Fitness Equipments
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WELCOME

STARTER PACK

TRAINING

WELCOME TO THE START OF YOUR NEXT EVOLUTION

"How you do anything, is how you do everything."

                                                                                                                -Tom Waits

INTRODUCTION:

In this section I will look to give you a deeper understanding of training methodology and how to start to put together a plan that is safe, progressive, measurable and specific to you.

 

On completing the Goal Setting and Terminology section of this starter pack you should now have a clearer understanding, knowlege and vision of what you want to achieve. Specifically you should now of highlighted the WHAT, WHY and HOW of your training goal and be ready to put together a winning strategy to accomplish your goal.

As with any good training program assessing where you currently are and establishing a baseline or starting point is going to be imperative to your ability to safely progress, measure, compare, assess and make the adjustments when needed.

 

If your goal was to develop lower body strength for example (maximum muscular strength), you might perform a test to assess your current maximum strength or ability to lift a given weight for Reps or time. If your goal was to gain or lose weight you might record your initial scale weight, have your body composition measured and take before and after photos (body composition).

 

To become faster over a given distance you might perform a time test (speed), or If you wanted to improve your upper body endurance you might perform an exercise for as many repetitions as possible or within a given time (local muscular endurance), these are just a few examples of how you might test yourself.

PUT YOUR GOAL TO THE TEST:

THESE TESTES WILL BE ESSENTIAL IN:

  1. Highlighting where you might be lacking and need to improve.

  2. Aid you when it comes to exercise selection.

  3. Allow you to monitor your progress.

  4. Help you sustaining motivation, focus and drive.

  5. Allow you to see if your training has been effective. 

I have included a few different test protocols below and how to conduct them safely based on your level of experience and effectively forming the bases of which your training program can be built and measured upon (When selecting the appropriate test refer back to Q2 where you set out the requirements and needs of your program). 

WARNING: When selecting an assessment it is important like with training that safety is of the upmost importance. Under no circumstances should you perform any test that is beyond your level of experience or without the guidance of a trained professional. 

 GOAL SETTING OVERVIEW 

Question Two where you set out the requirements and needs of your program.

TRAINING SESSIONS A WEEK:

On deciding the number of the training sessions you should perform in a week consider the following four factors.

 

1) Your Availability To Train.

 

On completing Task One of the Goal Setting section of this starter pack you should now have clearly outlined your schedule and thereby highlighting your availability to dedicate to your new goal. It will be important to schedule in your training sessions to avoid potential life distractions and help further reinforcing the importance of your time and what that time is focused on. Putting your training into your daily schedule will also help you to track your progress by keeping record of the number of sessions you are performing or missing in a given week, month or year, your ability to recover from your training, and also simply what time of the day you prefer to train. 

2) Your Training Goal.

What you want to achieve, the date, and to what standard will be an important factor in determining what will be necessary and realistic to accomplish your goal. 

3) Your Training Experience.

Training experience is often an overlooked factor when deciding on the number of training sessions a week. Your experience will often dictate the frequency, intensity, time and type of the training you will be performing. Often a newbie to training will require less recovery between sessions. This is often simply because they are more likely to be going through more of a familiarisation phase where they are learning to perform the exercises correctly and lack the proficiency and strength of a more advanced practitioner.

4) Your Ability To Recover.

Your ability to recover will be fundamental to your progress and longevity within your training. Too little and you risk overloading the body beyond that what it can recover from resulting in a drop in performance, results and increase risk of injury.  Too much and you lack the necessary overload to stress the body to adapt to the demands upon it resulting in a lack of progress or loosing your hard earned results.

PUT YOUR PLAN  INTO ACTION

1) Set yourself weekly targets. 

Breaking down your goal into smaller achievable targets is a great way to stay focused, motivated and driven on a goal that could be weeks, months or even years away from achieving. Setting yourself one of two targets a week could include performing more reps of an exercise than you did in your last session. Performing an exercise with more proficiency, losing/gaining a certain amount of weight or making a small habit change that falls more in line with your goal. As with you training you should always look to asses and review your progress. So if you reach your goal look at why you felt it went well and how you might improve upon it next time. If you didn't then ask yourself why, use this time to elevate yourself an` an opportunity to learn and improve the next time. 

2) Outline your Schedule.

As discussed above and in the goal setting section of this pack setting yourself a schedule is a great way to focus your time more effectively.

 

Your schedule might include:

1) Your goal date.

2) Targets dates and when you want to achieve them.

3) When you are going to train,

4) Training session outlines.

5) Assessment/reassessment dates.

3) Make yourself accountable.

If you have found in the past that sticking to a plan is tough for you making yourself accountable to a friend, trainer, class, or group can be an effective way at overcoming this issue. As you should of already outlined in the Goal Setting section it will be important to be aware of habits and situations that have resulted in you not reaching your goals in the past. Our failures leave us important lessons and it will be important to address these barriers to help us overcome them when they reveal themselves.

TRACKING AND REPORTING ON PROGRESS

BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS

We often find ourselves looking in a mirror in the morning when we get ready for the day ahead. However, using a mirror, photograph or video can be an effective tool for assessing and highlighting where progress is being made in our training.  Not only does it allow you to keep a visual timeline of your progress but comparing old photos or videos can be a great motivator and allows you to pinpoint areas where you are making progress and where you may need to work on depending on your goals.

Taking progress photos is an important part of any body transformation journey – even if you don’t intend on sharing these photos with anyone. Progress photos are a great way to track your success beyond the scale, as your body’s appearance may change even when the number on the scale won’t budge. Take three “before” photos: Front, side and back. We highly recommend these are taken at home and saved in a safe place on your home computer.

TIPS AND THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

1. For better comparison your photos should be taken in the same positions, with the same lighting and at the same time of day.

2. You should look to capture the entire body from head to toe.

3. On taking your photos I recommend setting yourself a date in which to re-asses your progress (e.g. One month later).

1. BODY CIRCUMFERENCE MEASUREMENTS

Having your measurements done prior to starting a new program will give you a good baseline to assess whether progress is being made through your training. Depending on your goals you will be able to effectively see where you are losing weight or gaining size. key areas to measure include the waist, hips, chest, arms and leg.

TIPS AND THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:

  1. When possible get your measurements done by a professional.

  2. To ensure your results are as accurate as possible it is important to take your measurements from the same point.

  3. To improve consistency get your measurements done at the same time of day.

2. SCALE WEIGHT

Scale weight alongside the use of the other methods discussed here can be a very useful method of tracking the progress of total body mass. It is important to understand that without the use of bioelectrical impedance analyser (Bodyfat measurer) or other a specialised equipment, scales weight alone will not give a differentiation between body fat and muscle mass.

 

So what this means is if you were to gain lean muscle and dropped body fat you may only see a small change in weight loss or even weight gain on the scales. So to be more effective at asses progress it is important to also compare your results alongside other methods. 

TIPS AND THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:

  1. Be aware that different scale weight may vary in accuracy so always look to use the same set of scales to avoid discrepancies.

  2. Always weigh yourself at the same time In my option first thing in the morning when you first get up is best.

  3. Weigh Yourself around every two to four weeks to keep an eye on your weight and to see if your diet is on track.

4. DAILY/WEEKLY/MONTHLY TARGET

Looking at a new training or life goal can often feel intimidating, lead to people giving up before they have even started and cutting themselves short on what they can really achieve. One great way to move closer to your goal is to break it down into smaller achievable components. Start off easy, pick one or three thing  you can do straight or write at a plain for reinforcing your new mindset, this might just be packing your gym bag to take away the excuse of not training before or after work, writing out a training schedule, giving yourself a daily target to practice a new habit such as drinking more water, walking more steps etc. 

TIPS AND THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:

  1. When starting off by picking a few targets that are easy and achievable.

  2. Keep a record of your targets this will allow you to see, look back and asses your progress.

  3. Be prepared for challenges to arise remember the climb up the mountain is never easy. Falling back into old habits is something everyone has to overcome. Setting yourself just a few targets will help you keep you focused and on track at the goal at hand.​​​

4. TRAINING JOURNAL:

Keeping a journal of your training sessions and your diet even if it is a brief summarization can be a great way to keep track of your progress on week-to-week bases. Also having a record of what you have done allows you to look back over the previous months and see where further progress can be made, or highlight where setback might have arisen and why. Helpful things to record in your journal might include notes of how your sessions went, your mood, or your energy level that day.  Often when looking back over your notes these can help to highlight and connect certain instances or situations within your training or diet that otherwise might not have been identified.

TIPS AND THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:

  1. Keep a recored of your training and diet can be a useful tool if you are working alongside a trainer or nutritionist.

5. FITNESS TRACKER

In the technological age we live in there are a wide range of fitness trackers available that can help you to monitor aspects of your health  such as heart rate, calories usage, sleep quality, and allow you to record and track your training in real time. The use of fitness trackers pared alongside a few of the other methods discussed above can be a great and effective way to aid your training whiles also helping you to keep on track and focused on your goal. 

TIPS AND THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:

  1. Fitness trackers may vary in accuracy so take this into account.

TRAINING SESSION STRUCTURE:

THE WARM UP:

The warm-up should form a key component of your training practice normally averaging around 10 to 30 minutes depending on the complexity and intensity of a session. Involving a mixture of cardiovascular work, mobility and body weight and resistance based exercise the primary purpose of your warm-up should be to prepare the body in a specific manner, increasing heart rate, body temperature, circulation and mobility. Gradually taking the body from a relaxed state to one that is primed physically and mentally to meet the demands that will be placed upon it. The warm-up should consist of a mindful practice and include exercises and movements that will put the body through the full ranges of motion that are specific to that which will be completed. The Intensity should gradually increase but not fatigue and impede that which will be performed in the primary session. 

THE PRIMARY SESSION

The primary session is the meat and bones of a training session. It is where the main bulk and focus of the training is completed. During this phase, the most complex work should be performed first. Components of fitness such as strength, power and endurance will gradually become depleted as the session goes on and thereby affecting your ability to perform any exercise that requires a higher amount of strength, power and fine motor skills. To maximise the training effect ensure that the central larger and stronger muscle groups are targeted first followed by the smaller peripheral muscles.

AUXILIARY/ACCESSORY

This phase of a training session in my experience like the cooldown is often forgotten and left out. The Auxiliary phase is a key ingredient to any good training program as it focuses on the opposing muscle that would have been focused on during the primary session. A simple example of this would be if your main session consisted of a pushing exercise such as bench press then your auxiliary would focus on a pulling component such as a pull-up. The purpose of including an auxiliary phase in your training is to prevent any imbalances occurring as a result of overtraining a muscle. Another benefit of this phase is it also allows you to work on other aspects of your fitness which in some cases might have become forgotten. This might include the strengthening of the lower back and muscles involved in the stabilising of joints such as the rotator cuff.

COOL DOWN

Usually given the poor excuse that there is not enough time the cool-down in my experience is one of the most skipped and underestimated components of a training session. Usually lasting for a duration of 10 to 15 minutes the cool-downs primary aim is to bring the body back to a resting state by gradually reducing biological markers such as heart rate and body temperature. Commonly involving a mixture of cardiovascular work, mobility and light stretching the cool-down is a great time to perform any recovery/pre-hab work as the tissues of the body are far more sensitive and pliable due to an elevated body temperature making the tissues more responsive to change (Refer to An Introduction To Recovery).

THE FIVE PILLARS OF HUMAN MOVEMENT

What should I do in my training, how do I know I'm hitting everything I need to, I always do the same thing when I go to the gym, and I feel I'm getting nowhere?

 

These are questions and concerns I hear all the time as a trainer, and I get it with all the choices available now how can you be sure you are meeting all the needs of your training. 

 

Well, I would like to pass one of those gems that changed the game for me. I was first introduced to The Five Pillars Of Human Movement by one of my instructors Steve Maxwell. It outlines the fundamental movement patterns that we would have adopted from the time that we were born. It creates a template that can be used for an individual session or to form the blueprint for an entire training program. 

 

Often putting together a session plan can become a confusing, painful and time-consuming process. By using these five components, you will be able to create an infinite amount of session plans with the piece of mind that you will be meeting all the needs of a full Program. Below I have outlined each of the Five Pillars, what they are and how to apply them to your training. 

1) PUSH (Horizontal & Vertical)

Pushing exercises are focused primarily on the muscles of the Chest, triceps and or shoulders and can be performed in either the horizontal or vertical plane. 

2) PULL (Horizontal & Vertical)

Focused on the muscles of the bicep and back and like pushing are performed in either the horizontal or vertical plane. 

3) LEVEL CHANGE (Hip & Quad Dominant)

Locomotion included any exercise that covers a given distance. This can include jogging, running, sprinting, climbing, crawling, swimming, swinging and more. 

4) LOCOMOTION (Bipedal and Quadrupedal Movement)

Locomotion included any exercise that covers a given distance. This can include jogging, running, sprinting, climbing, crawling, swimming, swinging and more. 

5) ROTATION (Anti-Rotation)

When most people think of exercise they often think of movements in the linear plain forgetting to include exercises that include a mixture of rotation or anti-rotational. Include a mixture of movement in multiple planes this can include forward and backwards rolls, Russian twists, wood chop and or any form of speed and agility drills.  

THE COMMONLY USED REP/TIME RANGES

SET Refers to the number of cycles/times you repeat a set number of repetitions. An example of this would be if you performed that 10 squats then recovered, and then performed it again, recovered and then again you would have completed 3 sets of 10 reps.  Like repetitions, the number of sets you perform can be dictated by a number of factors. Some of these include your desired training effect, the exercise selection (the exercise being performed), your experience level, where you are in your training program and the training volume (The amount of work performed on a given muscle group or training session). Like repetitions, there are commonly three set ranges used depending on your desired training effect (see the table below).

THE COMMONLY USED SET RANGES

RECOVERY TIME Refers to the duration of time between a set or exercise. The recovery time is normally predetermined based on the desired training effect, training intensity and the fitness level of the individual or group (see the table below).  

THE COMMONLY USED RECOVERY TIME RANGES

As you can see just a basic example of reps/time, sets and recovery time shown above there are many variations that can be selected.  These variables will change depending on the training effect you are looking for, the exercise selection, where you are in your training program and your experience level.

 

However, I have listed a few guidelines you can follow below to help you make the right decisions based on these factors.

 

ALWAYS KEEP YOUR GOAL IN MIND: Always refer back to your main training goal. Ask yourself what am I training for, is it to get faster, stronger, to build muscle, to lose weight, improve my endurance or maybe it is a combination? Your training should always have the emphasis of your original training goal in mind. There is no point with the goal of losing weight and you doing 1rep max deadlifts because it looks good and gets you like on Instagram, stays focused!

 

TRAIN AS THOUGH IT WAS ON PURPOSE: Depending on your starting point and experience levels i.e your ability to perform the exercise correctly and at the given intensity. Start by choosing a weight and progression that allows you to learn the exercise correctly and then progress or increase the weight so that you are being challenged within your desired training range. This is what a warm-up is for as a preparatory way to safely get the body to where it needs to be in your training session. There is no reason to perform an exercise that causes you to get injured causes you compromised on your form. Remember training is about becoming the strongest version of yourself not showing off how much you can lift, or training your ego. Leave that at the door and train smart, this will not only get you more results but will prevent you from picking up injuries and help to get rid of dysfunction or bad habits you might have picked up in training and in life.

 

FOCUS: Keep your focus on performing an exercise right not on just to get it done. A well known physical therapist and strength coach Kelly Starrett said it is like making toast, but in the process, you burn the house down it just isn't very efficient.

 

DON'T USE A CANOE TO FIRE A CANNON: If you are new to training or just new to a particular exercise focus on learning the movement patterns first. It is imperative to any training program to build a solid foundation, we do this by learning how to effectively move our body first. Learn the exercise by starting slowly so you can recognise when it doesn't feel right, then as you become more confident progress in developing your strength. By Improving your ability to move correctly and by becoming stronger you greatly increase stability at the given joint, this is where true explosive power can be developed.

SETS & REPS/TIME

When working out how many reps/time and sets you should be performing first consider what the aim of the session or program is first in relation to your overall training goal. There are many rep schemes available when it comes to training and I will cover some of these in the following training packages and why they might apply to you based on your training goals, experience or when helping to break a Plateau. Below I have outlined the three main set and rep schemes used for developing strength, muscle growth and endurance. 

 

REPS/TIME Short for repetition is defined, as the number of times, an exercise is performed for a single set. An example of this would be if you performed 10 squats then stopping, that would be referred to as 10 reps. There are commonly three main rep ranges used in training depending on your desired training effect (see the table below).  

 

In some cases, however, when you are looking to create more of what's called a catabolic effect i.e. to burn calories you might choose to perform an exercise for time rather than a set number of repetitions, this may also be applied when performing circuits or bodyweight based exercise where there is no external resistance used.

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