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We all need a Miyagi to stay strong, focused…I’ll share mine with you!

Exercise – work – eat – run – sleep – fly – hens: eat, sing, dance – work – run – fly – wedding: eat, sing, dance – repeat!

Let’s be clear, I’m not complaining! This period of madness is exciting, uplifting and challenging – autopilot has kicked in and I’m in for the long haul!

A couple of months ago, I embarked on training for a half marathon…my maiden halfa! But…love (and stork) came to town and I’ve had two of my close girlfriends’ hens and weddings and my sister-in-law’s baby shower all in this last month before race day – my training efforts are being successfully (enjoyably) hamstrung!

But these are the occasions that reward you the most! Two amazing girls farewelling their bachelorette ways and saying ‘I do’ to their knights in shining armour, and celebrating the impending birth of my first niece or nephew!

All the runs in the world cannot replace the joy that these events bring – these are the occasions that give you balance, reverence.

So now, more than ever, fitness and good food (minimal booze…I’ll try) will see me through to race day and get me ready for the warmer months – boy do I need a kick in the tush to ramp up my fitness efforts!

And do I have just the man, Michael Tsigolis (or as I like to refer to him as, Mr Miyagi), FitnessFirst Personal Trainer and Manager, to help challenge our nutrition mindset, moves to shift some post-winter-comfort-food-hugging and tips to motivate and reenergise our fitness routines for whatever your goal!

“Don’t let your fear kick in your excuses. Stay positive and focused and you will have your reward once you’ve positioned yourself in line with your vision!”

Having previously trained with Michael, I know this man coaches to get results and practices what he preaches!

So here, for MWG readers, are Michael's insights!

Let’s start with the basics, how will you achieve the body you want?

What is the single most important element in achieving your physical goals?

Drive. Want.

It’s when your vision and the image you see for yourself goes from being a dream or a want to a must!

We all live busy lives so achieving your goals will require you to set aside time for your training into your weekly schedule.

This should eliminate excuses.

There are basic principles to all program designs for training and one of the most significant is periodization, meaning taking how you are training now and making it harder usually month to month so that there is a normal adaptation by your body to each program and hence development whether its fat loss or muscle tone or gain.

To keep it balanced and realistic, knowing most people can only allocate maybe four training sessions a week, your training should be a combination of resistance/weights and cardiovascular exercise, flexibility and adequate rest.

Cardio can be structured to 2 x interval training sessions and 1 x long slow distance session per week.

Interval meaning going slow to fast like jog to sprint at a rate of 2:1 or 1:1 for a total of 20 -30 minutes depending on your current fitness levels.

Long slow distance means go for a long walk or jog but for a time that exceeds 45 minutes or an hour, preferably an hour and a half.

Now for resistance training. Lets start with some rules first.

Most, if not all exercises, must be free weight (ie. dumbbells).

Compound exercises are a priority unless focusing on particular muscle groups.

Compound meaning exercises that involve more than one joint moving per exercise, hence more muscles being used per exercise, meaning more energy utilized by the body and a lot more functionality to relate to every day to day living.

Remember to progress program monthly, depending on your training age.

So a beginners program would look like this, considering we would like to have a full body workout per session and would incorporate compound exercises.

Day 1
    • Squats
    • Dumbbell bench press
    • Bent over row
    • Pronated grip wide Lat pull down
    • Shoulder press
    • Sit ups
    • Plank

    Day 2

      • Lunges
      • Incline dumbbell bench press
      • Seated row
      • Lateral raises
      • Supinated narrow grip lat pull down.
      • Leg Raises
      • Side bridge

    On my first day walking into the Sydney’s Bond Street FitnessFirst studio (a few years ago), Rockie’s anthem ‘Eye of the Tiger’ would not be out of place – I knew I was dead (wo)man walking! I thought I was relatively fit…ummm no! A lack of weights based training and any intense cardio saw my heart race, breath strangled and muscles bulged and flinch in agony…but what results! and life changing attitude towards health and fitness. Thanks Michael!

    OK, I’m off to run my halfa this Sunday! Good luck to everyone running this weekend! Keep me posted on your efforts!