Functional training

Functional training improves your body’s ability to work efficiently as one unit. By training multiple muscle groups at the same time, you are helping your body function better as a whole.  It also improves coordination, balance, and body awareness, which will help you avoid unnecessary injuries.

Three to four weeks of functional training prior to hypertrophy training will not only prepare your muscles for bigger loads as you progress into hypertrophy and strength training, but more importantly help prevent injuries.

Muscle Hypertrophy training basics – increasing lean muscle mass

Muscle hypertrophy is a term for the growth and increase of the size of muscle cells.  There are two essential components necessary for the growth of muscles—stimulation and repair.

Stimulation occurs during the contraction of the muscle, or during the actual exercising of the muscle. Each time that a muscle is exercised, contraction occurs. This repeated contraction during a workout causes damage to the internal muscle fibers. These muscle fibers are broken down throughout the course of a workout. Once damaged, these fibers are then ready to be repaired. This is where muscle growth occurs. Muscle fiber repair occurs after the workout while the muscles are in resting mode.

Progressive overload plays a big role in achieving muscle hypertrophy, therefor increasing the load with moderate reps is ideal to achieve increased intensity.

To do this effectively, paying close attention to reps, load and rest periods between sets is important. For hypertrophy 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps and 1 min rest between sets is the standard go-to.

So how do you know when it’s time to increase the load?

Once you can perform the full number of reps for all sets, it is time to increase the load.

It is ideal to stick with a set program to allow you to keep track of your progress on a weekly basis. You can use the same program for 4-6 consecutive weeks, and then ideally switch to a strength training program for 4 weeks before switching back too hypertrophy training.

Strength Training

When properly performed, strength training can provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being, including increased bone, muscle, tendon, and ligament strength and toughness. Training commonly uses the technique of progressively increasing the force output of the muscle through incremental weight increases and uses a variety of compound exercises to target specific muscle groups. Strength training is primarily an anaerobic activity and requires heavy load, low reps and longer rest periods.

Cardiovascular fitness is the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen-rich blood to the working muscle tissues, and the ability of the muscles to use oxygen to produce energy for movement.

Anaerobic exercise is a physical exercise intense enough to cause lactate to form. It is used by athletes in non-endurance sports to promote strength, speed and power; and by body builders to build muscle mass. Muscle energy systems trained using anaerobic exercise develop differently compared to aerobic exercise, leading to greater performance in short duration, high intensity activities, which last from mere seconds to up to about 2 minutes.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts should be done by giving 100% effort for 15 to 30 seconds. This is the optimal amount of time for an anaerobic workout (your body is “deprived” of free oxygen) before a rest period. Doing any less might mean you won’t see the results you want, and doing any more is too much on your body.

When your body works anaerobically, it produces lactic acid because you can’t get enough oxygen to your muscles to keep them working properly. Basically, your body supplements that oxygen with the lactic acid. When lactic acid is produced, adrenaline comes with it, which helps move fat throughout your body and creates that fat burn and muscle buildup you’re looking for.

Hours after the HIIT is done, your body is still burning fat because your metabolism is on a roll trying to replace nutrients that were lost during the HIIT workout, such as carbohydrates and electrolytes. Your insulin sensitivity is at its best, so your body won’t store glycogen as fat. The effects of a HIIT workout can impact your body up to 48 hours after the workout.

For best results, SPC (Steady Pace Cardio) performed immediately after an intense HIIT session will not only help with recovery, but will also allow your body to utilize the fat that has been released into your system during HIIT. Double up the amount of time you’ve spent on a HIIT session with SPC, for example, if you only have 30 minutes to perform cardio, you can do 10 minutes of HIIT immediately followed by 20 minutes of SPC.

In contrast, aerobic exercise includes lower intensity activities performed for longer periods of time. Activities such as walking, long slow runs, rowing, and cycling require a great deal of oxygen to generate the energy needed for prolonged exercise.


Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. … That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.

It’s a good idea to stretch before you exercise. Do light stretching as part of your warm-up, but wait until after your warm-up or for your cool-down period to do more aggressive stretching. Research shows that holding a stretch for at least 30 seconds provides the most lasting benefits.

Dynamic stretches are meant to get the body moving. The stretches aren’t held for any length of time. Dynamic stretches include movement; such as lunges with a torso twist. Dynamic stretching can be used before the start of any exercise routine.

Static stretches, on the other hand, are where muscles are extended and held for a period of time. The best time to perform static stretches is when your body is warm, after your workout as part of your cool down.