Am I ready to level up?
So, you’ve joined the gym, had your induction, got your training plan and been steadily working away at it for a few months. How do you know you’re ready to progress to the next level?
Typically, a beginner is someone who’s been training from 0-6 months, intermediate is from 6 months to around 2 years, and advanced will be someone who’s been training for 2 years and up. However, we all improve at our own pace so look out for these signs that it’s time to progress.
- You can hit your targets without feeling the effort. To see results you need to be starting to feel the burn by the end of your target, whether that’s 20 reps of weights, 15 minutes of cardio, or the end of your class. If it seems effortless it’s time to increase the intensity and move up a level!
- Your heart rate is no longer in your optimal target zone. Tracking your heart rate is a great way to see improvements in your cardiovascular fitness, whether that’s using the in-built sensors on cardio machines, or a fitness tracking wristband. For an effective cardio workout, you should be keeping within 60-90% of your maximum heart rate, so if you are below that it’s time to increase your speed or resistance.
- Your workout is boring you. If you’ve got the energy to be bored, you’re not getting challenged enough! If you’re not enjoying the workout, you are more likely to give up.
If any of these seem familiar, then congratulations! You’re no longer a beginner, you’ve made some great changes, and it’s time to shift it up a gear.
If you’re starting to plateau it’s important to increase the intensity of your workout. Once your body has adapted to its new level of fitness it becomes more efficient which means your body could build less muscle unless the challenges continue to increase.
How to advance
There are several ways to increase the intensity of your workout to move from beginner to intermediate level.
Adding more weight
If your muscles aren’t tired by the end of your set of weight lifting reps, it’s time to increase the weight you’re using. Don’t be tempted to go too heavy too soon though. You’ll see better and safer results adding one or two extra lbs at a time than by trying to add too much at once and injuring yourself.
Test the stage you’re at by adding the smallest increment of weight, try and do a set of 15 reps, and if reaching the end of those 15 with proper form is tough then you’ve found the level that you should be working at. Check in with one of our personal trainers to make sure your form is good. Good form makes for a safe and efficient workout.
If you’re not hitting your target heart rate in a cardio workout you can increase the intensity by adding resistance. This will vary depending on the machine so don’t be afraid to ask our staff to help you get the best from your machine.
This might look like increasing the incline on the treadmill or arc trainer or adding hills to your stationery bike ride. Most machines will also have pre-set intensity levels you can choose from to make it easy for you. If level 1 is no longer a challenge, then move onto level 2!
Increase your pace
A guaranteed way to get your heart pumping harder during your cardio workout is to work on increasing your pace. If previously you were working on maintaining a brisk walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes, why not note the distance you walk in that time, and see if you can try and match that distance in 9 minutes? Or if you are able to maintain 60 RPMs (revolutions per minute) on the bike for 5 minutes, try and increase it to 65, then 70.
When we want to see big results from our workouts it may feel frustrating to only increase in small increments, but studies show that slow and steady increase in exercise is the best for heart health in the long run
Level up in class
If you’ve been attending any of our classes and you’ve been starting to find them easier then well done! You’ve been putting in the work and it shows. In your next class try levelling up a step by asking your instructor for a more challenging variation.
There are countless ways to improve, and our experts will be able to get you there. Whether that’s moving up to heavier weights in Kettlebells class, learning a more challenging variation of a yoga pose, or increasing your resistance in Indoor Cycling, our instructors want to help you reach your goals, so let them know you’re ready for the next challenge!
Beat the boredom
When we’ve been doing the same workout routine for weeks or months on end it makes sense that we get bored of it. Partly due to our increased fitness, making it less challenging, and partly because we’re not getting enough variety. Adding variety to your workouts can make you more likely to stick to regular exercise, making it much more likely you will meet your fitness goals over time.
Variety not only increases enjoyment, but also makes for the best total body fitness, so aim for a mix of strength, cardio, and flexibility exercises in your training program. Why not book a session with our personal trainers to make sure you’re getting a good mix?
Nothing helps push you to your limits like tapping into your competitive side. Signing yourself up to a competition or challenge gives you a great goal to work for and will incentivise you to get the most out of your workouts. We regularly run challenges at Hove Fitness and Squash for all ages and levels. Our challenges are a great way to mix things up and keep you motivated, so why not sign up?
If it helps to have someone to compete against, why not workout with a friend? Working out with a friend who is a little bit fitter than you can increase your workout time and intensity.
If you have any questions on how to progress in your workouts then get in touch!
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