MAXIMAZING fitness results… in the same amount of time | Great Health Guide
MAXIMAZING fitness results… in the same amount of time

MAXIMAZING fitness results… in the same amount of time

This article was taken from Issue 2 of our magazine. For more articles like this, please subscribe to the Great Health Guide magazine – (subscription FREE for limited time only)
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MAXIMAZING Fitness Results… in the same amount of time written by Kat Millar

Going to the gym and doing whatever you feel like can be enjoyable and requires little thinking. But if you’re someone who wants to maximise your time spent working out and achieve results, it’s important to be strategic when designing your exercise plan. 

Planning is essential to achieving your goal in the shortest possible timeframe. If you don’t plan, you may waste a lot of time doing what you think is effective and miss what could really fast-track your results. Planning is also key to ensure you prevent over-training and under-recovery. 

The first step in setting up your exercise plan is to have a clear goal of what you want to achieve. Many people have no idea of the outcome they’re working towards. Other people set themselves too many goals, get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. 

Checking with your General Practitioner to determine your suitability before performing these exercises, is very important. 

To effectively choose your goals, start with listing all the things you want to achieve then prioritise the list into the order of importance. You may have many goals you want to achieve, such as to get strong, fit, have more energy or lose fat. You can achieve all of these things but it also helps to pick just the one most important goal and ensure that it’s specific, measurable, inspiring and has a goal-end date or deadline. 

If you’re not sure how to set specific goals around fat-loss or strength, I recommend you read these articles. [1], [2] 

Now that you have your goals in place, the next step is to put together a fitness plan that works steadily towards your goal. The best place when creating your fitness plan is to use the FITT (frequency, intensity, time and type) principle. 


Decide how many sessions you can fit into your week. The number of sessions is dependent on a few different factors including:

1. Your training experience 

2. Your goal-end date 

3. How badly you want your goal 

4. How busy you are with other commitments 

5. The type of training you will be doing

To decide on your frequency, it helps to know a bit about recovery. If you’re familiar with delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which usually occurs around 48 hours after the workout, you will know how tempting it can be to put your feet up for a few days until the soreness subsides. A more effective alternative when it comes to resistance training is to split your workouts between body parts. An example may be to exercise lower body and abs one day and your upper body on a different day. Alternatively, if you’ve been doing weight training for a while, spread your upper body muscle exercises over two separate days and focus each day on 2-3 different muscle groups. If fat-loss is a goal, you may wish to also add in some steady-state cardio after your upper body sessions. 

Recovery from aerobic sessions is much quicker than from resistance training as it generally doesn’t place too much strain on the muscles therefore you don’t need as much time to repair as you do from heavy weights. Many people can do some form of steady-state cardio more frequently. HIIT (high intensity interval training) on the other hand, requires a recovery period of about 48 hours, so I recommend that you have no more than 2-3 HIIT sessions a week. 


The less available time you have to exercise, the higher the intensity needs to be to achieve results. I recommend a mix of low, medium and high intensity in your week, as this allows for more repair time and may help prevent overtraining and reduce risk of injury. Varying the intensity can also increase enjoyment, which means you’re probably more likely to commit to a regular exercise regime long-term. 


In order to achieve your physical goals, exercise needs to be a priority in your already-busy life. When you consider how much time we have in our entire week, not a lot of time is actually required in order to get a result. Decide how much time you want to spend exercising in each session in your week. Some days you may wish to do short and hard sessions and other days if you have more time available, you can do longer but less-intense sessions. 

The amount of time you choose to invest on exercise is dependent on what you’re willing to sacrifice to achieve your goals. If you struggle to fit exercise into your day you need to avoid wasting time during your workouts and this includes being efficient with the use of equipment and space and keep to your allocated rest times. Set a timer and turn your phone onto flight-mode so you’re not tempted to check your texts or Instagram account. Otherwise the hour-long workout you planned may easily turn into 2 hours if you’re not careful. Following your planned, allocated rest periods can also help you achieve better results. 


Regardless of whether your goal is to change your body shape, increase your fitness, lose some fat or get stronger, we all need to do some form of resistance training. The type of resistance you choose to do as well as the style of training, tools and methods all depend on your goal as well as your personal likes and preferences. 

If you’ve already been training for a while, mix up your workouts with new classes, change from outdoors to indoors or vice-versa or try a new sport or activity to keep things fresh and engaging. 

Progressive Overload in Resistance Training

One of the most important laws in resistance training is the law of progressive overload, which is the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise. You can manipulate a number of variables to provide an ‘overload’ which is simply a new stimulus to challenge the body. 

These variables include exercises, sets, reps, intensity (weight lifted and/or depth, height, leverage, range of motion etc.), techniques, equipment, rest periods, tempos and overload techniques. Consider which variable/s you should change next in your well designed program. Improvements in form and range of motion (ROM) should come first and increases in reps and load should come second. 

Progressive overload should start with you doing whatever you can achieve with correct technical form. 

Progressive overload may be much harder if you’re losing body fat. Unless you’re a beginner, it can be highly challenging to increase your strength while simultaneously dropping significant body fat. 

Some lifts are more affected by fat loss than others. The weight you can lift during squats and bench press tend to decrease as you lose body fat, whereas deadlifts (loaded barbell, lifted off the ground to hips, then lowered back to the ground) can sometimes stay at the same level. 

Your strength endurance on bodyweight exercises for the upper body will probably increase when you lose weight however, so enjoy the extra reps you can push out with push ups, chins, dips, and inverted rows. 

Seven Training Planning Success Tips

1. If you’re a beginner, you will more than likely increase your strength fairly quickly as long as you’re consistent. After a long period of solid consistent training, however, you have to be changing your programs more often in order to continue to reach new levels. 

2. With exercises that have you moving a significant portion of your body, such as squats and lunges, you need to master your own bodyweight before adding load. I recommend that you are able to perform 3 sets of 15-20 full-ROM (range of motion) reps with bodyweight exercises before adding weights. 

3. When you begin an exercise, start out light and gradually work your way up. Over time you will figure out where you belong on the regression-progression continuum: which is basically the variation of an exercise from the easiest possible version to the most challenging version. 

4. When it comes to choosing the appropriate weight, choose a weight where you can safely and effectively complete the number of sets and reps to as close to failure as possible. For example, if you have decided you want to fail at 12 reps and you can do 14, increase the weight. If you can only complete 9 reps, decrease the weight until you get as close to 12 reps as possible. 

5. Focus on your own level and not on what weights others use for loading. Due to your unique body type, you’ll have an advantage with some exercises and a disadvantage with others. Avoid making comparisons with other people. 

6. Many lifts require very small increases in load over time and attempts in these particular exercises should usually involve increases in repetitions, instead of load (weight). This applies to lifts that utilise smaller loads, such as biceps curls and lateral raises, in addition to challenging bodyweight movements such as single leg deadlifts. This is especially important for women or smaller men when access to smaller weights isn’t possible. 

7. Results from weight training rarely occur in a linear nature, adaptations typically occur in waves. Sometimes you’ll make big jumps in a single week and at other times you’ll stall for a while. But over the long haul, everything should gradually go up.

Evaluate Your Performance and Your Program 

The success of a program can best be determined if you take the time to evaluate the effectiveness. I recommend you make regular times to measure your progress and make revisions to change your exercise plans. As a general rule, the body tends to adapt after about 4 weeks, so increasing things regularly will keep you moving towards your goals and pushing yourself to the next level.


If you’re not constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, it’s unlikely you’re maximising your time invested to get the most out of your sessions. If your program is working, you should be improving on most sessions. If you have been factoring in appropriate recovery times and your progress halts, it is probably time to change things again. 

Author of this article
Kat Millar works with people globally to get in better shape and improve their confidence, health and self-image. Through her coaching, training, online programs and seminars, Kat has helped close to a thousand people since 2003 to achieve their goals. She’s an award-winning figure competitor, fitness lecturer and has a passion for nutrition and behavioural psychology. She offers a range of programs for total body transformation and can be contacted through her website or her Facebook page 
This article was taken from Issue 2 of our magazine. For more articles like this, please subscribe to the Great Health Guide magazine – (subscription FREE for limited time only)
iTunesor Androidstore

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