Whether you’re at home all day raising a family or performing at work, you’d never expect success without putting in the effort.  So why do we think we can get away with it in the gym? It’s time to aim higher – and get on a new road to fitness

A company’s performance is judged at the end of each year by their profit and loss trading accounts. Life “under the bar” in the weight-room has taught me that successful business people use certain methods in the office, but fail to apply the same principles of goal-setting, determination and dedication to their fitness regime.

They tend to apply the weekend warrior approach, spending hours in the gym on a Saturday and Sunday trying to undo the damage caused by their weekday excesses. Children will not gain knowledge by attending school for two hours a week, so it amazes me that educated adults expect results from their inconsistency.

To achieve success you must adhere to the concept of the F.I.T.T. principle. It stands for frequency, intensity, time and type. Here’s the lowdown:

Frequency

  • There are 168 hours in a week, so you must decide how many hours you are going to train for.
  • Clients seem disillusioned when I explain that two hours a week is like a drop in the ocean for fat loss. You must make time for your health.
  • Three hours a week is good for a beginner, initially, but this must increase as your training experience increases. If your goal is marathon running, your mileage will increase as the marathon approaches.

Intensity

  • The Japanese refer to the Kaizen principle as constant and never-ending improvement. Every time you train, in the gym or outside, you must try to improve by at least 2pc.
  • In the weight-room you must lift heavier weights, increase repetitions or reduce rest periods.
  • This is known as the principle of progressive overload and causes a change (muscles get stronger or lungs work more efficiently, for example).

Time

  • The workout length should never exceed an hour. If you are in a gym longer, you are not training hard, you are making friends. Length of time is important as you produce testosterone that builds muscle for the first 20 minutes, and you maintain it for circa 45 minutes.
  • After this, you produce cortisol, which is the grinch of body-building as it eats muscle.

Type

  • Not everyone has the same training goals, aims or objectives.
  • Exercise programs should reflect an individual’s aims and each training mode has a very specific benefit.
  • If your goal is to run a marathon, you will have to spend a large part of your time running.
  • If you goal is to be a cyclist, you will have to cycle. You must focus on your primary goal.
  • So next time you’re in the gym, train hard and train with purpose — and results will be yours in no time.

Tip of the week

The repetition is the mother of all loading parameters — it dictates rest intervals and the amount of sets you’re going to do. Once you’ve decided how many reps you want to do, it’ll limit which exercises you can do. For example, the power clean should never be done for high reps because it’s a high co-ordination lift.

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