never run before, the treadmill helps give you a feel of what it’s like to run, you can adjust your stride length, posture and control your pace/breathing.
I recommend starting on the treadmill but also adding in a few runs outside to condition your legs, you also get to escape the smell of B.O. from the guy who sweats like a beast! (I know you know what I mean)
Eventually as you progress on the treadmill, I recommend running outside and escaping smelly B.O. guy and getting some fresh air. Your legs and lungs will thank you!
3 – How fast should I run?
You can run, jog or even walk. There’s no speed requirement.
Start off by running with the correct running mechanics. The heel to toe foot strike can be quite tough on the legs and you’ll end up with knee or shin pains like me L
The best way to land is on the mid to forefoot, you’ll find you’re able to run faster using this technique, probably get tired faster but the impact will be much less jarring on your legs.
4 – What other exercises can I do to supplement running?
Running every day can be very tiring and overstress your joints. A mixed training plan can help to give your legs a rest.
Use the bike or the x-trainer in the gym. Better yet perform a circuit of exercises, this will get your heart rate up as well as improve your muscular endurance. Try out this little circuit –
I do recommend focusing on exercises that work on hip extension, isolation of the hamstrings and core strength. Below are a few exercises that you can try out –
Hip Raise – This simple exercise works to activate your hamstrings, glutes and strengthen your lower back. Raise the hips and make sure you squeeze the glutes at the top of the movement.
Single Hip Raise – This is a progression of the bilateral hip raise, Using only one leg makes this simple exercise a lot harder.
Plank – Make sure there isn’t an arch in your back, brace your stomach and hold for 20 secs or more. Build up your core strength and endurance by adding 5-10 seconds each week. Once you get a comfortable 60 seconds progress onto the exercise below.
Plank with Ball Tuck – This exercise requires you to stabilize a neutral spine, as you straighten out the legs your spine must be straight. As you tuck in your legs, raise your hips so your bum sticks up in the air and straighten them out again. Repeat for up to 12-15 repetitions.
5 – How long will it take to see results?
Fat loss and weight loss is slightly different, identifying which is more important to you will help pin point specific goals. Weight can fluctuate up and down due to what you ate or drank.
Fat loss can only be burnt using the correct type of exercise as well nutrition.
We naturally hold a certain amount of fat on our body and for women even more so. Depending on age, race or lifestyle, fat can be distributed in certain areas around the body. Unfortunately it’s a little difficult to spot reduce but we can do our best to minimize the fat gain through better food choices.
For weight loss the classic running plan will help, as burning more calories than you consume will help manage/reduce your weight. You will see this within the first 2-3 months. There will be some body fat loss also but this will gradually plateau. Our body doesn’t want to let go of fat for fear of starvation and if your training plan doesn’t change or progress the weight loss will slow down.
Muscle is metabolically active, so having lean muscle tissue on your body will help you burn calories/energy while you’re sitting down.
Long distance running without the correct nutrition can burn muscle, which is fine if you want to lose body weight but your metabolism suffers. Your body also stops burning calories when you aren’t doing cardiovascular exercise, but for those who do resistance training it can, depending on the type and intensity, last for up to 24-36 hours after exercise.
Here’s what you should do –
If your goal is weight loss perform cardio endurance exercises at least 3-4 times a week, varying the intensity, type of exercise and duration. Aim for up to 30-60 minutes. If you choose to stick to the same pace or cardiovascular exercise, your endurance and fitness will improve. You may see some changes in body weight and small changes in body fat.
If your goal is fat loss, perform resistance training exercises using the maximum weight you can for 15 repetitions. Try to progress this weight once this becomes easy.
Increase the intensity of the resistance training by adding in exercises that spike your heart rate. Exercises such as jumping jacks, sprinting on the spot, burpees, squat jumps, mountain climbers etc.
This gives you maximal caloric burn during exercise but also elevates your metabolism during the rest of the day.
I recommend at least 3x a week resistance training and you can still add in cardiovascular training either by walking or doing an extra session at the gym. You will see changes in your body fat, skin will be tighter and body shape including posture will improve. For some people your weight may go up slightly as muscle weighs more than fat but you’ll be able to fit into clothes more comfortably.
Body transformation results don’t happen with just training alone, nutrition is an important part of it also…however that’s going to be a whole other post.
Hope this helps give you an idea of how to start your training off, whether you’re running, hitting the gym or cycling it’s just important to make sure you move!
If I’ve managed to confuse you even more you can find me on the social links below and ask away….Good luck! Remember to train hard, eat clean and stay focused!