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Fitness

  • With your beep test calculator, what does Relative VO2 Max and Absolute VO2 Max mean?

    Our beep test calculator provides two results - your absolute VO2Max and your relative VO2Max.

    The "relative" score takes into account your body mass.  The reason this is relative is because this score will vary depending upon the weight that you have to carry from one end of the 20m track to the other.  So, if two people both completed 10 levels, yet one weighed 60kg and the other weighed 100kg, the 100kg person would obtain a far better "relative" VO2Max because they are carrying an additional 40kg around with them.

    The relative reading tells you how many mililitres of oxygen each kilogram of bodyweight (on average) is consuming per minute.

    Meanwhile, the "absolute" score only takes into account the level and number of shuttles obtained.  Bodyweight is not a factor in this result.  Consequently, the two people above would produce exactly the same score.

    The absolute reading tells you how many litres of oxygen your body is consuming per minute.

  • I no longer feel DOMS (muscle soreness or stiffness) for a few days after a workout. Does this mean that my workouts aren't as effective?

    Good question. This stiffness and soreness is called DOMS, and acronym for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. DOMS is the fitness industry jargon for microscopic damage to the muscle fibres that cause muscle soreness for up to a week following the workout.

    When you initiate a new exercise regime, DOMS is usually highly prevalent due to your muscles not being conditioned for that particular type of exercise. The more you perform a certain type of exercise, the more your muscles adapt to handle this exercise more effectively.

    One physiological adaptation is the muscle's ability to recover following a workout. This is exactly what you will be experiencing. Whilst you are still making amazing progress, you are no longer getting the same degree of soreness because your muscles are far greater equipped than previously to handle the heavy loads.

    Meanwhile, DOMS is NOT an indication of how effective your workout was. It is ONLY and indication of damage to your muscle fibres - nothing more. You can obtain significant DOMS from an ineffective workout, yet obtain no perceived DOMS at all and yet have a highly effective workout.

     

  • Mental strength, mind set and exercise seem to be increasingly related during my intense exercise sessions.

    A very, very good point. This is quite an advanced aspect to exercise.

    Guess what - many top athlete's have a sports psychologist. These professionals specialise in getting that person's mind set correct for maximal performance. Whilst an athlete's body may be in an exceptional physical condition, their mind also has to be in peak condition for maximal performance. This is very, very tough to accomplish.

    As you progress from a beginner to an intermediate trainer, you do become far more aware of the mental component to exercise.  You will realise first-hand that exercise has many more levels associated with it than just performing a particular action.

    One core component to psychological mastery of peak performance is belief. You need to believe that you are capable of achieving a certain result. If you believe that you can lift that weight for 10 reps, or obtain 120 calories on that single machine, then, assuming that this is realistic, you will have every chance at achieving it.

    The more you push your body, the more psychology will come into play. Your mind may start to tell you "you're too tired, take a break", or "slow down and conserve some energy" - but you need to work out your own strategies to overcome these internal objections. One strategy could be to distract yourself, just as you suggested. Another strategy I have read is to imagine seeing yourself as a third person (like an athlete would imagine looking at themselves from a seat in the stadium).

    Of course, this is a very complex topic and there are many self-help and psychology books available that deal with this far more specifically than I have explained here. If this is a topic of interest, I would strongly suggest reading abroad because there is a wealth of information out there on how to enhance the mental strength that you exhibit.

  • How do I lose my love handles? I have been doing fitness classes and cardio to improve my fitness level and lose weight, but I still feel really unfit!

    The classes are a really good way to raise your heart rate and undergo a solid cardiovascular workout.  Make sure that you continue to increase the intensity each session as you become fitter.

    Thing is, you need to continually push your body outside of it's comfort zone in order for it to respond.  I wrote an article entitled "The Art of Adaptation" which I would highly recommend you read if you are seeking to improve your fitness.  You may feel sluggish now, but if you remain consistent in "pushing" yourself, you will soon notice a significant improvement in your level of fitness.

    To improve your fitness and assist in your goal of weight loss, you do need to ensure that your nutrition is adequate to support recovery from workouts in addition to weight loss.

    Finally, to assist in reducing your "love handles", you need to focus on weight loss, which will be a function of calorie expenditure and nutritional intake.  There are no exercises that can specifically target this area on your body for fat loss.  Such a myth is termed "spot reduction".  I'd recommend you read a course I published on weight loss here.

    All the best!

  • What is the best way to exercise to see results?

    A: Hi I can totally empathise with where you are at. As a serious athlete you are always looking for the absolute shortest possible way to generate results and there never seems to be a clear cut solution. There are some people who generate sensational results from using heavy weights and low reps and you may be forgiven for believing that is the be all and end all, but then you witness someone also getting great results from using moderate weights and super-setting every exercise they do, which in turn will get you wondering again.

    It is crazy stuff and surely there needs to be an ultimate! But you know in all honesty, I don’t believe there is one, speaking generally of course. There will be something that will work better for YOU, let’s see what we can do here.

    Yes there are some people out there who will definitely respond better to one training style compared to another, but I really don’t believe that you can ‘blanket’ your answer to fit all demographics. Of course no matter what training style you follow you still need to put in the hard yards and give it your all (you cannot expect to coast and go through the motions and succeed), but I believe as an athlete you really do have more ‘freedom’ and techniques at your disposal then you once may have commonly believed.

    So here I am not going to talk about set, reps and all the good stuff, I want to look at this from another angle. What I will do is cover 2 important aspects that you may not have thought of – consistency and belief.

    Consistency: No matter what style of program that you follow, you need to follow it with consistency. If your program calls for 4 sessions a week, then you need to hit the gym 4 days a week, day in and day out, week in and week out. Coming into the gym for 4 days one week, 2 days the next and then 3 days the week after, you will achieve minimal results at best.

    If that has been you, be hesitant before you blame your program rather blame your dedication. I have seen in more then one instance where some one will blame their inconsistency to turn up to the gym because they feel their program is inadequate. It always starts and ends with you!

    Additionally, never wait for the ‘perfect program’ before you decide to go all out. An ok program followed consistently will ALWAYS produce better gains then the perfect program followed some of the time.

    Belief: As we move from program to program trying to find the ultimate in workout protocols, have you ever stopped and wondered why it is that you are so unsure of what you have been doing? Or better yet, why you are even doing what you are doing?

    Results also come down to belief! If you do not believe in the system that you are using then what chance do you have? I guarantee if you ask someone who has generated sensational results from an abbreviated training program that they will believe in that system heart and soul. The same will be for someone who is following a more volume-orientated approach. They won’t be turning around and giving praise for the high-load work as they are pumping their way to continual gains – they in turn have total belief in the approach they are following.

    So the moral of the story, all programs can deliver big time results. There are too many people and too many styles of training with RESULTS being the proof that we cannot be convinced any other way. And you can be assured that form all the successful athletes, they were consistent in their training and also had total belief in what they were doing and what they were going to achieve.

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