Training and Nutrition for the Female Athlete: Part 4
In the past few weeks, I have definitely focused a lot on nutrition, so it is definitely time to add more to the training part of this blog series.
Training, like nutrition, can be complicated, but it doesn't have to be.
With training, some things should be consistent (like strength training). As we get close to our "A" race, maybe there are fewer hours spent on strength training, but it is still important to continue to incorporate it.
Strength training is particularly important for females because it is an effective long-term strategy for helping preserve muscle and increase lean body mass. Studies have also shown that strength training is beneficial for bone development (and protecting bone mass), injury prevention and other muscle and skeletal factors/issues, stress/anxiety reduction, and an improved sense of body image.
Both training and nutrition should be cyclical. If your race is months away and training is more about building a base, your caloric needs are fewer. If you are training for a race and your training load is high, your caloric needs are greater.
Whether you are or are not training for a race, if you want to see change, it is of the utmost importance to be consistent above all else. Consistency creates habits. Habits create change. [Positive] change creates improvement.
Training isn't about going hard all of the time. It is about consistency, and going hard when you are scheduled to go hard. In fact, did you know that for optimal training we should spend 80% of our time doing low intensity work and only 20% of our time doing high intensity work?
We understand that there are a lot of different options out there, and it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. There are 2 main categories when it comes to training plans: generic plans and custom plans.
Generic "canned" plans are:
a great price (and often free).
8-12 weeks in length.
Custom plans are:
a bit more expensive.
tailored to your life and goals.
adjustable based on your current fitness level.
I struggle with "canned programs" as my life (even though I am a single person) doesn't always "fit" with something that is not tailored to me. And there's always stuff that happens, like a social life, illness, injury, job crisis, family crisis, etc., that interrupt the plan. In those situations, we often wonder how we should adjust and don't have a lot of guidance as to how to go about doing it.
Customized plans involve a lot more data collection that allows for a comprehensive and tailored approach that will not only take the guesswork out (leading to more streamlined results), but also take advantage of an educated and experienced professional that can provide accountability and additional guidance when you get off course.
Ultimately, training has to work with your life. If paying for a program disrupts a part of your life, then don't do it. If trying to SWTFP (stick with the f*cking plan) creates disruption in your life, then don't do it. Training should be about life balance, otherwise it isn't healthy.
At the end of the day, we train to have fun, to be more fit, and to improve our overall quality of life. If this isn't the case, you really need to take a good, hard look at what isn't working and fix it.
Of course, at Tri Fitness, we are always ready and willing to help give you options for your best course of action, so don't hesitate to reach out to us. If it's your first time with us, schedule a free consult! Just call us or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you're looking for a great podcast centered around health, wellness, and fitness for women, we highly Dr. Pam Peeke's podcast, Her. You can find all the streaming places here. We're especially fond of Episode #10.