How to Improve Your Fitness Levels

Not only does increasing fitness levels improve the quality of your life, but it can also open many more doors and opportunities too. It can also create structure and routine into people’s lives and give them the focus to be on the straight and narrow. With our clients, having performance related goals which increase their fitness levels has shown to be productive in helping them lose weight as they are not getting obsessed with calorie counting.  But how can you increase your fitness levels the most efficient way? This article outlines the basics you need to start increasing your fitness levels

Decide in What Area You Want to Increase Your Fitness

It is really easy to say “I want to improve my fitness levels” but that is a very vague and sometimes a counterproductive statement. There are so many disciplines and varying factors of fitness levels with each individual sport, exercise, workout and training style. They often require different levels of fitness and abilities. A better question to ask yourself is “what do I want to get better at?” Once you know what you want to get better at, you can then create an effective training program to improve your fitness levels in the thing you want to get better at. Here are some examples of answers our Xtreme clients give us

  • I want to get better at running
  • I want to be stronger
  • I want to be able to run 10k
  • I want to complete a triathlon
  • I want to play with my kids without feeling tired
  • I want to cycle the country
  • I want to be able to swim twice a week
  • I want to last longer when playing football
  • I want to have bigger muscles

There are many answers you can give but what it does is highlight your goal and gives you a better opportunity to focus on that level of fitness and ultimately achieve it.

Decide in What Area You Want to Increase Your Fitness

It is really easy to say “I want to improve my fitness levels” but that is a very vague and sometimes a counterproductive statement. There are so many disciplines and varying factors of fitness levels with each individual sport, exercise, workout and training style. They often require different levels of fitness and abilities. A better question to ask yourself is “what do I want to get better at?” Once you know what you want to get better at, you can then create an effective training program to improve your fitness levels in the thing you want to get better at. Here are some examples of answers our Xtreme clients give us

  • I want to get better at running
  • I want to be stronger
  • I want to be able to run 10k
  • I want to complete a triathlon
  • I want to play with my kids without feeling tired
  • I want to cycle the country
  • I want to be able to swim twice a week
  • I want to last longer when playing football
  • I want to have bigger muscles

There are many answers you can give but what it does is highlight your goal and gives you a better opportunity to focus on that level of fitness and ultimately achieve it.

Our 2/3 rule

There are many methods you can use to increase your level of fitness but a very effective method we use with our Xtreme Bootcampers and Xtreme Gym members is our 2/3 rule. Once you have highlighted the area of fitness you want to improve you focus two-thirds of your training on that specific fitness and one-third on other areas to help recover and condition the body for all round improvement in your fitness. Here are 2 examples

A client looking to increase their fitness with running

If this client is training 6 times a week, 4 of those sessions would be running focused. Those 4 sessions would be split into different types of running from steady state runs, sprints, interval and hill runs. The other 2 sessions in that week would be focused on conditioning the body to cope and adapt to the load of running and the increase in fitness. These sessions may be resistance training, boxing, HIIT training, Tabata training or PHA training. The program would be specific for that client

A client looking to increase their fitness by building bigger muscles

If this client is weight training 3 times a week, 2 of those sessions would be focused on building muscle through hypertrophic training and the other session would focus on strength and endurance all through weight training.

Benefits of 2/3 rule

  • Helps support sustainable improvement in fitness in the chosen field
  • Reduces the risk of injuries and strains through supportive training and recovery
  • It keeps training exciting as the client has the opportunity to explore more areas of workouts and fitness
  • Gives more structure and routine to the training program which will increase the chances of success
  • Tried, tested and very successful

What Types of Workouts Should You Do

Make sure at least two-thirds of your training is focused and based on the thing you want to get better at i.e running, swimming, lifting weights etc and then the other 3rd should be focused on workouts that support that area of fitness and works on your weaknesses to increase your levels of fitness. Workouts should be creative, progressive and most importantly fun and engaging but there is no one rule fits all and it is important to work on the areas that need working on. Here is an example:

If a client is looking to improve their fitness levels with running, and even though they are fit enough to run 10 miles, their legs feel week and numb at 6 miles. This would suggest that their fitness levels are giving them the opportunity to run 10 miles, but their legs lack the condition and strength to do that distance. In this case the 3rd of training would be strength and conditioning focused based in the gym to increase that level of fitness to support their goals.

If a client is looking to improve their fitness levels with running, and even though their legs feel ok after 3 miles but they are completely out of breath and “burnt out”. This would suggest they lack substantial cardiovascular fitness and are burning all their bodies sugars and glycogen too quickly. In this case the 3rd of training would focus on cardio-based conditioning like HIIT, Tabata or PHA training.

What Should You Be Eating

Nutrition plays such an important role in your ability to get fit it should never be underestimated nor neglected. The minimum you should be considering is your calories and protein intake. Always make sure you are eating at least 0.8g of protein per pound for men and 0.6g of protein per pound for women. A lot of Xtreme clients have weight loss in mind but there is a fine line between being in a healthy calorie deficit and it being too steep. A deficit should never be steeper than 500 calories. If you are new to this, keep it simple and have a good mix of carbohydrates and fats.

A decent, well experienced fitness coach or personal trainer will always be able to be more specific on your nutrition if you wish to explore it further.

Rest

Always remember, you only get fitter and stronger when you are resting and recovering. The purpose of training is to put the body under stress and to make it weaker. This can be done by lifting weights, running, swimming or doing fitness classes. The body then recovers and rebuilds to be stronger when resting so it can endure that type of stress for longer the next time. This is why it is common to see people “burn out” when they train too much. A rule of thumb is to try and get at least 48 hours of rest in between each specific training session. This gives the body ample time to recover, rebuild and refuel. An example of a training program for someone looking to improve their fitness with running.

Monday – Anaerobic/interval run

Tuesday – Strength and conditioning

Wednesday – Aerobic run/ steady state run

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Anerobic run / interval run

Saturday – HIIT/PHA/ Tabata training

Sunday -Rest

Help From a Professional

It is not uncommon for clients to feel they need support to help start their journey into improving fitness. A personal trainer, fitness bootcamp or fitness class could be the perfect solution for you to get started on your journey. Things to look out for when choosing a professional

  • Does the bootcamp/class/personal trainer demonstrate the basic knowledge of the area you are looking to get fit in? It will not be productive to choose a personal trainer who is a body builder to help you get better at cycling! Or a bootcamp that just focuses on dramatic weight loss numbers if you are looking to train for a marathon!
  • Do they have experience in the field you are looking to improve your fitness in?
  • Do they have similar lifestyle factors to you? It is so important for them to be able to relate to you when creating effective training programs. Do they have kids like you do? Work unsocial hours like you do? Enjoy certain foods like you do? Same sense of humour as you do?

Our Top Tips to Increase Fitness Levels

  1. Establish exactly what it is you want to get better at! Just saying I want to get fitter does not cut it
  2. Try and adopt the 2/3 rule to help build a training program
  3. Start eating or make a conscious effort to eat the right amounts of foods and protein
  4. Make sure you get rest incorporated in to your training program
  5. If you look for professional help through PTs, fitness bootcamps or classes, take your time to make sure they are the right one for you
  6. Make sure all the training that you do, and your goal is something you enjoy. Fitness should always be fun!

This a basic article to get you started on your journey but remember, every single person will have their own unique relationship with exercise and improving their fitness. Everyone responds differently to different styles of training and nutrition and part of the journey is to find what works for you. If you have any questions or would like to know how we could help you with improving your fitness through our award-winning fitness bootcamps and what a fitness camp is like, do not hesitate to get in touch.

How to Improve Your Fitness Levels
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