Finish Strong (Go farther not longer)

When my clients come to see me they are often a bit anxious. They know that they are going to be challenged. They know that they are going to sweat and be breathing hard. When the workout is over they feel that they have had enough. At the end of the session I often check in with them and if they feel anything was left out I finish them hard and make sure they leave feeling like they have reached their limit for this day. I never train anyone who is sick or injured. If they are even slightly compromised I send them home. They can do low intensity workouts on their own. Or better yet, rest.

Unfortunately, 99% of personal trainers I know do the following. They tell their clients to come in early to walk on the treadmill or ride a stationary bike for a warm-up. Then they train them for an hour or so with no real intensity as they talk about nothing or look at themselves in the mirror. Finally, when they finish, they remind the client to hit that extra “cardio” for 30 – 45 – 60 minutes after or somewhere in between their sessions together. No wonder so many people get so little from their training. It actually disgusts me to see these so called trainers take peoples money week in and week out and fail to deliver any real, noticeable improvement in body composition or performance.

Unlike most trainers, I often have my clients finish with some hard “cardio” style training at the end of the strength portion of our session. Rather then have them slog away for some random period of time, just to log a few more minutes or miles. I give them a very specific goal. Do more work then they did in the previous session. The time they will work for remains a constant. Using either distance or calories as the measuring stick, I tell them to get more work done in the same amount of time. Either go farther or burn more but get it done. There is only one way to accomplish this and that is to work harder.

This is where indoor exercise machines can really come in handy. If you have a bike, step-mill, or rowing machine, they all have a means of measuring the distance traveled or the calories burned. It does not matter if the numbers are accurate, what they are, is consistent. If you program the machine with the same basic information it will provide you with consistent feedback.

Here is how to incorporate this style of training in to your current plan. After your weight session, take 3-5 minutes to recover and drink some water. Next, choose your machine. I like the Step-Mill. Set a specific amount of time and use the same amount of time from session to session. Let’s say you have chosen 12 minutes. Have the client perform this 12 minutes as hard as they can handle. Either cycling the intensity up and down via an interval model or just maintaining a constant but very challenging pace. Record either the distance covered in meters, miles, floors-climbed etc or the total calories burned. Now, the next time you see them, they have a very specific goal in mind. Go further or burn more then they did in the previous session.

This style of training works well outdoors as well. If you are training yourself at home or even working with a group of training partners try this. Go to a local track, football field, or running trail and set a specific time limit for the day. Now just proceed as described above. Cover as much distance as possible in the predetermined time limit. Using the 12 minutes described above I might do this as follows. After a 5-10 minute general warm-up I would set my timer for 12 minutes and get set on either the track or football field. As I start the timer, I take off running. I can sprint until I gas and then walk as need be to recover or just do my best to maintain a constant, hard pace. When the timer goes off I will record how many laps I completed on the track or how many lengths of the field I was able to cover in the 12 minutes. Next time I will do more.

Keep this up and if you are training on your own you will be amazed at how fast your body starts to change. If you are a trainer, once you incorporate this style of “cardio” training into your sessions you will have a lot of very fit and very happy clients on your hands.

 PAU for NOW