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Posts Tagged ‘performance’

Discipline is a Beautiful Thing

Many people have a go at mixed martial arts, the military, boxing… and things like that.

I take the opposite view.

Safety in mma and boxing is proven to be better than the nfl and rugby, and similar to hockey.

True, if a trained fighter beats the hell out of a civilian for looking at him sideways… or a president sends an army to level a population for oil or money… it is despicable, deplorable.

But that’s a human and society problem, not a martial arts or military one.  They are about being the best you can be – a path to discipline, confidence, and purpose.  Great commodities.

For every thug that uses his skills to assault an innocent, there are thousands that were taken away from violence, gangs and drugs – and put in a positive direction.

The military and sports are also on the cutting edge in terms of learning and performance.  These discoveries can then be brought to the wider public – for the betterment of mankind.

One of those areas is nutrition;  an important key to mastering oneself.

Enter George Lockhart.

George was the nutrition specialist in the US marine core.

When operatives needed to fuel properly for missions, when they needed to cut weight or gain weight or increase performance… they would knock on George’s door.

It wasn’t long before word was spreading into the sporting arena.

MMA fighter and former marine Brian ‘All American’ Stann came to George Lockhart and asked him if he’d help him cut weight for his next fight.

They worked together, and Brian never found it easier to make weight or perform better.  Then Jon Jones came to the party.  Many more followed.  The latest ones being Holly Holm and Conor McGregor, who describe GL as a genius.

That he is.  He’s not just the best in the MMA business, he’s the best in the business.

I’ve never come across anyone who lays it out so well and so exactly.

He talks about three factors:  Fueling the body with exactly what it needs when it needs it, staying ahead of hunger… and controlling hormones.

That way you’re not fighting your body.

It doesn’t react with hunger hormones or fat retaining hormones (in reaction to starvation and other problems).

The result is being able to eat good portions, at regular intervals… even when losing weight.

There is no ambiguity.  You eat this at this time, in this amount…  then this will happen over the next week.  Boom.

‘Your day is different today…’  ‘Okay, here’s what you do’… down to the gram and the minute.

‘Your workout will be 45 minutes and will be at this intensity’…  ‘Okay, here’s exactly how you fuel it.’

Now there’s a guy that knows his stuff.  My kind of guy.

I’ve tried so many diets.  Many were good.  Some were revolutionary and worked like a charm… to a point.

But there was never a perfect solution.  It was never comprehensive or exact enough… probably because they hadn’t things wrapped down tight enough.

There were always some sort of concessions involved, usually to do with diminished purr-formance.

So I tried George’s plan.

He created this software called FitnessVT.  You log in your goal, your activity level for that day, your workouts etc.

And each morning you enter your weight before you eat.  It spits out exact instructions for the day, as per his algorithms.

It takes all sorts of things into account, even down to balancing sodium/potassium and calcium/magnesium ratios, which play a role in performance, health and even weight loss.

You can swap foods you don’t like or don’t have, for similar ones.

It’s just the thing I wanted for a long time.  In four weeks I’ve burned 8 pounds of fat, without losing any muscle… and it was pretty easy.  I hadn’t much to lose, so it is even more impressive.  I feel great and I know exactly what to do every step of the way, without having to work it out.

I can’t recommend this higher, and believe me I don’t recommend things lightly.

If you want to eat heartily, eat well and reach any weight, fat loss, muscle gain or performance goal… you’ve just found the solution.

Best,

Brian Timlin

www.precisionphysique.com

www.nextlevelsportsprogram.com

P.S.  Other than looking and feeling better than you ever have, here’s what else you can look forward to: balanced hormones, increased anti-aging hormones, youthful skin, drastically reduced inflammation, increased energy, well being and better recovery.

It’s no good abfabulising and buttsculpting like a fitness model if you’re doing it via drugs or starvation. Eventually, it will all crumble. Even good diets, like intermittent fasting (when it is done correctly), ketogenic diets or carb backloading usually have some difficulties and/or concessions involved.

With this method, everything just gets better… it’s totally sustainable and it works for every person – 100% of the time.

P.S.S.  FitnessVT is so good that many elite fighters that work with George also comment that they just have to use the software and don’t even need his personal assistance.

It’s all they need.  It’s all you will ever need too.

Get on board today and it will change your life forever

Cryogenically Frozen People Coming Back From The Dead

There are 300 cryogenically frozen people in the world today.  They are hoping in the future they can be thawed and brought back to life.

Seems a bit far fetched.  But maybe at some point they will have electric Chi machines or something that can be perfectly calibrated to put the life force back in a human being.

cryogenics
To say their consciousness will be the same is another leap though.  Will they remember anything?

It seems a bit space age or like something from Star Trek.

Then again, if you told people 150 years ago that you could have a face to face conversation with someone on the other side of the world, it would have seemed equally daft.

Humanity marches on.

If they wake up I’d imagine they will also need some serious rehab and a solid exercise plan… to become healthy and able again.

I wonder if in the future they will still be using dumbass weight machines (and many dumbbell and barbell exercises) that build imbalanced physiques and cause inflexibility, poor mobility and injuries.

It may even be worse in the future.  The machines could also be setup to send an electric impulse to the muscle to make it contract on its own and lift the weight held on the machine.

It wouldn’t surprise me.  I mean, they’ve even started such prototypes already with those ab stimulator belts.

They are missing the whole point of human development and performance (including the best look).  It is to do with brain development as much as anything else; things like… coordination, balance, stability, calmness under tension, muscle control, spatial awareness etc.  It is about functional movements that we evolved doing, for good reason – they are what served us best as a species.

These natural exercises also happen to create the best physiques; lean, muscular, balanced, agile, strong and quick.

I’ll tell you one thing, now and in the future, the best athletes will still know the right way to do things.  They will do half of it, most of it or all of it.  Otherwise they won’t be the best.

The Next Level Sports Program is a blueprint for human development and performance.

Everyone doing this is guaranteed to put gold around their neck in sport, business or any pursuit they follow.

It’s that fundamental and getting to the core of what works for us as humans.

It will be the same when those people are thawed, fall out of their melted ice cubes… and crack into a thousand pieces…  ‘Whoops, sorry bout that.’

Best thing to do is live your life to the full NOW.  When you die you die, if you ask me.  Get busy livin.

No beth-er way to do that than with The Next Level Sports Program.

Yours,

Brian Timlin

I thought he was having a stroke…

I have a friend who smokes a pipe.  He’s one of my older friends.

I play golf with him.  On one occasion we were playing in the dunes of Belmullet, Co Mayo… and I was up on the tee with our other two playing partners, when I spotted Owen lying down in the fetal position under a big mound.

He’s no spring chicken at 70, so I thought he was having a stroke or something.

I jumped off the tee and sprinted over to him.  As I got closer I realised he was just sheltering from the wind, to light his pipe.

I cursed at him.

He looked up laughing, the leg of the snuff furnace clasped between his lips… and he made that popeye ‘pbop pbop’ move out of the side of his mouth – puffing bursts of smoke into the air.

I have to say I love the smell of it.

Well you might think a man who smokes a pipe is vested with great wisdom… but you couldn’t be further from the truth.

Haha, just joking Owen.  In fairness, he does have a lot of depth and magnanimity to his Mayo soul.

In fact, I’d even go so far as to call him one of my mentors… or someone I’d seek advise from.

Just don’t tell him I said that.

Next thing he’d be at the pulpit whacking his pipe off the bible.  He’s a lot more dedicated to his faith than a more wayward soul like myself.  You have to respect a man of the code, even if I don’t agree with a lot of it.

Amen to that brutha…

We were playing golf again last week.  After the round ‘The Pipe’ cracked open an oyster and popped out a pearl for us to ponder and polish.

It went something like this…

‘They say we should never buy meat in Aldi, but I bought some fillet steaks there during the week and my wife and I both agreed it was the nicest meat we’ve had in years.’

For those of you that don’t know Aldi, they are a European company that found a way to source and distribute products of equal, and in some cases better, quality – at a much lower price.

On a big shop you can expect to save between €30 to €50.  It’s amazing really.

Why would you shop anywhere else?

What they do looks simple, but years of trial and error, research and testing went into perfecting their system.

Et al with what we do here with The Next Level Sports Program.

It looks simple, and it is, but there are thousand and thousands of hours gone into the end result.

Having the knowledge of WHY certain methods work so much better is also invaluable.

Sometimes we are duped into confusing simplicity and price with QUALITY.

The Next Level Sports Program is an elite program… that applies to everyone’s life, not just sportspeople.

PhD’s are telling us this is how people will be taught in college degree courses in the future.

I strongly suggest you order today before we come to our senses and mark it up to Mayfair prices – as that is what it is truly worth.

Now it’s your turn to zoom up in performance. Click here to order today

Yours,
Brian Timlin

Gymnasts don’t use reps, sets and 3 days a week routines

I’m all for knowing a lot of the science behind getting the most from your training, but it’s not the most important factor.

The most important factor is just training, a LOT.  If you do that you’ll know what works for you and why anyway.  Then you can start to read a few books and educate yourself.  You can try things out and see how it goes for you.

When you are starting though you just need to get going, try just about anything.  See what effect it has.

When gymnasts train they just do the moves, and do them for hours everyday.

gymnast

Trainers nowadays are chronically afraid of overtraining, but that’s often due to doing ridiculous things that you know you shouldn’t be doing anyway.

It’s hard to overtrain using bodyweight exercises, and that’s not to say they don’t get to extremely high resistance, because they do with using one arm or difficult leverage points like handstand push ups etc.  The more natural the training the better because involving all the smaller muscles, skill, coordination and balance engages the brain more, which hugely improves results and also recovery.  Static contractions, kettlebells, bodyweight exercise, some weights exercises and playing sport are ‘natural training’.  The body is amazing at adapting to hard and regular training after a few weeks, especially if it is a sport or natural types of training.

If you just commit to training everyday or almost everyday, over time, you’ll work out how much and how hard to train.

You can also read up on sets and reps and try things out.

My point here is that a lot of people are getting caught up in the how and forgetting the main factor is to keep taking action.  The person who just keeps doing the training and improving his/her strength (even if they do it ‘wrong’) will end up getting way better results than the person who does all the reps and sets to a tee, but doesn’t push hard enough to improve regularly and turns up sporadically.

Those fellas that exercise on the monkey bars just go and train every day or every second day and do the best they can.  They aim to get better, and do so regularly.  They usually are training 6-12 months before they show any interest in the science of it, if they ever do.  Either way, they end up with amazing strength, athleticism and ripped muscular physiques.

So I’m going to break down for you what is really important:  Train a lot, train as naturally as possible and aim to improve at it regularly.  That’s it.

The rest of it is just fine tuning.

The Dragon’s favourite exercise

Bruce Lee is famous for his explosive speed, strength and his very ripped physique.  His abilities came from his superior mind-body connection.  He created this largely from using isometric exercise.  Isometrics are static contractions.  It is a powerful combination of mental focus and physical exercise, because you are creating the contraction mentally.

BruceLee

If you show off your bicep to someone and mentally flex or contract the muscle to tighten it, you are doing isometrics.  If animals in the wild who live and die by survival instinct and one of the greatest athletes of our time use these exercises extensively, then I’m sure you’ll agree this is an exercise worth looking at.

The uses and possibilities of isometrics are endless.  It is very helpful for flexibility in alternating contractions with relaxing into the stretch.  I’ve a whole report on my website about that, which is a great thing to use.  You will find it mind boggling how much further you can stretch immediately using this method.

Static contractions are proven to create 5% more strength every week in any muscle trained 3 times per week or more.

You can also hit just about any angle, any part of the range of motion and even the smallest muscles using isometrics.  The usefulness of this is huge.  For one thing, it makes it a lot easier to do sport specific exercises or target muscles needing rehab.

Add to all this the fact that you are creating a powerful link from the mind/brain to the muscles and you have something very powerful.

As we point out a lot here, the more your brain is involved during exercise the more you are going to get out of it in terms of performance, hormone response, neurological and physical adaptations.

However, SC not a complete exercise either.  I wouldn’t recommend isometrics as a stand alone routine.  You aren’t really strengthening your joints without putting actual weight on them, so isotonic exercise or movement with resistance is also needed.  You are also not practising movement.

However, isometrics are quick and easy to do and are a phenomenal compliment to any type of training.  Some things to note are that often the strength you gain from isometrics will only translate 10 degrees either side of the point of contraction.  In other words, it is a good idea to contract your muscles at about 3 different places in its range of motion.

It is also a good idea to relax your muscles periodically in a session, maybe after three or four 6-10 second contractions.  Relaxing only takes a few seconds, but it is good to shake the tension out, release and relax the muscles again.  Using your breathing is very useful for doing this as well.

You only really need to be aware.  Most people probably won’t even need to do the relaxation part, but a lot of us are so used to holding onto tension that we may not let go properly after a contraction exercise.

Tension when you don’t need it hampers your coordination, calmness and balance.  Learn how to avoid that, by learning how to relax your muscles as well.

When you picture Bruce Lee training what you see is total body control.  He is able to tense and relax at will in perfect timing.  He’s gained a lot of this from static contractions.  You will see him pull against a rope as hard as he can, push against something and then start exploding into speed moves.  This is all using the mind-muscle connection over and over again to grease the groove and create better and better neurological connections between the brain and the muscles.  That’s where his extreme muscle density, ridiculous speed and explosive power came from.

Thank you for your legacy and wisdom Mr. Lee.

‘Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one’, Bruce Lee.

Why dancing is one of the best exercise routines

If you picture a scene in the amazon rain forest full of animals, what is going on?

If they aren’t mating, eating or trying to eat or avoid being eaten, they are singing, dancing and playing.  I’m not saying animals are better than humans, because they are not as developed and don’t have the ability to reason, inspire or create metaphor.  However, I think we often forget that we are animals too. We’ve lost a lot of our instinct and what actually works for us to make our lives better.

In that way we can certainly learn a lot from them.  So let’s go back to that scene and let’s look at the animals singing, dancing and playing.  It’s marvelous when you think about it.  It’s a cacophony of the senses.  They are really in the moment, in the flow and doing great things without effort.  We can really struggle with that.

Our world has moved so fast that we’ve devised a lot of education, lifestyles and practises that were created without thought as to whether we are designed for it.

As a result we are often stuck in the analysis part of the brain, which only makes up a meager 2% of the grey matter.  The rest of it is based on sensory images, and we seriously neglect that to our cost.  Our perceptive ability and potential is often hugely hampered as a result.

In the previous articles, we’ve talked about using more of the brain while exercising to get better results and also to enhance the rest of our lives.

We’ve talked about sport, coordination, balance and ambidexterity.  Well, what about music?  RHYTHM.

So important as well.  Rhythm connects our auditory sense and kinesthetic sense.

What do nearly all top sportpeople, dancers or athletes have in common?  Great rhythm.  Wouldn’t it be a good idea then for us to look at this important factor?

Would a dance class for exercise be a good idea?  Of course it would.  Sure you are using more of your brain, you have to coordinate, get in the moment, stay in rhythm, connect with other people and also keep your balance.

It’s a marvelous thing to do.

If you watch a monkey swinging from a tree, a quick lizard moving at pace along the ground, or a gazel taking off on a sprint what you see is fluid movement.  It is in beautiful natural rhythm.

Dance is a great way to connect this up.  Team sport is also a great way to develop it.  A good team movement is all about rhythm.  It’s not quick, cohesive and elegant without it.  But dance is an easier way to develop this because rhythm in team sport takes some individual development first.

For strength, you can also master bodyweight movement using good technique, rhythm and copy animal bodyweight movements like the lizard walk.  There’s a flow, coordination, balance and rhythm to those movements you just can’t get with a conventional weights exercise.  It will also show in overall results; how you look, how you feel and how you perform.

Really consider taking a dance or zumba exercise class.  It will do wonders for you, even if you start with two left feet.  You can start to get great results just by improving and practising a few times a week.  You only have to look at the enjoyment, posture, fluidity, muscularity and tone of a professional dancer to see what it can do for us.

If you start you’ll be gaining those things too.

All you really have to do is keep showing up to enjoy yourself.

Why you want to be like a frog

The frog is an advanced creature at jumping, swimming and generally using his/her legs fluidly, explosively and with awesome strength.

We humans can learn a lot from the humble amphibian.

We are tensed up.

You want to be loose as a goose for various reasons.  It makes you feel better, it gives you more energy, mental clarity and you become better at doing just about any task.

It’s all about balance.  Strength is good, but flexibility is more important.

It’s fine to build muscle or strength or both, but don’t neglect flexibility in the process.  You can have powerhouse muscle’s like a frogs legs, but still be fluid and loose.

There’s a former world champion wrestler called Matt Furey.  He’s burly and naturally muscular and he’s also done lots of strength training.  If there was ever a guy that you’d think wouldn’t be flexible it’d be him, yet is muscles are so ‘soft’ that he can do the splits.  He achieved that later on by flexibility work.

That’s where you want to be.

It’s all about balance.  We tend to be tensed up so we need to stretch out for relaxation, stress relief and health.  We sit forward a lot, so we need to stretch in certain directions that bit more than others.  Strength is great too, but its the other side of the coin to flexibility and having both is the best place to be, for health, performance and injury prevention.

It is also better to strengthen using your own bodyweight (some free weight exercises are good too) to improve coordination, balance, hit many angles, smaller muscles and strengthen the spine so you are getting way more out of it and also not creating imbalances.

You don’t want to neglect muscles, because that also creates tension and leaves you open to injury or back alignment issues.

Note: There are ways to increase bodyweight exercises to ridiculous resistance and difficulty levels.  Some people think there are only a few simple bodyweight exercises like two handed push ups and pull ups.  That’s only start of it.

The animals in the wild have it right.  They have an instinct that many of us have lost.  Everyday, they stretch themselves out, they do static contractions for strength, they exercise naturally using their own bodyweight, they play and spar with each other.

It gives them the best chance to enjoy life and survive.  Similar training gives us the best chance to survive, be at our happiest and flourish.  The ancients observed animals and created great methods like Yoga (you don’t have to do Yoga per se).

We just have to start where we are, see the benefits and keep improving until we are a master like Matt Furey.  All it takes is a little bit of daily exercise and rejuvenation time.

I like what Irish UFC fighter Conor McGregor says about training and how he gets ready for fights.  Many people would think the best way to get ready for a fight would be heavy sparring and pumping weights.  McGregor does very little of that, he spends 90% of his training time on skills, balance, flexibility, fluid animal movements and bodyweight training.  Not many UFC fighters train like this, but he’s got the best physique, speed, he’s the strongest and is currently wiping out his whole division.

Be like a frog.

Creatine: Is it good, and is it safe?

Creatine is one of the few very good supplements worth the money. It works to increase energy, muscle size and power.  It’s not uncommon to see increases of 10% in strength/power output and 8lbs of muscle gain from creatine alone.

My advice is to use creatine monohydrate. This is the most common and most researched form of the substance. It is also perfectly safe (according to the 150 research papers I’ve viewed on it). *See the end of this article for safe dosages and monitoring any reactions

There are other forms of creatine, creatine ethylester (CEE), that is broken down into creatinine, which is toxic to the body. I strongly suggest you avoid this type of creatine or anything other than creatine monohydrate, because this is the one we know works best and is also completely safe.

The buffered Ph neutral creatine called KreAlklyn is a madey uppey type of creatine. It is just mixed with creatine salts and baking soda. They then tell you that creatine monohydrate will be largely broken down into creatinine in the body, unless it is buffered like theirs is.

This is not true. Creatine monohydrate mixed with water is Ph neutral and very little degrades into creatinine (not enough to be significant in any way). Plus KreAlklyn is used at a much lower dose, because it is said to be ‘much more effective since it isn’t broken down’. Again, creatine monohydrate isn’t broken down into creatinine, except minutely. The research is sound on this, so therefore KreAlklyn is just giving a very small and ineffective dose of creatine monohydrate plus baking soda. It’s a cod.

Regarding other forms of creatine, they are either less effective or simply creatine monohydrate dressed up in a prettier dress (for probably double the price).

Regarding dosage, an effective dose of creatine can be anywhere up to 35g per day. A good guide would be your bodyweight target in pounds * 0.15 = grams of creatine per day.

Most people will be around the 20-25 grams per day range.

Creatine monohydrate is pretty cheap to buy and, in my opinion, definitely worth purchasing if you are an athlete or a regular gym goer.

You do hear about the so called dangers of creatine, so I am wary in that sense.  However, I have read a lot of research papers on creatine, so have scientists I trust and I don’t see the negatives people talk about. I only see positive effects in performance & cellular and mitochrondrial health.  I’ve also used it at various times and only experienced benefits. There were no negative effects in my creatinine levels or other markers of health.

It has to be considered that there are many conflicting pieces of information and strong negative views on every type of diet out there as well. Creatine is naturally occuring in foods, especially meat. It is simply three amino-acids, which are perfectly natural.

Also make sure you are buying from a reputable source.  I buy creatine monohydrate from myprotein.ie because they provide an independent certificate of analysis for label accuracy and purity, with every batch.  This ensures you are getting what you paid for and also that there are no contaminants.

You just have to see how you react to things, because everybody is different and not every diet or supplement will work for you. The best thing we can do is decide whether we want to try it, and if we do… experiment with safe dosages, see the results and monitor any potential downsides before and after, with a health professional.

Then you can decide whether you want to continue with it or not. It’s not the biggest deal in the world, training and diet are far more important. However, creatine can also make a significant enough difference to size and performance to warrant serious consideration as a training aid.

 

 

 

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Does jogging make you slow?

Yes and no.

If you only jog for a number of months then you will get considerably slower. I experienced this myself first hand lately. I started playing soccer again after years and years of not playing, aside from maybe one game per year.

I was still speedy in those intermittent games (so long as I wasn’t socialising the night before), no pace had been lost. My stamina had been very poor though, because I’d only been strength training, playing golf and watching my diet.

This year I wanted to also get great cardiovascular fitness as well. So I added jogging three times per week to my regime.

I’m starting to play soccer regularly now. Stamina has improved considerably on the pitch, but I can’t believe how much pace and speed I’ve lost. I can keep on going and going, but my ability to keep up intense work (work capacity) and speed are almost non-existent.

So I’ve learned from this and have added sprinting and interval work into my regime. My speed is coming back and the better work capacity should follow soon as well.

To be honest, it’s not a bad idea to build an aerobic base of stamina first, because first and foremost you need to be able to keep going and also it helps your recovery from hard sessions.

As disappointed as I was with my loss of speed, the fact is I probably gave a better overall performance than the days when I had the speed, but lacked stamina.

Even when slow, I’d arrive in goalscoring positions and get back to defend a lot more, and this gives you more chance to use your hopefully decent skills and finishing. I also had more in the tank than other players as the game wore on, and started to influence the game more and score more.

It’s not easy to go straight into a full fitness regime so maybe this was a decent approach. However, I’m happy the speed is coming back. It’s a great thing to have, not just for running, but it also hugely helps your ability in having quick feet for skills and tackling.

The plan I have now is to play two 1.5-2 hour five a side games per week and do one tempo interval session as well, to cover aerobic fitness. All other sessions will be based on skills, strength, speed, agility and flexibility.

I’m replacing all jogging with the games and a tempo interval session, which is running repeats at 75% of max for 10 seconds and resting a minute or until heart rate goes to 130 bpm, and doing this for 15 to 30 minutes depending on if it is a light or full session. This is basically aerobic training done by easier sprints and work capacity training. It’s not full out intervals, which are great for work capacity, and it’s not jogging either. It’s intervals for aerobic capacity and some work capacity.

This is what sprinters do for conditioning. They are afraid of jogging causing a loss of speed and so am I now!
However, I’m not sure jogging would have any effect on speed so long as you maintain your sprint and speed work. Some boxers and mma fighters maintain blinding speed with regular jogging on top of their speed routines, so that suggests it isn’t a problem if not done in isolation.

But it may be better for athletes that need maximum speed to stick to games and tempo intervals. It is something to consider, it may be more specific to the needs of certain types of sports. In soccer for example, it is all bursts and recovery, which is more suited to tempo intervals and outright speed training on top of games and regular training.

All in all this is something that needs consideration. If you want to build an aerobic base from scratch you are probably better starting with walking alternating with jogging and building up to jogging. However, if you also need or want speed, then beware that this cardio work alone will take all speed away (over a period of months).
Have speed work as part of your routine as well, if so required.

Why I love heart rate monitors and why you should too

Training intensity is crucial for injury prevention, optimal progress, knowing what cardiovascular system you are improving, how hard to train and many more things.

Heart rate monitors give you feedback.

They will tell you how hard to train and even how often. This is invaluable.

Based on your age and maximum heart rate you can work out the heart rate zone you should be training in. For aerobic fitness you will want to be staying in the 70-80% zone. Any higher than this for long periods on a continual basis and you run the risk of injury or burnout.

This will also derail progress because you won’t be recovering properly. You need to train hard enough, but not over do it.

With modern heart rate monitors you can even set the heart rate zones so that it beeps when you go out of a particular zone. This really helps in my experience. There’s no ambiguity.

It’s also very easy to stick to a progressive plan this way.

The best heart rate monitors I’ve used are Polar fitness watches. They are great. Also beware that most HRM’s on machines aren’t always accurate for some reason. You are better off just biting the bullet and getting a proper one.

Nowadays there are also Heart Rate Variability or HRV testers. These are really useful in indicating how well you’ve recovered and how hard to train on any given day. This is also really useful because it can be hard to know when to go all out and when to train easy. This gives you physiological markers that tell you what would be best. There is a sweetspot for the most effective training and it is enough stimulation to force adaptation but not so much to burn you out.

If you overtrain you are open to injury, underperformance or adrenal burnout, and this can totally derail your training until you heal.

I use a HRV monitor called ithlete everyday. It cost £40 and comes with an app. You wrap the sensor over your index finger and plug it into your phone. The app then tells you what condition you are in today, how recovered you are and how hard to train. It is so useful.

These tools give you a better plan, one that is more enjoyable, more definite, increases performance and helps you stay clear of preventable injuries.

I highly recommend making a relatively small investment in these training monitors that will give you benefit for years to come.