Free Expert Tips To Train For A Marathon Need advice to run a marathon? Or maybe you want to complete your 42km in a faster time? Check out these free expert tips and nutritional advice to assist your training.
Sick of pumping out sets and not seeing that Adonis in the mirror? You’re not alone. “The gym drop-out rate increases when people don’t see results,” says Robin Gargrave, a personal trainer. To ensure your gym card doesn’t become a bookmark, and you do see that new man in the mirror, follow this two-step plan: First, you’ll stop making the classic workout blunders that are stopping your body in its tracks. Then you’ll start squeezing the maximum possible results from every gym minute with the world’s most effective workout. Best of all, it’s only three exercises, three times a week.
1 YOU FINISH YOUR REPS
Fast, heavy lifting uses more of the fibres with the most growth potential, but you tire fast – in 15 minutes or less. Then, you’re left struggling with weaker fibres. There are two warning signs: (1) The speed of your reps slows, and (2) you shorten your range of motion. At this point, it’s better to end the set than keep going with compromised speed or form. It seems like an “off for a sit in the steam room” cop out, but stopping early works if you don’t make mistake No. 5.
2 YOU DO TOO MANY REPS
As a beginner, you’ll gain more strength using 60 per cent of your 1-rep max, a weight you can raise for 15 to 20 reps. But gym regulars need 80 per cent of their 1-rep max to boost strength, a weight you can lift for eight reps per set. Do you really use weights in that range? If you do multiple sets of 8 to 10 reps, you don’t. The trouble is, even the Arnies among us can’t lift near-max weights on every exercise of every workout. Fortunately, there’s a loophole if you don’t make mistake No. 3.
3 YOU LIFT TOO SLOWLY
Traditional wisdom says you should lift weights slowly. “Control” is essential for good form but “slow” is holding you back. The faster you lift, the better the results. Fast lifts activate the muscle fibres with the most growth potential, plus they crank up your heart rate and metabolism. Anything worth lifting is better lifted fast. Lifting fast gives you the same growth with less weight. And though you should lower slower than you lift, don’t stress about the tempo; just return to the start without shifting your body out of alignment.
4 YOU DO TOO MANY EXERCISES
Forget exercises that work muscles in isolation. Each session you’ll now do (see The World’s Most Effective Workout) is built around
one lower-body exercise and two upper-body exercises, one for pushing and one for pulling. These will work all your muscles in combination. By working your larger muscle groups, you’ll burn a lot more calories.
5 YOU DON’T TAKE ENOUGH BREAKS
Every muscle rule book has targets for a fixed number of sets and reps, but avoiding mistake No. 1 means you won’t always hit them.
Instead, focus on total reps and let the sets take care of themselves. If your workout specifies 5 sets of 5 reps, 25 is your total – it doesn’t matter how many sets it takes to get there. Taking more sets means you get more from those reps because you’re doing more work with your biggest, strongest muscle fibres.
“After two months on this programme, the average 75kg man should add 7kg of muscle,” says strength and conditioning coach Nick Grantham. “The first month’s gains may be more modest. But then, you’ll balloon. Take at least 3 litres of water and 4,000 calories a day, including about 110g of lean protein.”