If you have been exercising for quite a while you may be keen to know how to progress your fitness, especially if you have achieved your initial goals or feel as if you have hit that “plateau” stage!

Fitness can be progressed by applying the F.I.T.T principle
  • Frequency – this refers to the number of training sessions that are carried out per week i.e how often training is performed.
  • Intensity – this refers to how hard a person works during a training session.  The intensity of training is probably the most important factor when it comes to improving fitness.
  • Time – this refers to the duration of the training session.  The duration of training is inversely related to its intensity: the more intense a session is, the shorter the duration needs to be in order ti gain the fitness benefits.
  • Type – the chosen mode of training should be specific to the individual’s needs and goals.

It is general advised to just change one of these factors at a time in order to avoid over-training.

I am going to focus this blog on the intensity of your workout as I believe this is the factor that helps you progress the fastest as well as being is the easiest one for you to change.
So, how do we monitor the intensity of our workouts?
If you are lucky enough to have a heart rate monitor you can easily and objectively use this to measure the intensity you are working at.
However, not everyone has access to this technology so instead we can use the Borg scale of Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE).
As you can see, it categorises how we are feeling into a number on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is the least intense and 10 the most.
How can I increase the intensity?
If we look at Cardiovascular fitness first you can:
  • increase the resistance you are working against (on the rowing machine/spinning bike)
  • increase the incline (on the treadmill or by finding a steeper hill to exercise on)
  • perform the exercise at an increased pace

For Muscular Fitness you can:

  • increase the load/weight
  • increase lever length

Additionally you can try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  This is where you perform a certain exercise for a short period of time followed by a small rest before moving on to the next exercise i.e. do squats for 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds then start the next exercise…..

As the name suggest, it is to be performed at a high intensity to get results!
The principle of HIIT can be applied to most levels of fitness – including ante and postnatal clients but at a more appropriate intensity and modified exercise choice.  I actually do this with my ante and postnatal clients but call is Mummy Intensity Interval Training (MIIT)!!!!!! Hehehe!!!!!!
Generally I would recommend the follow intensity levels for HIIT workouts:
General population – 8-9 RPE
Antenatal clients – 5 RPE
Postnatal clients – 6 RPE
If you would like anymore information/explanation on any of the topics covered please just email me at info@thefitnesspuzzle.co.uk
Aileen xxx