Are you training hard but not smart?

This week I want to stress the importance of getting back into your training safely and effectively after the new year as some of you may already be hammering yourselves with exercise to shed weight, tone up again but have you factored in time for recovery?

No then here is a few tips to make sure you keep exercising throughout 2015 safely and effective and last longer than doing it just for January/February.


Recovery – Do you have a Recovery Programme in your training? Make sure you have a day to recover from your previous workout and this can be active recovery. If you have done a really intense strength and weight training session on one day, then do a lighter aerobic workout the next day. If you  have done a really hard HIIT session try the next day doing a flexibility/toning session like Pilates and make sure you do have one day off!

Don’t overtrain. If you are working out hard everyday, your body doesn’t get time or chance to refuel and recover.

Eat clean – I suspect most of you are trying to do this at the moment and great because this is a hugely important element of your training. If you are trying to get fitter, stronger, etc. and are on a high sugar, processed food diet then chances are it is going to take much longer to reach your goal. Also don’t forget that your nutrition needs to match how you are working out so if you are looking to really build up muscle tone and doing tough strength training sessions, it is important to replace that energy with the right kind of fuel – carbs and protein. The body needs carbohydrates to refuel and to raise insulin levels so that your body can make the best use of the protein for repair.

Remember that exercise is just one element of getting healthier and not the crux of it all.

Sleep – do you get enough sleep? Sleep is the time when the body tries to repair and grow so if you are cutting your sleep hours short, you might be making your body more susceptible to injury and not get the results you are looking for. After a hard workout, maybe try 40 winks and have a quick power nap to stimulate muscle repair or make sure you get to bed by 10.30pm if you can and get a good 7 hours.

Don’t do a tough workout if you are tired – make it an easier session that day!

Train smart – The other thing to keep in mind is your technique whilst training. You might be training hard but are you training smart and managing to keep good form? Have you just gone for the hardest option in HIIT training rather than build up gradually? You really want to walk away from your fitness session feeling satisfied that you have achieved something and that you are still able to walk!

We should expect a little bit of soreness but certainly not pain!

So if you haven’t been exercising through Christmas and New Year, but are now, don’t expect to jump straight on the band wagon and be able to go full on with your exercise. Yes you can try and do that but you may find that within a couple of weeks you are feeling those aches and pains because really you should have built up your workout programme gradually to get back up to your previous level of fitness before Christmas.

Make sure you factor in those alternative workouts that are not so intense. Try Pilates which is always a good way to relax and tune into how your body is feeling and reacting to the training you are doing.

Make 2015 the year of training safely and effectively and consistently!

Happy training!