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9 tips for your next decade of training

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I had originally titled this as Tips for Training Over 40 but most of this is just good advice for anyone who wants to play the long game of health and fitness.

Address imbalances

Sports are asymmetrical. Humans are asymmetrical. Life is asymmetrical. That’s just how it goes. While we don’t worry about absolute symmetry, we do like to keep strength and mobility in the same ballpark for the sake of injury prevention. So, while it might be tempting to jump right into focusing on strength or performance, you may need to shore up your biggest gaps. Most of this can be done with single-limb work and progressive core and rotational work.

Coach Miles showing us how it’s done

See how much tailoring you need

While there are some general principles of exercise physiology in play, there is also a fair bit of individual variance. For example, some people need more overall volume. Some people respond best to lower frequency of intense exercise. Some people will thrive on the exact same program for months and others need quite a bit of variety. Figuring out what you best respond to—physically, psychologically, etc. is part of the fun.

Spread the load

It can be smart to spread the volume over the workout or more evenly across the week instead of concentrating the doses into fewer, more intense sessions. One of the main advantages of this strategy is your ability to titrate your training dosage. So, let’s say that you want to start getting serious about running again but you’re not 100% sure about your recovery needs. You could run 10K and just see what happens. However, what happens may be unpleasant. I love surprises but not the musculoskeletal kind. So, instead of jumping right into big runs, you could distribute your volume across multiple shorter runs. This has two major advantages:

  • You can focus on technical precision instead of merely surviving the runs
  • IF something doesn’t feel right after a run, you can far more accurately pinpoint where and why. E.g. if you feel a slight hamstring strain after Run #3, you can take a longer break before #4. You may also incorporate some more specialized strength training.

Minimize surprises—especially the predictable ones

When we work with recreational or competitive athletes, one of the first things we do is look at the statistical distribution of injuries in their sport of choice. Of course, we look at their injury history too. We can’t magically eliminate risk but we can certainly shift the odds in your favour by buttressing against known risk factors.

What if you don’t play a sport? Same deal. We can still look at lifestyle factors—like how much you sit or what repetitive movements you experience and then design to counterbalance them.
 

Forget about comparison

Don’t worry about what you used to be able to do. Definitely don’t worry about what anyone else can do. Focus on the present moment. Find opportunities to move forward. Be creative. Be curious. Be adaptive. Work with what you’ve got.
 

Build your brain

There’s a reason I advocate for rotational implements like kettlebells, maces, and Indian clubs (after we’d mastered the basics). Instead of delivering highly-targeted training stresses to your muscles, they provide more of a whole-body stimulus. The combination of weight and momentum also means that you have to listen to the implement and work with it. You can’t just impose your will.
The process here asks for fluidity, responsiveness, and a level of focus that is complementary with other mindfulness-based practices. Instead of a stress response to training, you often find yourself more relaxed and energetic afterwards. There is, of course a time and a place for all out, gritty, intense training. However, that time and place is generally when you’re well-recovered. So, when your energy or stress levels are all over the place, it’s nice to have more tools in the toolkit.

Master movement

It’s not hard to find a training program in 2023. However, the magic is in the details. How to move. How to connect with your body. How to make the technique your own.
 

Find meditation in motion

For many of our members, a workout represents their longest unplugged period of time each day—outside of sleep. Here, we strive to offer an environment geared toward focus and presence.
 

While I have personally never found great success with seated meditation, I have found exercise to be an incredible way to practice the same skills of mindfulness, concentration, and non-judgemental awareness—all boosted by the physical sensations and cognitive complexity of my workouts.
 

If you’re curious about this, let me know because this is one of the pilot programs that I’d like to run in the new year.
 

Drip in progress

What’s the value of five more minutes of sleep? An extra 100 ml of water? A few more veggies? One more minute of mindfulness?
 

Honestly, these are all small potatoes from an outcomes perspective. And yet… things are incremental until they are exponential. You just never know when a slight addition will ripple out into the rest of your life. Until then, all you can do is make tiny votes in favour of your values and aspirations.

Bang Personal Training offers some of the best personal training in Toronto – in a format that makes consistency easy. Our expert coaches unite the best features of group and one-on-one training to help you build performance and healthspan