Anyone who’s been to the gym lately will notice that it’s busier than ever this time of year.
That’s because when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, getting fit is probably one of the most common promises that people make to themselves.
But it can be daunting.
With this in mind, The Chief approached several athletic coaches at Quest University for advice on how to get in shape and stay that way.
Each coach drew from their experience coaching soccer and basketball to share some fitness tips.
What follows is some advice on how Joe or Jill Average can acquire the drive of a soccer striker along with the explosiveness of a basketball star.
For Dany Charlery, head of the women’s basketball team, it’s all about emphasizing interval training that can increase how responsive your body is to your mind.
“You’re noticing a big difference in terms of your reaction and how your body reacts to decisions you need to make,” he said of the workout program he prescribes to basketball players.
For starters, he has players do “seventeens,” which means having players run, touching sideline to sideline of the basketball court 17 times within a minute and 15 seconds.
A person starting should probably aim for a longer time to get used to it, he said.
Lunge-jumps are also a great way to train your body to get explosive power, he said.
Squats and box-jumps are also great ways to add to this conditioning, Charlery said.
Core strength is also key, he continued.
To that end, sit-ups, bicycles — laying on the ground and rotating your legs as if on a bike — and medicine ball work can really help, he said.
As another challenge, he said, he recommends getting people to do 100 push-ups each day.
This doesn’t have to be done all at once. Ten can be done just out of bed, another 10 a few hours later, and so forth.
For soccer, there’s more of an emphasis on endurance, said Chris Sargeant, head of the women’s soccer team.
Players should at the very least be able to last for 90 minutes of continuous activity, he said.
At the same time, there’s also training for intervals, as soccer can require explosive amounts of energy in a short period of time.
To prepare for this kind of activity, Sargeant recommends doing one-on, one-off exercises. This involves sprinting at breakneck speed for a minute, then stopping for a minute.
For a more challenging workout you can increase the run time. On the other hand, if it’s too challenging, the rest time can be increased.
Sargeant is also a big proponent of playing yourself into shape.
“I don’t do much stuff without a ball,” he said. “Personally, I like them to have a ball all the times — that’s the sport, right?”
However, just playing regular games isn’t the most efficient way to condition yourself, as there can often be a lull in waiting for the ball to reach your part of the field.
To address this issue, Sargeant gets his players to play one-on-one or two-versus-two games over a large patch of field.
These players have to work harder because they have to cover much more area than they would normally.
“You can manipulate the game to where it may be a bigger field and less [players] so you get more fitness actions in,” he said.
It’s great for conditioning while also allowing players to, well, play the sport.
Sargeant said this also makes it easier to get in shape.
“If you do it with a ball, you just feel like you’re playing a game,” he said. “I think that becomes much more fun than going out for a run or doing sprints.”
Jean-Francois Plouffe, the athletic director for Quest, also had some general advice that could help out anyone trying to get off the couch this year.
He said people trying to get in shape should keep in mind three goals, summed up by an acronym he calls FIT — frequency, intensity and time.
“Regardless of your endeavour, you need to set a short term goal and a longer term goal,” he said in an email.
Frequency means that people should make a conscious commitment to how many times they’ll work out each week.
Intensity refers to the fact that anyone starting a routine should carefully monitor how strenuous the workout is. How hard someone exercises should be kept consistent to ensure it’s sustainable and effective. Going too hard, too fast will lead to burnout. Conversely, going too easy will lead to little improvement.
Finally, time means that people should make sure the amount of time people are exercising should be consistent.
A good trick to stay on track is to train with others once and awhile to measure progress and to stay accountable,” he said.