You can argue, protest, disagree, make excuses, give alternatives and even pretend that you don’t want to, or can’t complete a competitive exercise event, but you can!! And if you want to challenge yourself; your mind, your body, your mental toughness and your true character this is a unique and special way to do it! If you want to lose weight, be fit, strong and healthy and slide rather than squish into your clothes, a competitive event can be a far more interesting way to get there than just exercising to “lose weight” or “get fit”!!
Depending on your choice of event…
· Get fitted for a bike that feels comfortable and remember we never forget how to ride a bike so even if it has been 40 years, you WILL remember! Also, make sure to have a comfy helmet
· Get fitted for and invest in, a quality pair of running shoes
· Dress in loose fitting, comfortable clothes that give you room to move, keep you cool and don’t have seams, buttons or zippers that may cause chaffing
· For biking and running, pick an environment/place that you will enjoy being in. A big park, an ocean road, out in the country.
· If you want to avoid the variations in weather, pick a gym or health club where you will feel comfortable. Choose one with good quality bikes and treadmills as well as a clean, clear lap pool.
· If you want to train in the absolute convenience of your own home, invest in a good quality bike and treadmill and set them up in an airy, light, cool area where you won’t be interrupted by the phone, kids, dog or visitors
(Quick Note: Please think of the dollars you “invest” in your health and fitness as a value add to your life. Every dollar “invested” in your body and its wellbeing, will be returned to you in immeasurable, massive value)
Get started: depending on the event you choose…
· Get in the pool and swim a lap or 2-until you are puffed
· Get on your bike and have a ride for a bit-10-20 mins-until you feel a bit puffed
· Go for a fast walk/slow jog for a few minutes and the very second you feel puffed or uncomfortable-STOP and walk
· A few minutes of each will be plenty if this is your first exercise session for a long time or ever-do this everyday for a week or 2.
· Whenever you train, warm-up then keep going until you are puffed-then STOP or slow down. When you are completely recovered and not puffing at all-start the exercise again. The very second you feel puffed or uncomfortable-slow down or STOP
· Repeat this simple, easy process, everyday, minimum 3-4 times a week, with the only goal to stick with it, no matter what, for 7-10 days
· Get a short, heavy, functional, compound, “lift heavy things” strength training program designed for you. You have to get strong! Every stroke and step of your exercise event will be easier if your muscles are strong. 3-4 exercises, one for your legs, one for your upper body (front) and one for your upper body (back). 1 set of each exercise and keep going until you can’t do anymore. If you do more than 12 of each exercise, increase the weight next time and if you do less than 12, do more next training session. Only once a week with the only goal to keep getting stronger!!
· ALWAYS train with a SMILE on your face-your brain releases natural pain killers when you smile. Don’t question it-just do it, it works!
· This is the stage to start timing your rest vs. the time you are puffing and slowly increase the puffing time and decrease the stopped/slow moving time.
· Slowly and gradually puff for longer and go slow for less time. Measure the time and celebrate your achievements everyday
· NEVER miss a strength training session. Every week, keep getting stronger. The only reason to have a week off is if you stop getting stronger-you must measure the weight, not how many times you do it. Lifting weights is for getting stronger; swimming, biking and running is for getting fitter and for being a superb athlete, never mix them up!
Interval your working time, with the goal now dependant on what you enjoy the most:
· Get faster for each interval exercise until it becomes a sprint
· Keep going for longer for each interval of exercise
· Look for some hills to bike and run and repeat your whole program with the addition of an incline
· For running, go to the beach and aim to achieve your program in the soft sand
· Run on a treadmill and aim to beat it every time whether by time or distance
· 2 times a week set a longer time-frame to swim, bike, run and keep increasing the time, every time. The distance will come automatically
Now for the event
· Set yourself a goal when you enter the event to finish it
· Enter and pay for your entry- now you are committed
· See yourself running over the finish line and every time you train, visualise it again and again
· Believe in yourself: regardless of the length of the event-even if it’s the Ironman, you can complete this-the human body is strong and it needs to be taken to its limit on occasion to see how strong it is!
· The week before your competition run, train slowly and easy. Enough to keep moving without too much effort
· No lifting weights this week
· You must keep drinking water until your urine is clear this week and if it is even slightly yellow, drink more
· You can only store 500 grams of carbohydrate and you will need it all for your event plus much more, so from 3-4 days before your event until the day, eat whole-grain/brown bread, cereal, rice and pasta with every meal
· The day/ night before your event and the morning of it, eat regularly and eat light snacks of cereal, bread, rice and bananas
· Have a small, strong coffee or a small glass of cola before your event-it helps to save your carbohydrate and burn fat quicker-you will need all your 500 grams of stored carbohydrate-plus much more
· Have your IPod/MP3 player filled with your favourite, upbeat, fast songs that inspire you and record them in the live version (The clapping will inspire you when you are feeling a little tired) and have more songs that the longest time it will take you to finish!
· ALWAYS go to the toilet before the start, even if you don’t feel like it
· Drink at every drink stop or better, have a ‘pit crew’ along the way with your favourite drink-no diet drinks, you will need the energy
· Complete the whole race with a huge smile on your face- you will be an inspiration for the other folks competing and the people watching
· What to think about: say your goals to yourself, say your favourite quotes over and over and repeat your positive affirmations; “I am fit, strong and healthy”, “I am a
tri-athlete”, “When the going gets tough the tough get excited”, “I am tough, pain is just weakness leaving my body!!”
· Be very proud of yourself when you finish your race
· Keep moving after the finish line
· Have a drink and continue to drink until your wee is clear
· Have a hot shower/bath as soon as possible
· Have a massage and celebrate your achievement
· Pick the date for your next, longer distance tri-athalon and enter!!
Happy training and competing!
Rowena Szeszeran-McEvoy- Founder of The MAX International College for Fitness Professionals and a 14 time marathoner by training this exact way.