Fitness training has undergone a great transformation in the last number of years. The days of bodybuilding routines or pure endurance training are gone for the average fitness enthusiast. Why I hear you ask? Well although they did originally work, people in general were more active and thus stayed in shape. Today's population are bigger than ten or twenty years ago, less active through more office jobs and have a worse diet than any other generation before them due to an increase in the 'fast food' generation. Taking all this into account we have a population who want things done right here and now. It is up to fitness professionals to design training that will get the client in the best shape as quickly as possible.
So how do we go about this? Well today clients want in and out of the gym in 60 mins ideally three times per week. To begin we need to have our clients perform a dynamic warm-up lasting 5-10 minutes. Gone are the days of static stretching before training. A dynamic warm-up helps activate the muscles before the main portion of the program and also helps improve movement patterns. Exercises such as ankle mobilization, walking lunges, knee hugs will ensure the body is ready for the next stage.
The next component essential in today's programming is the strength workout. Strength training is so important for general well being and movements. Power and strength both decline as we get older, both of which are essential for functional ability ie the ability to perform basic tasks such as rising from a chair. The most important aspect is that both power and strength can be increased no matter what the age of the person. Movements incorporating every major muscle group such as squat and deadlift variations, combined with power movements such as Olympic lifts and plyometrics are essential. Caution must be given not perform plyometric training without proper instruction. The early emphasis should be based on learning how to land and stabilize.
Two other components of a modern plan must be prehabilation / corrective exercise and core training. Constantly sitting at a desk or over a computer leaves the modern client with shoulder problems and extremely poor posture. Exercise to correct these problems or indeed prevent these is essential. When discussing core training I am not advocating hundreds or crunches, we must learn to stabilize the core muscles with exercises such as the plank and various other variations.
The last component of the science of fitness has pointed us in the direction of high intensity interval training as part of our cardiovascular training. Gone are the days of long slow boring cardio. This is just not efficient. Numerous research articles have shown the benefits of high intensity intervals for improving the aerobic capacity of a person as well as being the most effective for losing weight. It is not about the calories burnt during an exercise. Interval Training and strength workouts have been shown to significantly increase the metabolism well into 24-48 hrs post workout. This means more pounds lost.
Finally diet is key to obtaining success in getting in shape. Although not a specific training component it is essential to eat a well balanced and nutritious diet in order to either lose fat or increase lean muscle mass. Failure to do so will only lead to minimal gains.
Everything has changed and we need to change with the times. Make our workouts more efficient and more effective to suit our new clients needs.