Transform you body in 2010 – Train Like an Athlete and Get Into Shape

updating imageIn this article, I’ll show you how you can apply the lessons I’ve learnt during more than a decade working with elite athletes and apply them to your fitness training. The ‘side-effects’ of this athletic approach to training (a fit and healthy, lean figure that doesn’t wiggle and jiggle when running up the stairs!) are in fact the precise training affects that the majority of my clients are looking for from me as their personal fitness coach.  It’s time to adopt a more ‘athletic’ approach to your workouts and make 2010 the year that you hit your fitness target.

Five Steps To Success

1.    Hard Work

The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary! You need to understand that to achieve your ultimate goal you will need to invest some time and effort. There are no quick fixes for long lasting results.

2.    Consistency of Effort

It’s probably taken you a number of years of consistently eating poorly, and not exercising to get your body into the condition it is in at the moment, so what makes you think you can have a transformation after just one training session? Develop a good programme, and repeat it consistently over an extended period of time.

3.    SMART Goals

Don’t just come into the gym with a fluffy goal of I want to loose weight. That is not a goal. A goal needs to be SMART (specific measurable, agreed, realistic timed). If you can tick all the boxes then you have a goal – if not you need to go back to the drawing board.

4.    Success Is Not Linear

Many clients looking to get in shape and ditch that unwanted fat expect to see linear progress and become disillusioned the first time their progress plateaus. The plan gets thrown out the window, and more often than not, they revert back to their old habits. If you hit a plateau, take a step back, re-evaluate your programme and crack on!

5.    Negative thoughts and chatter

Most clients seem to be experts at running a constant ‘backing track’ of self-destructive comments through their heads (and often the heads of anyone else who is willing to listen!). The mind is extremely powerful and guess what, if you continue to put yourself down, then there is no way that you will achieve your goals.

3-Point Athletic Training Plan

1.    Strength Training

My clients pick up barbells and dumbbells and throw medicine balls around! They perform ‘functional’ exercises like push-ups, squats, inverse pulls, lunges and chin-ups. Contrary to what some personal trainers will have you believe, the path to a shaping up that sagging butt is not through sitting on the thigh master using light weights with high repetitions.

2.    Cardio

Not all cardio is created equal. If you can read your magazine/book or hold a conversation with your friend whilst performing your cardio workout then you need to have a rethink!  Give me 20 minutes and I will give you a fat melting cardio session which will have you incinerating calories even when you have stopped training! We squeeze every last drop out of our cardio sessions by working at high intensities.

3.  Nutrition

You don’t need a diet, you nee a lifestyle change.

1.  Eat 5-6 times a day – provide your body with a constant stream of nutrients.

2.  Limit your consumption of sugars and processed food – if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!

3.  Eat fruits and vegetables throughout the day – the ultimate food source, loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibre.

4.  Drink more water and cut out calorie containing beverages (beer, wine, fizzy drinks etc) – keep hydrated and just feel all round great.

5.  Focus on consuming lean proteins throughout the day – the building blocks for growth and development

6.  Save starch containing foods until after a workout or for breakfast – this is when you need a little carbohydrate.

Putting It All Together

The response I get from my clients when they adopt an ‘athletic’ approach to training is amazing. For many of them this is the first time in their lives that they have worked out with any real intensity. For the vast majority it is the first time that they have combined the powerful benefits of resistance training, high-intensity cardiovascular training and a clean diet. It doesn’t take long for them to start seeing and feeling the benefits of a more ‘athletic’ approach to training and enjoying the RESULTS of their hard work.

About Nick Grantham 4 Articles

The early years

Born in Crawley in 1972, I am the baby of the family, the youngest of three and my brothers still think I’m the smallest – I don’t think I started growing until I was 15!

Enthusiasm compensating for a lack of talent, sport played a prominent role in my early life – athletics, football and rugby the big three until, in 1989, I discovered Taekwon-do, at which I competed internationally until 1997.

By then I had left school, at 16, and worked in banking and insurance for six years – I hated those jobs, I was terrible!

But through Taekwon-do, I developed a curiosity about sports performance and discovered you could study Sports Science at university – it wasn’t just for the geeks!

So I went to night school – the only male in the class for two years! –   and became the only member of my family to gain entry to university, at Chester, where I completed undergraduate and post-graduate degrees

The first time I coached someone was to prepare an athlete for the Marathon Des Sables, a six-day, 143-mile run across the Sahara Desert and one of the toughest ultra-endurance events in the world

Leading the way

My first job was head of sport science for British Gymnastics at Lilleshall Sports Injury and Human Performance Centre, the first private, non-university-based provider of sport science support for teams and athletes

An accredited Sport Scientist with the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences, I then gained the National Strength and Conditioning Association certification and became one of the first people in the UK to hold both qualifications

It was at that point that I decided to commit what my boss described as career suicide and become a strength and conditioning coach! But I’ve never looked back…

In 2001 I moved from gymnastics to England Netball, and one of the first full-time strength and conditioning roles in high-performance UK sport

Two years later, I became one of the first strength and conditioning coaches to work for the English Institute of Sport, leading its West Midlands team across three sites

Travelling extensively in support of teams at major championships and on international tours, I gained unrivalled access to leading high-performance facilities around the world, including: New Zealand Rugby, England Rugby, Wales Rugby, the US Olympic Training Centre and even the Birmingham Royal Ballet and Cirque du Soleil!

Going it alone

Leaving the English Institute of Sport in 2007 to move to Newcastle, I  established myself as an independent Performance Enhancement Specialist working with the Chinese National Football team, the RFU, Great Britain’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams, Championship and Premiership football teams.

Globally, I have worked with athletes who have competed at four Olympics and been a Performance Consultant for Nike, locally with Northumbria University, Northumberland Tennis Academy and the Puma Sunderland Tennis Academy, and I have even worked with the Birmingham Royal Ballet!

A published author, I have recently written ‘You’re Hired‘ – an insiders guide to becoming a strength and conditioning professional, The Strength and Conditioning Bible – explaining how to train like an athlete, and contributed to ‘Secrets of Confident People: 50 Techniques to Shine’ and ‘Sport and Exercise Physiology Testing Guidelines: Volume I – Sport Testing

A sought-after expert on strength and conditioning, I have featured in leading publications such as: Mens Health, Mens Fitness, Triathletes World, Sports Injury Bulletin, Peak Performance, Fighters Magazine, Runners World and Trail Magazine

As an international speaker on the physical preparation of elite athletes, I have delivered workshops for the Football Association, British Olympic Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association and the United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association

I have also mentored aspiring coaches who have gone on to forge successful careers in high-performance sport.

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