Welcome to ‘The Art of Movement’ - my weekly newsletter!
This newsletter is not just an opportunity for me to touch base with my dear patrons and show my gratitude for your monthly support, but also to offer you a 5 minute, easily-digestible read around the world of health, fitness and exercise. Here I will troubleshoot many common difficulties my clients experience, offer practical, actionable solutions for you to put to work in your life immediately, and of course provide my weekly motivation in the form of a favourite quote, and a takeaway lesson from it.
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Week 15 - Priorities
Happy Friday my legendary patrons! Thank you so much for your continued support - I hope you’ve been able to catch my latest video about a lovely little bit of equipment called the trap bar. I’ve had covid for the last 10 days or so, and have been a bit stretched for getting my content out there, but am looking forward to putting more videos together for you all.
The most important thing when you are working towards better health, fitness or wellbeing is (alongside goal setting and general consistency) is having a set of priorities. When you have priorities, it provides you with a mini-checklist of ideals you have committed to ensuring you put at the forefront of your week.
I could, for example, have the priority of strength training - what kind of progress would I then be making if I got to the end of the week and had completed 2 x 5k runs, a yoga session, and 3 long walks?
Of course, it looks like a semi-productive week full of movement, but in terms of my priorities (which hopefully align with some kind of training objectives), I have not truly been effective.
So what should your priorities be?
Well, sadly I can’t tell you! Your priorities need to align with... your priorities! That is to say, your exercise priorities need to align with your life priorities. Are you simply trying to get in the habit of exercising properly for the first time? Are you somebody who runs distance well but doesn’t know the meaning of lifting? Or the other way round? Are you a seasoned pro with everything else in order, looking to take your 100kg deadlift to 150kg?
If you are new to exercise and just pursuing a good degree of general fitness, you may just need to prioritise having a varied training schedule which includes strength, gentle cardio, intense cardio, and all the flexibility stuff too, as well as general daily movement, probably in equal measure.
I personally have some basic non-negotiables which I make my priority, which not only reflect my lifestyle and objectives, but also have a strong degree of support from the scientific community. Here are 2 examples:
Sprint 1-2 x per week: Sprinting is the biggest and best fat shredding, lean muscle building activity which for some reason, nobody wants to touch. Why does nobody do it? Perhaps fear of the intensity, fear of injury, lack of physical preparedness, lack of motivation, and many more possible reasons. But in my opinion if you want to become fitter and more athletic, this is by far the quickest and easiest way to do it, because it takes barely any time at all (10-15 sprints, each lasting 10-20 secs, with 20-50 sec recoveries, total session time c. 15 mins), and only needs to be done a couple of times per week.
I achieve my weekly sprinting either through my Sunday league football matches (where I am required to sprint at least 10-20 times per game at varying distances). Or I will carry out a sprint session at the gym or outdoors, which generally consists of the following:
100m or 10s sprint / 20s recovery x 6
3 min rest
Repeat 2 more times (total - 18 sprints)
These sprints can also be carried out on alternative equipment if you don’t like running - for example cycling sprints on the watt bike, rowing machine sprints, or ski erg sprints. Sprinting is not only going to help you become fitter and build muscle across your whole body 10x quicker than steady exercise, but it is also going to improve your performance in distance activities (because your top speed - your ‘ceiling’ - becomes higher).
Strength train 3 x per week - my next priority is to try to ensure each week I carry out at least 3 strength training sessions. This usually consists of 1 ‘Push’ session, 1 ‘Pull’ session and 1 ‘Lower’ session. This allows me to pay a good deal of attention to the whole body, usually carrying out big compound movements which target multiple muscle groups, followed by supplementary exercises which then focus on isolating smaller muscles, and targeting weak points of my body.
Lifting heavy shit, along with sprinting is the 2nd no-brainer for anybody with athletic aspirations. It will help reduce injury occurrence, assist you further in slow steady endurance exercise, as well as improve your sprinting capabilities, going hand in hand with this priority.
Other high quality priorities which I try to hold high up my list but won’t go into today:
120+ mins of zone 2 cardio
Touch max HR once per week
Single leg eccentric calf training (achilles tendonitis avoidance)
Nordic curl 1x per week
That’s all for this week! Please spread the word about my Patreon channel so more people can enjoy the videos and newsletters!