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How to train for the Commando Challenge (Part 2 of 3)

UPPING YOUR GAME


By now you should be well on your way to making a strong foundation of basic fitness, strength and starting to feel that your overall conditioning is improving. Now is the time to start thinking about upping your game to increase your fitness and strength gains.


FITNESS PROGRESSION


Naturally you’ll want to see your fitness level and ability progress from week to week up until the day of the Commando Challenge. However, you’ll probably find that in the real-world things don’t always go according to plan, and you may find you hit mental and physical barriers that stop you in your tracks. Or you’re catching every cold or illness that comes your way.

If and when this happens, the best thing to do is not panic or beat yourself up. It happens to us all. You need to understand that your body is not a conveyer belt of results, progressing onwards forever. And we all have our limits.

Just take a day off from training if you feel you need extra recovery and rest. Take a step back from your training a little. Just by cutting back on your running mileage or cutting back from 4-5 training days to perhaps 3 or even 2 training sessions a week will give your body time to catch up. This can also offer rest bite for your nervous system and help build your immune system back up. You may even find that your knees and other joints will thank you for the additional rest and recovery too.


MAKE AN EXERCISE DIARY

Making an exercise diary is an easy way to keep track of your fitness training. But you’ll need to be strict with it. You can use a basic diary just for your training.


Write down on what day you exercise and what training you did.        


Write down how you felt, was your session productive? Were you feeling unmotivated and sluggish? Or did you have endless energy and motivation?         Give yourself as much feedback as you can. This will offer you important information to whether you need to change or adapt your training.


NUTRITION


It may sound boring but we all know good nutrition is important for general health and also for your recovery from training. Your nutritional habits (good and bad) will have an impact on how you perform during your workout.

For general healthy eating and good sound daily nutrition I offer a free 14-day healthy eating plan which you can download from my website. Here I offer you some great meal planning ideas. Of course, not everything will suit everyone but take what information you need and make it your own.


COMBINING CARDIO AND MUSCULAR ENDURANCE


You may remember me mention in part one how cardio and strength are closely linked. Improving your cardio and muscular endurance is a great way to up your game, and I’m going to show you how you can do it.

I’ll try to keep this simple for you all but please use your imagination as you can change or add exercises to suit your needs and your fitness level…


SPEED CIRCUIT


Choose approximately ten various exercises to construct your circuit. If you’re still a little new to exercise, then I suggest you keep these exercises basic at first. Aim to do three to four circuits with no more than one minute rest between each circuit. Even though this circuit has low impact exercises, it doesn’t mean the intensity will be low. The harder you go, the high the intensity goes!


Press Ups    Crunches    Squats    Dips    Hip raises    Lunges    Bicep curls    Lying alternate elbow/knee also known as bicycle crunches or reverse crunches.    Squats or try squat jumps, jump leaps or box jumps    Dolphin press or plank (aim for 30 seconds to one minute)


You can add these harder type exercises when you feel you’re ready.


LET’S GET ON WITH IT THEN!


If you’re finding it difficult to time your exercises then simply change back to repetitions. Logically you’ll want to keep to a low repetition range that would fit in to a 30 or 20 seconds time frame. So perhaps eight to ten repetitions should be fine. The lower your repetitions, the more of a cardio feel you’ll get.

BUT WE’RE NOT FINISHED JUST YET


Try adding a pure cardio effort at the end of each circuit. If you have a large area or garden, then perform a series of sprints three to five times. However, if you’re struggling for space then just stick to static cardio exercises. For a guideline try these for ten repetitions each and do three to four times through:


Jumping jack    Straddle jumps    Spotty dogs    Fast high knee raises    Jog on the spot

Or try skipping for a minute or two.


KEEP TO THE PLAN

There’s no need to change your two-week training programme unless you need to or just fancy a change. For a beast of a training session try doing your circuit and then go for a short run. Or do a long run and then perform just one circuit when you get home. Go with what works for you.


TRAINING WEEK A – MORE CARDIO TRAINING NEEDED.


Monday: Cardio run

Wednesday: Strength circuit

Friday: Cardio run


TRAINING WEEK B – MORE STRENGTH TRAINING NEEDED


Monday: Strength circuit

Wednesday: Cardio run

Friday: Strength Circuit


Should you feel you need extra help with your training then just drop me an email for a more personalised training programme. Keep an eye out for my final blog – part three of three coming out in just a few weeks.


For more training ideas see my previous Commando Challenge blog.


Jason Hodge 

Fitness Manager at Hodge Health & Fitness - Personal Trainer & Boot Camp Instructor