August 20, 2018


Why choosing the right form of training is key to achieving your fitness goals

IN LAST WEEK’S column I outlined the real reasons why we hit and achieve our fitness goals, and to follow that up, I’m going to talk about picking the training methods that’ll work best for you in the long run.

Do something you enjoy

This really should be the first step when it comes to deciding which path you go down — and it is also one of the main reasons why people actually hit their fitness goals.

My best advice is do something that your actually going to enjoy, as simple and as obvious as that sounds. The last thing you want is to turn your exercise regime into a chore and is something that hangs over you for the whole day.

You have to be able to enjoy it to sustain it and there are a plethora of options out there, so there really isn’t any excuse. Zumba, Crossfit, yoga, spinning and bootcamps are all alternatives to pounding the pavement or a basic gym workout and can be more enjoyable for some people.

Always ask for advice

If you have a goal in mind — which you should — then there is where you might need to get a bit more specific on what form your training takes. If you are now targeting a certain goal, then your training needs to reflect that.

My best advice here would be to ensure your regime reflects the goal you have set and is helping you move in the right direction towards that target. For example, if you are training for a 10k run, there is no point in focusing solely on weight training.

A lot of the time I see people undertake certain plans or programmes that don’t have any relevance to their specific goal and they are then wasting time and effort because they’re unlikely to hit the target they set.

If you are unsure, then go seek some advice or educate yourself on what is the best approach for that goal. Again, there is plenty of options here to help you out from searching online for certain articles or perhaps going on YouTube, which can be a useful tool when it comes to fitness.

It has to be sustainable

This is another important point, because if you throw yourself into a training plan in the knowledge your enthusiasm for it will burn off quickly, you are going to find yourself back to square one.

Being consistent is going to be one of the driving factors when it comes to you reaching your goal. Your training needs to be fit around your routine and you need to be realistic about this, rather than diving in head first and committing to seven sessions a week when you’ll never be able to keep that up over a long period.

There really is no point if you are chasing quantity over quality. Focusing on quality will keep you on track and will lessen the risk of burnout, fatigue or even loss of interest.

Again, if you are unsure as to the best approach for your goal, then point two above becomes extremely relevant. A lot of the time, I see people attack workout after workout and session after session as they chase high volume and intensity.

It might yield results initially but burn out is inevitable and you need to be mindful that exercise and fitness should be incorporated into your life, rather than being something that is done once every few months.

Push yourself

This might seem like it’s slightly contradict to the sustainable approach I talk about above, but you need to push yourself and go outside your comfort zone every now and again.

The reality is that you’re going to have to work hard and be uncomfortable at times in order to truly achieve long-term results or hit that goal you set.

For many of us getting uncomfortable might also mean an elevated heart rate with short burst of high intensity training.

Over the last few years we have seen a huge increase in people doing HIIT style training as opposed to long distance aerobic workouts like jogging or walking.

This style of training can be good because of the response it gives our bodies: the increase in heart rate, the adrenaline kick, or even the endorphins released at the end while we generally sit there in a pool of sweat.

HIIT training can be of real benefit and work extremely well for people — but not for every single session because again it comes back to being sustainable.

The truth is that less is actually more, and quality over quantity is an approach that works best for me and my clients.

Constantly assess

‘If you are not assessing then you are really only guessing,’ is a quote I use quite a lot when working with new clients.

Most new clients initially come though my doors having been chasing goals in the past but haven’t hit them or have veered off track — and the main reason for that they’ve often failed to assess what they need to work on.

Is it their nutrition, their training plan or perhaps even their overall lifestyle?

If you’re not pinpointing any of this, it’s going to be extremely hard to hit those goals.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.