The most common question we’re asked at Ten. And the answer is usually the same: “It depends on what you’re trying to achieve”.
So, let’s look at the goals that Ten’s clients most often focus on.
Training for a long, lean body, improved muscle tone and/or reduced back pain
Sorry guys; one Dynamic Reformer Pilates session a week won’t do it. If you want to see results, it’s 3 sessions per week. Minimum.
That’s true whether you’re sculpting a slimmer, more toned figure, or correcting posture, mobilising stiff joints and reducing back pain.
Training for fat loss, increasing cardio fitness/endurance, and building muscle
Fat loss requires more – and more intense – exercise. 4 times a week, at least.
HiiT sessions – working at near-maximum heart rates for short intervals, interspersed with active recovery – burn fat and build muscle as well as improving fitness. And they do it more time-efficiently than traditional aerobic training. (Think TenRX or HiiT.)
But HiiT is taxing on the body. So twice a week is enough for most people.
But you can add in a couple of moderate intensity sessions – Dynamic Pilates, a run or a weights session – to keep you progressing without overtaxing the body.
Don’t forget active recovery
If you’re pushing yourself it’s important to build in time between these full-on sessions to allow your body to recover and strengthen. Something that keeps you moving, and hits the same muscle groups you’re targeting in your workouts. Swimming, yoga and hiking are all great low-impact ways to aid recovery, mobilise stiff joints, oxygenate the muscles and give the metabolism a gentle boost.
Quality beats quantity
The fitness industry focuses too much on intensity of effort, and not enough on quality of movement. So if you really want results, it’s not how often you work out, but how.
It’s a cliché (but a proven one) that the more you’re willing to put in, the more you’ll get out. And this rule applies not just to how hard you work in your sessions, but also on working on your technique, control and form as much as your muscles, matching the level of your session to your ability
Throwing in an exercise-specific workshop or a PT session or two to focus on technique will enhance the quality of your sessions and you’ll see a corresponding improvement in your body’s response. More importantly improving your form will not only improve performance; it’ll also reduce the risk of injury.
Injury-proof your workout
It’s important to include a prehabilitative element to your training. That’s everything from allowing yourself enough recovery time between sessions, doing some 1-1 sessions to focus on form, alignment and technique, through to Sports Massages.
Though it’s often overlooked, or not considered ‘training’ Massage is great for helping ease tight and sore muscles, addressing imbalances or areas of weakness that could lead to injury, speeding recovery after workouts so you can train safely more often, and addressing little niggles before they develop into bigger problems.
No wonder massage is such an important feature of every pro and elite athlete’s programme. And if you’re spending time, effort and (let’s not forget) your hard-earned money to achieve your own goals, it’s taking the same view that they do. Namely that it’s worth investing a little more to reduce the risk of injuries that could either slow your progress to your goals or – at worst – stop you from achieving them at all.
Last but by no means least, we don’t need to mention that sleep and good nutrition are key factors for boosting recovery after exercise, do we? Of course we don’t.