SunnyFitness Workout Tips #31-40

The SunnyFitness Workout Tips series continues!

If you haven’t read the first 30 tips, you can start HERE!

Table of Contents

(click on the titles below to quickly jump to the specific tip)

SUNNYFITNESS TIPS #31 Build a rich movement library

SUNNYFITNESS TIPS #32 Question the No pain- No Gain mantra

SUNNYFITNESS TIPS #33 Have a deload week

SUNNYFITNESS TIPS #34 Lift really heavy sometimes

SUNNYFITNESS TIPS #35 Run as if a lion were chasing you

SUNNYFITNESS TIPS #36 Be prepared before a race

SUNNYFITNESS TIPS #37 Take your time after a competition

SUNNYFITNESS TIPS #38 Keep the training plan alive

SUNNYFITNESS TIPS #39 Keep the core muscles active

Build a rich movement library

Its nice to train for specific fitness goals: being stronger, faster, more muscular, more lean, more flexible, better in a particular sport, etc. And what about being better in any movement situations?

In the long run (like a lifetime), become educated in as many movement skills as possible!

Become better in balancing, running, sprinting, swimming, jumping, throwing, hanging, climbing, dancing, handstand and other bodyweight-calisthenics skills, lifting heavy weights, bodybuilding, juggleing, martial arts, ball games and watersports or any other sport you like, etc.

Build a rich movement map, movement library in the muscles and nervous system. The more versatile it is, the more comfortable will be any movement situation and the less fear, injury risk you will have in certain movements.

Bonus tip

You can’t practice and develop all the possible movements above in one day or not even in one month. Think long term and select a few for now, which are compatible with each other.

Make a few training cycles, where you improve in them, then choose other ones. In the warmup, cool down or light workout days you can always practice some other movement skills as well.

How many books do you have in your movement library?

Question the No pain- No Gain mantra

The ’ No pain, no gain’ is a fashionable expressions in the fitness world. Question it each time before a workout if its worth it!

Yes, its true that usually we should step out of the comfort zone if we would like to improve in something. But it doesnt mean that every workout is only valuable if we finish half dead on the floor, with 10/10 pain. Especially for beginner and intermediate, hobby athletes.

You can gain muscle, improve your fitness level by stepping out of the comfort zone just a little bit, in a necessary but sufficient amount (around 7-8/10 level of discomfort). The delayed afterworkout soreness what you may feel in the next 1-3 days after a heavy workout is normal, but this mild pain should not come directly on the training.

If you always overstretch you limits, there is a high injury risk and the recovery time can be much longer. And then you may be surprised why you can’t train with enough intensity and quality next time… because the body was not recovered yet!

Its better to be a little bit undertrained then overtrained and underrecovered. Quality over quantity! (See TIP #7)

I would keep this ’No pain – no gain’ attitude for specific fitness goals, like muscle building, strenght-endurance development where its a desirable outcome when the muscles are pumped, burning from the lactic acid buildup. And this still doesn’t mean always a 10/10 pain, maybe only sometimes for athletes who have years of training background.

For strenght, basic endurance, speed, flexibility, movement skill development its totally unneccessary to feel pain and working around the lactic acid treshold. These type of workouts are sometimes uncomfortable, challengeing, require high mental effort as well but they should not be painful. Give your best for that day and also enjoy it!

Bonus tip

Have a clear understanding what is the goal of the current workout. If its not building as much muscle as possible fast or developing strenght-endurance, then forget the ’No pain-No gain’ mantra. Rather train consciously according to your long term health and fitness goals.

Have a deload week

If you are training hard and consistently week by week, month by month, it will come a time when your progress will stuck, plateauing and/or fatigue, injuries, lack of motivation show up. Then its time to have a deload week! After a smart break the nervous system and the muscles are recharged and ready to adapt more heavy trainings again.

There is no simple, one size fits all answer when and how its neccessary to impement it. Its highly individual and depends on many factors: training history, age, freqency, volume, intensity, sleep quality, other life stress and responsibilities etc.

Beginner and intermediate athletes with moderately heavy, 1-3 times a week training can go for months without deload week, without any negative symptoms and they can continuously improve.

Advanced athletes, training 3 or more times a week with complex and very intense training plan may need a deload week after 2-3 weeks.

The deload week can be planned in advance or it can be a smart, spontaneous decision somewhen on the road, reacting to the symptoms mentioned above when its neccessary.

Always listen to your body when the fatigue has accumulated, the progress stucked, injuries showed up, the motivation for training decreased. If you do it smart your body will adapt the previous weeks/months training load on the deload week and you come back refreshed, stronger than before!

If there is no serious injury I dont recommend completely skipping trainings. Its better staying active with similar or other movements you enjoy in lower volume or intensity.

Bonus tip

The planned, more advanced deload week is when you keep the intensity high but you cut back the volume or training frequency at least by 30-50%.

P.S.: You have to earn the deload week, it’s worth training beforehand!

Do you do deload weeks from training and if so, how often, which method?

Lift really heavy sometimes

There is a unique, not elsewhere available happiness feeling after you lifted a really heavy object from the ground. Something close to your 1 rep maximum. Tired euphoria.

Of course learn the lifting techniques first with lighter weights and higher reps. Be sure there is no risk from a previous injury or mobility issue and warm up properly.

Its not a regular training, maybe 1-2 times in a month or even less frequently its enough. Its highly taxing for the musles, joints and nervous system. They need time to recover.

In addition to the good feelings and a super strenght training stimulus it gives a lot of useful informations as well!

Which weights you can use in the next workouts, how is your strenght level compared to the previous years.

If you also record a video, you may find weak links in the technique or in the muscle chain, which you can improve for the next time.

I was thinking primarily of the deadlift exercise but of course it could also apply to squat, bench press, overhead press, weighted pull-ups or dips, Olympic weightlifting exercises or to stone lifting outdoors.

Bonus tip

A proper warmup for a max effort takes time, even a half hour or more! Start with light mobility exercises, then gradually go up to a heavy lift in 5-6 sets! Have a few minutes of break before the max attempt and easy days, good sleep before the test.

Do you lift really heavy sometimes?

Run as if a lion were chasing you

Sprint is not only for pro sprinters. Its a natural movement for everyone! Its worth to practice sprints and sprint-intervalls for various fitness goals.

Improves speed, power, coordination, basic strenght. Produces super post workout hormonal response to keep your brain young and your body lean.

  • Warmup properly
  • Start gradually
  • Learn and improve the technique constantly
  • Distance around 40-200m
  • Effort 90-100%
  • Lot of rest between sets (even 3-15min depends on the distance)
  • Lot of rest between training sessions (min. 2-3 days, depends on the intensity, volume, other trainings)
  • Quality over quantity

Bonus tip

If you prefer to improve your endurance, strenght-endurance, boost fat loss instead of pure speed, then go for the sprint-intervalls! Run around 85-95% of your max speed. The first few may feel very easy but after 5-10 sprints, you will see, the real challenge starts! Example: 5-20×50-100m sprints with 10-60sec rest.

Enjoy your speed and power! Do you like sprints?

Be prepared before a race

Whether you’re competing professionally or amateurly, the following tips can help you get your best on the day!

  • Start training in time and regularly, preparing yourself physically and mentally for the demands.
  • Gather enough information about the race to avoid surprises.
  • Test at least once a similar workload and conditions to the race (except perhaps marathons and ultra runs).
  • In the days before the race, have your equipment, food and drink, papers (if requested), accommodation and travel organized so that you don’t have to rush at the last minute.
  • In the days/week before the competition, it is worth ensuring the restful sleep. If for some reason it doesn’t work out on the last night, at least there was some reserve and it won’t affect the performance that much.
  • Think about life after the race! Change of clothes, toiletries, food and drink, recovery.
  • Arrive at the race venue in time (1.5-2 hours before) so you have time to park, look around, get ready, warm up and even chat a bit with the others.
  • Preferably dont try a new eating strategy, supplement, warm-up routine, shoes or other equipments during the race. It’s better to test all of these on the trainings before.
  • During a race, focus on your own rhythm and your body’s feedback and don’t burn all your fuel at the start.

Bonus tip

In the race, don’t worry about how much you’ve trained and don’t compare yourself to others. Once you are there and prepared to the best of your ability, there’s nothing else to do but enjoy the race!

Do you have other strategies before/during a competition?

Take your time after a competition

You managed to finish a race with a good experience (which doesn’t always happen) and you are already thinking about the next one! If it was successful, that’s why, if not, that’s why. In rare cases, you may realise that this is not your world and you will have other sporting goals. Whatever, just have something and keep moving!

Probably you were training hard for a while, gave your best on the competition and your body is exhausted, it may be even injured. Be sure to leave enough time for physical and mental recovery!

How much is enough? This is very individual, it depends on the type of the race, whether it was a main competition or just part of the preparation, your fitness level, age, other life tasks, etc.

In general, avoiding fully training for 1-3 days or even 1 week can be good idea for the long term. Professional athletes may skip up to 1-2 months of organised, hard training after the biggest race of the season. Just saying.

Post-race daily movement is still a good idea, but when you do, opt for light exercises and other recovery methods. E.g. mobility training, walking, foamrolling, stretching, massage, thermal baths, saunas, cold water splashes. Consider eating more liberately if you followed a strict diet for long.

Chances are you’ve postponed some tasks, meetings or made some sacrifices because of the competition. Take advantage of this time window to catch up and rebalance yourself. Go back when you’re really hungry to train and have figured out what your next goal is.

Bonus tip

Think in cycles! Dreams, goals, plans, work, peaking, competition, rest.

Do you have similar or different habits after a race?

Keep the training plan alive

Have a good training plan and just do it, usually the results are guaranteed.

However life gives sometimes unexpected turns and better ideas when its wise to change the plan a little bit or completely. This way you can reach your original goal faster or you can go even further.

With other words: keep your training plan alive!

Usually its a more advanced method: combining the plan with improvisation. Its worth to learn a few years with a coach, in a group, improving body awareness, learn about the physiology of the human body and various training methods. Become a generalist in movement (see Tip #9).

After a while its worth to teach as well what you already know, then you can have a deeper understanding.

The more experience you have, the more creativity you will have, the more fun, beneficial exercise opportunities you will see and use. After a few years you will have a huge deck of cards and much more choices, the training will never be boring. One more reason to train regularly

Bonus tip

Feel free to apply these principles to other areas of life!

Do you follow stricktly a plan or do you change it sometimes?

Keep the core muscles active

The CORE means not only the abs, its a group of muscles around the trunk, hip, abdominal area and even the diaphragm, lats and traps are playing some role.

In ideal case they are working in concert to load the spine correctly, maintaining a good posture, transferring energy between the upper and lower body, left and right sides.

When the core is working well, we should feel stable, secure, the whole body as one strong unit. We can reach your best athletic performance in any sport or in any exercise if its functioning properly.

The main problem is when we sit long in chairs, sofa, car, bus etc. and the core muscles can become lazy and disconnected. Also if you have muscle imbalances, asymmetries, spine problems like escoliosis, doing only the same sports, there is a high chance that the core muscles are not always firing 100%.

Solutions? There are many!

  • Special breathing exercises
  • Before workout or anytime when you feel like, include some core strenghtening, activating exercises, slow and focused: planks, bird-dog, crunches, hollow body holds, glute bridge, Turkish get-up, crawling exercises, L-sit, etc.
  • There are a bunch of cool exercises in pilates, yoga as well
  • Ask help and go for a few private session to a qualified pilates teacher, physiotherapist, personal trainer and learn properly the core activating exercises

Bonus tip

Not everybody is affected in the „lazy core” syndrome, I would say around 50% of the population. Many ‘lucky’ people dont have to care too much about the core issues. However most people with the modern lifestyle can benefit from this tips. Spend a few weeks to learn how to activate the core and teach your body to make it automatic.

Do you use core activating exercises?

Read the next workout tips #41-50 HERE!


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