Category: Exercise Right.

How to get fit as a dad

How to get fit as a dad

It can be hard to stay fit when you become a dad. Being a husband is hard. Being a father and a husband is harder. Trying to be a fit father and husband can feel almost impossible. The following blog is written from one father to another, in an attempt to help inspire all dads to make time to get fitter and healthier.

The “dad bod”

Being fit and healthy requires time, and trying to fit that in amongst work, wife and kids can be puzzling. Prioritizing your fitness requires you to bump something down the list. It requires a little bit of selfishness with a touch of salt. So, first thing you need to do is join the mile high club.

Mile high club

Prior to take off, airline emergency rules clearly state that in the case of an emergency, a parent should attend to themselves before attending to their child. This is imperative as one cannot help another, if they do not help themselves first. Being a dad should be the same. It is hard to help your children if you do not take care of yourself on a mental and physical level. Maintain your fitness levels, in order keep up with your children at the park, to help carry them when they fall down, and above all else, to help inspire them to get fit by watching you – their biggest idol.

But how can you make more time in the day to exercise? I call it the barter system.

Barter your time

Remember the old work/life balance phrase? Does it really work? Rather than try to balance your time, you could think of bartering your time. For 24 hours write down how many hours of the day are devoted to the things you do. Then step back and take a look at the hours you devote to work and life. You will realise that you cannot extend the day, but you can exchange time, via a barter system.

If you want an hour to exercise? Then you need to barter with yourself to exchange that hour for another hour. In my case, I didn’t want to barter my family time and upset the wife, so instead I bartered my sleep. I exchanged one hour of sleep for one hour of exercise, and it did not affect my family or work time. Have a good look at the 24 hours you spend per day, and I’m sure you will find an hour that you are willing to give up for an hour of exercise.

fit father

Every sweat counts

Once you have found your hour, you need to learn to squeeze every bit of sweat out of it. Think of earning sweat like earning money – be efficient. Get the most out of the hour you have. Walking for one hour may burn 250 calories. However, 45 minutes of high intensity training may burn 500 calories. Plus, every little extra bit of physical activity counts. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Carry a kid when walking for some extra weight. Remember that something is always better than nothing!

Time-efficient work out for dads

As much as everyone would love an hour to exercise, life itself can be gruelling, and having time just to relax and unwind can be just as important for your mental and physical state as exercise. But even trying to barter 20 minutes of exercise is enough if you are efficient with each minute. The following workout is a simple 20 minute high intensity workout that you can do from the comfort of your home.

20 minutes: 1 minute high intensity rounds followed by 30 second’s rest.

Air Squats – 3 x 1 minute (as many as you can do)
Alternating Lunges  – 3 x 1 minute (as many as you can do)
Push ups – 3 x 1 minute (as many as you can do)
Leg raises – 3 x 1 minute (as many as you can do)

The above workout is designed to burn as many calories as possible during the 20 minutes. However, how many calories you burn comes down to you. The more reps you do during each minute, the more calories you will burn. It is a full body workout aimed at utilising whole body movements and maximal muscle activation to help strengthen the body and burn calories.

Get your family involved

They say behind every great man, is a great woman. If you can make it a family goal to get fit and get the whole family on board, it can be easier. Share home duties with your wife, so you can both have time to exercise; let your kids watch you, rather than having them stare at technology. Lead by example, as staying fit and healthy can motivate your family in ways words never will. Don’t strive just to be a fit dad, strive to be a fit family, and flourish together.

If you need help getting started, chat to an accredited exercise professional. You can find one near you my clicking here.

Written by Constantine Trantis. Constantine is a father of two and Accredited Exercise Scientist

How to Minimise the Inevitable Onset of Training Fatigue

How to Minimise the Inevitable Onset of Training Fatigue

Performance often declines as fatigue accumulates.

The question is …. How can you minimise the inevitable onset of training fatigue?

The concept of what constitutes fatigue has been an ongoing and fiercely debated topic, due to the complex mechanisms that constitute fatigue.

This relationship has intrigued coaches, sport scientists and athletes for years, and the reality is, there is no definitive answer as to why or how fatigue has an effect on performance.

What is clear however, is the detrimental effect fatigue poses to performance and increased risk of injury.

YES, BUT HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN FATIGUE?

There is a certain element of mystery surrounding the concept of fatigue.

Have you ever found yourself heading out for a run, 5 minutes in you are gasping for air and want to slow down, so you do.

As you reach the end of your street, you speed up to get home quicker. If you are really that exhausted, how were you able to speed up at the end?

It seems that the concept of fatigue may be a set limit by the body in order to ensure protection against physiological failure or damage to our muscles, the cardiovascular system and thermoregulation.

It would make sense that each individual would have their own set limits or parameters for fatigue based on their level of fitness.

For example, a fit individual is able to push their body’s oxygen carrying capacity, work through glycogen depletion further and takes longer to loose body heat than an individual who is not as fit and therefore does not have as developed thermoregulatory and energy system mechanisms.

SO, THE QUESTION REMAINS, HOW CAN YOU MINIMISE THE INEVITABLE ONSET OF FATIGUE?

This set limit of fatigue is the body’s defence mechanism to ensure there is not a complete failure of the system.

It would seem that the accumulation effect of glycogen depletion, failure to supply oxygen fast enough to the working muscles and failure in the thermoregulatory processes, triggers a response by the brain to indicate pain and a want to cease exercise as a proactive measure.

This could mean that the body’s signals are sent well before physiological failure which is what allows the ability to perform one final sprint, or interval of intense exercise at the end of activity.

Rather than slowing down before a lack of oxygen, high body temperature and high lactate levels, you slowdown in order to prevent them.

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

1. You are probably slowing down well before your body has actually reached a point of fatigue.

2. The symptoms (e.g. muscle soreness and difficulty breathing) are often what guide our perception of fatigue.

3. Performance and fatigue are regulated to prevent harmful limits from being reached. An ability to push as close to these limits as possible, will mean optimisation of performance.

Speak with a professional

Everyone has individual traits and abilities and if you’re new to exercise and sport it can be tough to know where to start safely.

Accredited exercise professionals are university-qualified who are equipped with the knowledge and skills to improve health, fitness, well-being, performance, and assist in the prevention of chronic conditions.

To find an accredited exercise professional near you, click here.

The Nike Run Club gives you the guidance, inspiration and innovation you need to become a better athlete. Join Nike Run Club to reach your goals and have fun along the way. Download to get started.

Written by Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Megan McMinn.

We have partnered with Nike Australia Pty Ltd for this article series. The views expressed in this article, unless otherwise cited, are exclusively those of the author, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA). ESSA is a professional organisation committed to establishing, promoting and defending the career paths of tertiary trained exercise and sports science practitioners.

Nike had no role in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data or research or the writing of this article.

Protect yourself from skin cancer when exercising this summer

Protect yourself from skin cancer when exercising this summer

Australia has the highest skin cancer rates in the world. This includes melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma). With summer approaching, more Aussies will be heading outdoors to exercise. So how can you protect yourself against skin cancer?

Two in three Aussies will be diagnosed with a skin cancer by the time they turn 70, so it’s something we all need to be aware of. Unfortunately, this is Australia’s national cancer.

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. In 2020 it was estimated that over 16,000 Aussies would be diagnosed with melanoma. That’s why Aussies need to get “skin serious”!

melanoma

Source: MSCAN

What causes skin cancer?

The most common cause of skin cancer is damage to the skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Skin cancer, including melanoma, is most common in people who have experienced sunburn during childhood or who work extensively outdoors. It affects people of all colours and races, but people with lighter skin tone and those who burn more easily in the sun are at greater risk.

Importantly, the most preventable cause of skin cancer is overexposure to UV radiation. In other words, spending too much time outdoors when the UV Index is three or higher and not practicing sun (UV) safety when outdoors.

So, should I stop exercising outdoors?

While regular physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of most cancers, skin cancer is an exception. Some research has found that a range of athletes, including hikers, tennis players and runners, exceed the recommended ultraviolet exposure limit by up to eight times. This is especially true in the summer months.

Does that mean you should stop exercising outside? Absolutely NOT!

There are still heaps of benefits of exercising outside! Being outdoors can have a positive impact on your mental health, improve your mood and can help to boost your vitamin D levels.

The key is to make sure you’re sun safe while exercising outside.

sun safety melanoma

How can you reduce your risk?

Thanks to campaigns like the “slip slop slap” campaign, skin cancer incidence in younger Australians are actually decreasing. For people aged less than 40 the incidence rate has dropped from a peak of 13 cases per 100,000 in 2002 to an estimated 9.4 per 100,000 in 2016.

We asked the Melanoma & Skin Cancer Advocacy Network (MSCAN) for their tips on reducing skin cancer risk, and here’s what they said:

Avoid peak UV times and seek shade

The sun’s UV rays are typically the strongest between 10am and 4pm. The risk of sun damage occurs when the UV level is forecast to be 3 or above, and the UV level changes throughout the day.

Check the UV level in your local area at the Bureau of Meteorology website, the SunSmart website or app. Limit exposure to the sun and stay in the shade as much as possible during these midday hours when the UV level is 3 or above.

Wear sun protective clothing, a broad-brimmed hat and sunnies

Clothes can provide great protection from the sun. Darker coloured clothing is typically more protective than lighter coloured and you may like to look for clothing that has a UPF rating.

Wearing a broad-brimmed (or legionnaire or bucket style) hat is also a great idea.

Sunglasses offer important protection, as UV light can have a harmful effect on the eyes and eyelids. It is possible to get a melanoma in the eye, called an ocular melanoma. There are Australian Standards for eye protection (AS/NZS1067), so choose category 2 or higher. These lenses absorb more than 95% of UV radiation (both UVA and UVB)

Sunscreen is your last line of defence

Sunscreen is important and is ideally used along with other sun protection (as outlined above).

Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher

SPF – Sun Protection Factor – indicates what percentage of the sun’s UV rays it can block. The higher the SPF rating of the sunscreen, the greater the percentage of harmful rays it can block.

“Broad-spectrum” refers to the fact that your sunscreen will protect your skin from both UVB and UVA rays from the sun.

Don’t forget to check the expiry date of your sunscreen.

Sunscreen that doesn’t show an expiry date has shelf life of no more than three years. This can be less if it’s been exposed to direct sun or excessive heat. Sunscreen should be stored below 30°C. It might be a bit old if it changes colour from white to yellow, changes in consistency, or starts to separate.

Lather up! And often! Even on cloudy days

Amazingly, most people only apply 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen. It’s important to later a thick layer or you won’t get the full SPF protection stated on the label. Seven teaspoons of sunscreen is required to cover your whole body, and it’s best to apply it about 15 minutes before going in the sun. Remember to cover tricky spots – the tops of your ears, back of your neck, top of your feet and your scalp. Lip balm with SPF is a good idea too.

Many sunscreens aren’t as protective after two hours, and no sunscreen is waterproof or sweatproof. Sunscreen labels may say “water-resistant” which means they have been tested to be effective for up to 40 minutes of swimming.  It’s important to reapply sunscreen immediately after swimming, sweating, or using a towel.

Remember that UV rays can be strong even on overcast days. Sun protection is required every day that the UV is 3 or above, even when it’s cloudy. Protecting yourself from the sun’s rays is important whenever you’re exercising outdoors.

Exercising after a skin cancer diagnosis

Research has shown that tailored exercise prescription can help with side effects of cancer treatment, especially fatigue associated with chemo and radiation. Being physically active before and after diagnosis can also help with treatment outcomes, quality of life and life expectancy.

To learn more about exercising during and after cancer treatment, download our FREE eBook.

Written in collaboration with Melanoma & Skin Cancer Advocacy Network (MSCAN).

Why can’t I stick to exercise?

Why can’t I stick to exercise?

Have you ever gone on a health kick and fallen off the wagon? Whether it’s a New Year’s Resolution or you’re just “starting next Monday”, so many of us decide to get active, go hard for a few weeks, then give up. Despite knowing that exercise is good for us, only half of us regularly do enough exercise to stay healthy. So why do we struggle?

How much exercise should you be doing?

It’s recommended that you participate in at least 30 minutes of exercise and physical activity on most (five) days of the week. Not only can doing regular exercise and physical activity improve your mental and musculoskeletal health, but it can reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. However, 1 in 2 Australian adults are not sufficiently active to see these benefits.

If we know regular exercise is good for us, then why is it so hard to stick with it? There are so many factors that impact our exercise participation, and these will be different for everyone. Here are a few of the main reasons people stop exercising, and how to overcome them:

I have no motivation

This is a really common reason for not exercising regularly. Your motivation will be low when exercise has a low personal value. Ask yourself, what does exercise mean to me? Why am I doing it? Perhaps you want to improve your mental health or reduce your blood pressure. Perhaps you want to be able to run 5km without stopping or be able to keep up with your grandkids. Whatever the reason, it needs to mean something to you! Don’t exercise just because you think you should be doing it.

Once you know why you’re exercising, it’s time to set goals to work towards. You should consider both short- and long-term goals. Use the short-term goals to help you stay on track on your way to achieving your long-term goal.

When setting your goals, make sure they are specific, you have a way to track your progress, and you set a realistic timeline to achieve this. An example short-term goal would be to walk 20 minutes, three times per week, within one month, which you could use to achieve a long-term goal of meeting the guidelines of 30 minutes of exercise, five times per week, within three months. You could track your progress to this goal using an exercise diary.

Once you have set your goals, it’s important to review them regularly. Ensure they still apply to you and keep you motivated to exercise. Be sure to set new goals as you achieve the old ones.

I have no time

When we have a lot going on, including work, family and/or childcare responsibilities, or study, exercise is often the first thing to go to the bottom of the to-do list. But as we know, exercise is important for our health. Try integrating exercise into your other activities of daily life. For example, take the stairs instead of the lift, walk around while you’re on the phone, do strength exercises during TV ad breaks, or walk/cycle all or part of the way to work or shopping.

In terms of structured exercise, if you can’t do a full 30-minute structured exercise session, break it up into two periods of 15 minutes that day. Overall, it’s important to remember that ANY exercise is better than no exercise.

Another exercise option for those of us who are time poor is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT involves short bursts of high intensity activity, interspersed with periods of low intensity activity or rest. HIIT sessions can be as short as 10 minutes, while still providing similar benefits to 30-minute moderate intensity sessions.

To incorporate HIIT into your program, add periods of fast running into your jog, or add hills or stairs into your walks. Overall, HIIT doesn’t mean you need to exercise to your maximum; you are just trying to increase your breathing to the point that would make it difficult to hold a conversation. If you have any underlying health conditions, you should consult a doctor or an Accredited Exercise Physiologist before attempting HIIT.

I have tried before, and I failed

You may start an exercise program strong and with the best intentions, but before you know it, you lose your way. Don’t be hard on yourself – it’s normal to go through periods where you are exercising less, but this is not a reason to give up.

Start by making a plan:

  1. When will your exercise be done? Schedule exercise into your week as you would appointments, meetings, or catch-ups with family and friends. Pick a time that suits you and your body – if you like to start your day early, schedule exercise in for the morning; if you have more energy later in the day, schedule exercise in the afternoon/evening.
  2. Where will the exercise be done? This may be at your home, a local gym, or outdoors.
  3. How will the exercise be done? Think about how long your sessions will take, and if you need specific equipment, transport, and/or clothing.

Now, make a back-up plan. Brainstorm what might get in the way of you sticking to your exercise plan and come up with potential solutions. For example, if you decide you are going to exercise outside, what other form of exercise could you do on days when it’s raining? If there are days you are not feeling up to exercise, can you reduce the length or intensity of the session (i.e., instead of jogging, can you do a short walk or Yoga)? Or can you reschedule your session for later in the week?

I don’t enjoy exercise

If you don’t enjoy something, why would you continue to do it? There are hundreds of ways for you to be physically active! You don’t need to force yourself to do an activity you don’t enjoy. Exercise does not have to mean going for a run or lift weights in the gym. Exercise could be dancing, skipping rope, swimming, group classes like Pilates, playing sport, hiking, or even yard work (mowing, raking etc). Try a few different activities until you find one you enjoy as you will be more likely to stick with it.

You could also recruit an exercise buddy. Research has shown that exercising with another person can help you to adhere to exercise because it makes exercise more enjoyable and keeps you accountable. Your exercise buddy could be a family member, friend, co-worker, a community group, or a local sports team.

Still struggling?

An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can set you on the right path, whether that be finding the type of exercise that is best for you, setting achievable goals, or keeping you accountable. Find one near you!

Written by Emily Cox. Emily is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and lecturer at the University of Newcastle.

Why Every Athlete Should Practice Yoga

Why Every Athlete Should Practice Yoga

As an athlete (professional or amateur), by now you should know the importance of looking after your body.

If you don’t know, well now you do.

Recovery protocols are as important as any weight you lift, hill you run, or skill you improve.

When most athletes or workout fanatics are asked whether yoga is part of their exercise routine, many will say they don’t have the time or feel its unnecessary – Why?

It comes down to being misinformed or uneducated.

A lot of athletes (more so amateurs) still aren’t aware of how important stretching and breathing is and how it plays in with their performance.

Yoga for athletes can bring an added edge to the performance of everyone from amateurs striving to improve their lives, to professionals competing against elite athletes.

EVERY athlete – irrespective of sport or discipline – has the potential to enhance his or her ability by adopting a consistent yoga practice.

Many professionals would go so far as to say if you’re not practicing yoga, you’re competing at a disadvantage and missing an opportunity to enhance peak performance.

A well-rounded yoga practice includes dynamic flexibility training, core stabilisation, strengthening and balance work.

By focusing on these vital elements, yoga can help an athlete by:
  • Aiding muscle recovery
  • Preventing injuries
  • Reducing stress, increase focus and relieve tension
  • Strengthening underused muscles
  • Building up your core
  • Improving your sleep

If you are serious about your performance then recovery and building on your development should be at the forefront.

Still unsure about yoga? We spoke with a professional to break it down further.

An expert’s opinion

Exercise Right thought there would be no better person to provide an insight into the benefits of yoga than Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Inform Health & Fitness Solutions, Jacinta Brinsley.

Jacinta combines her clinical exercise prescription with a holistic mind-body approach. She is currently completing a PhD exploring the benefits of mindfulness combined with movement (e.g., yoga) on mental and physical health. As such, her prescription has a strong focus on biomechanics, alignment, yoga and mental health.

We asked Jacinta why every athlete should try yoga.

Why every athlete should practice yoga:

Do you think all athletes should incorporate yoga into their training to help improve their performance?

Definitely.

Depending what their sport is will depend on what kind of yoga they will benefit most from.

Styles of yoga that I would consider to be moderate to high intensity forms of exercise, such as vinyasa, power yoga, bikram, ashtanga and hot yoga, focus on control, stability and strength through range of motion which can be incredibly beneficial for athletes.

However, it can put a decent demand on the neuromuscular system, so more light-moderate forms of yoga such as hatha and Iyengar, which are typically slower in nature, require longer holds but are less strenuous from a cardiorespiratory perspective might be more suitable.

Then there’s yin yoga, which sits in its own camp. It focuses on the connective tissue of the body, namely the fascia – a spider-web like tissue made primarily of collagen (think dense elastic) – that encases every muscle and organ in your body. Rather than using our muscles to get us into a shape, we allow our body to assume its natural position based on the state of our tissues, relax our muscles and let gravity work its magic.

When we get an injury, it’s this tissue that reduces our range of motion and makes us feel tight and restricted. Applying sustained tensile stress, like holding a forward fold for 3 minutes in yin yoga, stimulates the remodelling of our fascia to an organised format so that your body slides and glides from the inside.

“The mental and psychological benefits are huge”

In addition to the physiological and bio-chemical benefits, we can’t forget the mental and psychological benefits – perhaps what yoga is most known for!

Spending 60 minutes with your awareness solely on your internal experience can have incredible effects on our emotional awareness and regularity, stress management, body awareness as well as helping us train our mind to focus and resist distraction.

Quite often you’re prompted to use the breath as an anchor for your mind and perhaps even consciously deepen the inhalation and exhalation, subsequently slowing the rate of your breathing. This is one of the most effective ways to stimulate our vagus nerve.

The vagus nerve can be thought of as a dial between our body and our nervous system – when we’re stressed (mentally), we breathe more quickly, ready to run away or fight. It’s via our vagus nerve that our state of mind triggers our breathing to change. What’s really cool is that we actually can take over and have conscious control of our breathing!

So, if we are feeling stressed but we choose to breathe deeply and slowly, we send a signal via the vagus nerve to the brain saying ‘actually, I think everything is okay’.

By reducing the stress response, we help to reduce the amount of stress hormones in the body, reduce our inflammation, improve our blood sugar regulation, keep our blood pressure healthy and a whole range of other benefits! Amazing huh?

Yoga is incredibly special in that it’s one of the only movement modalities in the West that really focuses on breathing and control of the breath while also encouraging a high level of physical and mental awareness.

These benefits can be derived from any form of yoga as most types of yoga we come across in western culture comprise of movement, breathing techniques, mindfulness and sometimes meditative practices.

Can yoga enhance athletic performance?

Yoga can be used as a dynamic warm-up to get the joints and muscles moving before training as well as waking up the major support structures of the body: the spine and core, which work together to stabilise the rest of the body.

Yoga can also be used as a cool-down to massage those tender tissues from the inside out.

Practicing yoga may also contribute to your recovery, offering important preventative effects for asymmetries, tight spots, weak spots, neuromuscular blind spots and so on.

I would recommend discussing with your coach and considering the type of yoga and frequency of practice in your load management.

Is yoga the key to injury prevention in sports?

I think a lot of factors go into injury prevention, it’s never one thing alone.

The benefit that yoga offers (particularly to athletes) is movement variation in a pretty safe format.

As athletes, our bodies practice certain movements and sequences hundreds of thousands of times and our body adapts to those. When you think of tight hip flexors for example, you might think of a cyclist? Your body is extremely intelligent and moulds to what postures and movements you spend the most amount of time in.

Yoga offers a little balance, some counter-movements and postures. A little antidote to repetitive strains.

With no additional load, it’s just your body moving itself through its available range of motion, having to use strength to work against restriction/tightness. As with anything though, it can be done poorly and always carries some risk of injury.

Never do too much, too soon and always listen to your body!

Top tips for an athlete wanting to try yoga

1. Think about what yoga is best suited for you.

Choose a type of yoga that feels beneficial for addressing areas you need to strengthen (active mobility, passive mobility/connective tissue health, strength, proprioception, coordination, mental health).

2. Find the right teacher.

Find a good teacher, and preferably one who understands a little about working with athletes. Especially if you’re working with some previous or current injuries, modifications are your medicine.

3. Consistency is key.

The amount of times per week will depend on the individual but try to find the right dose for you and your body. When it comes to the mental health benefits, research data tells us that frequency is more important than the duration of the sessions.

Speak with a professional

Everyone has individual traits and abilities and if you’re new to exercise and sport it can be tough to know where to start safely.

Accredited exercise professionals are university-qualified who are equipped with the knowledge and skills to improve health, fitness, well-being, performance, and assist in the prevention of chronic conditions.

To find an accredited exercise professional near you, click here.

The Nike Run Club gives you the guidance, inspiration and innovation you need to become a better athlete. Join Nike Run Club to reach your goals and have fun along the way. Download to get started.

Written by Exercise Right. We have partnered with Nike Australia Pty Ltd for this article series. The views expressed in this article, unless otherwise cited, are exclusively those of the author, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA). ESSA is a professional organisation committed to establishing, promoting and defending the career paths of tertiary trained exercise and sports science practitioners.

Nike had no role in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data or research or the writing of this article.

Incidental Activity is NEAT! Here’s how to do more of it

Incidental Activity is NEAT! Here’s how to do more of it

We all know that regular exercise is good for our health, but most of us only focus on “structured” exercise. And while things like gym classes, running or weights sessions are great, there’s also another much more subtle way to be more active. It’s called incidental physical activity, and it can make a big difference to your well-being.

You don’t just burn energy when you’re exercising

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) collectively refers to any form of unstructured activity we do that expends energy. NEAT can include sleeping, grocery shopping, gardening, eating and hanging out the laundry. Whilst different activities will burn varying amounts of kilojoules, it’s important to note that NEAT makes up almost three quarters of our daily energy expenditure.

Factors that influence an individual’s NEAT are extensive. They include environmental considerations like ambient temperature and biological factors like height, weight and fat mass versus fat free mass. Other influences include occupation, working hours which may contribute to stress, sleep and time spent doing structured exercise.

Overall, it’s easier than you might think to increase the amount of energy you burn in a day.

The key is to move more and sit less

The evidence is clear: the more we move, the lower our risk of avoiding health complications as we age. Whilst seated our muscles are inactive and circulation of blood slows down. All it takes is three hours of sitting before significant decrements in arterial function can be detected. Prolonged sitting can increase the risk of health complications like diabetes, heart disease or high cholesterol in the long-term.

But it’s not all bad news…

prolonged sitting

A little movement makes a big difference

Even small changes can make a substantial difference when it comes to breaking up periods of sedentary time. Research shows that doing just three minutes of resistance exercises or light walking every 30 minutes of prolonged sitting can have a significant impact on your health. The results showed that for adults with poor adherence to structured exercise programs, interrupting prolonged sitting with brief periods of movement is a practical way to increase physical activity levels.

Another study looked the role of short activity breaks during periods of sitting for postprandial (after-food) glucose responses and diabetes management. There were three groups involved with this research. The first group were completely sedentary after consuming a standardised carbohydrate-based drink. The second group incorporated two-minute bouts of light intensity walking every 20 minutes after consuming the drink. The third group walked for two-minutes at a moderate intensity every 20 minutes.

The results showed that breaking up sitting with two minutes of light walking reduced blood glucose by 24.1%. Those who did moderate intensity walking saw an average reduction in their blood glucose levels of 29.6%. For those individuals who may be constrained to a wheelchair, performing air punches or alternative upper limb activities can help attain similar improvements.

Tips for increasing incidental physical activity

There’s lots of easy ways to move more! Below are some relatively simply ideas that might work for you in increasing your current level of incidental activity:

Don’t just sit while you watch TV

Sitting in front of the television burns around 9 kcal/hour. To increase your energy expenditure if required, try finishing off your evening with some ironing whilst watching your favourite television show. This will save you time later and expend an additional 50-100 kcal per hour! To provide some perspective, one hour of resistance band exercises expends a comparable amount of energy (subject to the intensity of training).

Use a standing desk

If you’re spending a lot of time sitting at a computer, try using a standing desk if you can. Alternatively, set a reminder on your phone or smart watch to stand up for 2-3 minutes every hour throughout the day.

Make the most of your lunch break

Recognising the lunch break as an opportunity to move is another way to ‘kill two birds with one stone’. Try walking with a colleague as an opportunity to socialise, get some sunshine, fresh air and expend some energy!

Make your meetings active

Take your phone calls on the move or try walking meetings. Whilst it’s sometimes easier said than done, try to recognise movement as an opportunity rather than an obligation or chore in maintaining your health and well-being.

Add short bursts of movement to boring tasks

Waiting for the kettle to boil? Try making a habit of incorporating squats, wall push-ups or calf raises to pass the time. If you’re working from home (like many of us are these days!) this is a great way to add some activity into your day.

Set yourself reminders to move

Using reminders can be an effective strategy to break up periods of prolonged sedentary behaviour. Putting reminders in places where you sit most can be a great idea if you don’t have access to an activity monitor or smart watch. The ‘Rise & Recharge’ app is a great one to keep you accountable.

Incidental activity is for everyone

Incidental activity isn’t just for people who aren’t performing regular structured exercise. Exercise and physical activity go hand in hand, and both occupy an important section of the Australian physical activity guidelines. So, regardless of whether you have attended your morning exercise class or not, we can all benefit more from sitting less and moving more!

Written by Hayden Kelly. Hayden is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Diabetes NSW and ACT.

Strength and Conditioning Specifics to Improve your Tennis Game

Strength and Conditioning Specifics to Improve your Tennis Game

Roger Federer once said –

“One of the most important characteristics to be a successful tennis player is to be physically fit.”

Regardless if you are a recreational tennis player or perhaps you are an aspiring professional, your game will improve with the inclusion of off-court fitness.

The importance of fitness becomes more evident as you progress into playing more difficult matches against more challenging opponents. You will find that matches become way more competitive and physical.

Whatever the sport, strength training is in harmony with various training factors (i.e., technical, tactical, physical and psychological) and training principles (i.e., overload, specificity, progression and individualisation). The connection strength training has with other training factors within a sport will equip an athlete with a complete set of tools in order to maximise their performance.

In tennis, strength is used to generate speed, power and endurance. It is impossible to have agility, speed, power, a developed anaerobic system, and flexibility/mobility without optimal strength levels.

Strength training is also critical to prevent injury. Because tennis is a sport that involves many repetitions of movements of unilateral features, it is conducive to developing muscular imbalances which significantly increase the likelihood of injury. Specific strength training for tennis is essential to maintain or restore proper muscle balance.

PROFESSIONAL INSIGHT

Exercise Right spoke with Accredited Exercise Scientist and owner of Best Practice Personal Training, Anthony Gillespie.

Anthony has coached tennis in Austria and London and discusses the importance of strength and conditioning for tennis players.

How important is strength and conditioning for a tennis player at any level for performance and injury prevention?

It is super important.

It is what underpins everything, including the mental side of performance on the court.

Often a fit mind follows a fit body and vice versa, but of course not always – the mental side is another blog entirely. Sure, you can get fitter and stronger by playing tennis, but nothing will replace specific strength and conditioning training.

Think about a top-level tennis match. What do you see?

There is the powerful fast serve and then the amazing reaction time to prepare and return that ball (sometimes with even more power).

There is a big need for high speed and agility to move across the court efficiently and also to have sufficient mobility of multiple limbs to run and then strike the ball sweetly. The player needs to be able to stabilise and maintain fine control at the end point to manoeuvre the racquet into position to achieve that clean contact.

The length of a single point can tax the aerobic system, but an advanced fitness level in this sense is more so for recovery between anaerobic bouts. The average point depending on the surface is usually not long enough to qualify as aerobic in nature.

Nevertheless, a professional tennis player needs to sustain bouts of maximal effort for matches lasting anywhere between less of than an hour and up to a 6 hour+ game.

All the components of fitness and performance needed for tennis should be developed and there is no better way to do that than through a structured and tailored approach to strength and conditioning.

The inclusion of focused tissue maintenance and recovery regime is vital because the fittest, strongest, fastest and most agile player is no good if they are injured. There clearly is a lot that needs to be worked on physically to give an individual the best chance to be the tennis player they want to be.

With a a small amount of time to train and a lot to cover, areas of weakness should be the prioritised target. There is no point for a tennis player to try to have a super advanced aerobic system like a distance runner. A Vo2 max that meets a good enough level will suffice with a minimum score of 55ml being the goal. That is not to say that maintenance of the ‘good enough’ area should ever be ignored but suffice to say it is a combination of both art and science to get this right in a strength and conditioning program.

What training specifics would a tennis pro be doing within their routine?

In the so called ‘off season’ it would be important to cross train to both give the highly used muscles a bit of a break but also allow a mental freshen up from the daily grind that can happen if the balance isn’t right.

It is fortunate that tennis requires so many different areas of performance, but also unfortunate in that there is almost too much to work on.

Cross training for aerobic fitness could be anything other than running. But of course, as the ‘season’ gets closer, running would take precedence. This running could be aerobic in nature aiming to achieve a Vo2 max possibly at least above 55ml.

There should also be anaerobic running focusing on the lactate system (up to about 60s of maximal effort) and the ATP/PC system (short powerful bursts). The breakdown of how much you do with each will depend on current ability and the type of player you are. The bigger the hitter, the more the focus on power.

If you are a counter puncher like Lleyton Hewitt, then an ability to keep running and retrieving will be super important. In short, you always need to be a lot fitter.

The training may change too according to the surface. It probably comes as no surprise that a great level of cardio fitness would be required for the French Open, where the average point length is a lot longer.

What does a general week look like?

This would be clearly different for a pro versus a serious amateur. After all, one makes their living from it and for the other, it is a secondary pursuit in life.

In general, time on the court needs to be the priority, but it will depend on what part of the ‘season’ it is.

Whilst it is true that tennis is a year-round game, there will be time throughout that year where certain events will be more prioritised.

For the purpose of this question, let’s assume it is a typical training week for an amateur. This player participates in an ordinary competition on the weekends and an event of note coming up in about 3 months.

Other than tennis practice on the court, the week should include a mix of training including aerobic base maintenance work:

Pre-Hab/Rehab Work

1-2 x 30-45 minute sessions

General Strength Training Routine (Whole Body)

1-2 x 20-30 minute sessions

Power and Agility

2 x 45 minute sessions

Speed Endurance and Speed Training

2 x 2-30 minute sessions

Recovery

1 x 60 minute session (massage, physio, osteo, etc. – preventative maintenance)

It should all be about quality movement and quality effort. There is no need to do hours and hours of general training for fitness and strength.

Get focused on the movements and efforts required to be good on a tennis court and the recovery mechanisms needed to re-set and stay fresh and injury free.

Your top 3-5 tips for an amateur player looking to take their game to the next level?
  1. Have a strong aerobic fitness base but don’t over do the long distance running as you need speed, agility and power more than an incredible Vo2 max.
  2. Do interval training both in a general sense and specific to the demands of tennis performance.
  3. Do strength training which looks at all body strength followed by exercises aimed at the muscles involved in powerful movements, e.g., legs, core, shoulder and arms. Think how they deliver power in the serve.
  4. Don’t forget mobility, trigger pointing and stretching to help the body recover in between training and playing events.
  5. Regular massage, chiro, osteo and/or physio to help maintain an injury free body. You can’t get better if you are sidelined.

Speak with a professional

Everyone has individual traits and abilities and if you’re new to exercise and sport it can be tough to know where to start safely.

Accredited exercise professionals are university-qualified who are equipped with the knowledge and skills to improve health, fitness, well-being, performance, and assist in the prevention of chronic conditions.

To find an accredited exercise professional near you, click here.

The Nike Run Club gives you the guidance, inspiration and innovation you need to become a better athlete. Join Nike Run Club to reach your goals and have fun along the way. Download to get started.

Written by Exercise Right. We have partnered with Nike Australia Pty Ltd for this article series. The views expressed in this article, unless otherwise cited, are exclusively those of the author, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA). ESSA is a professional organisation committed to establishing, promoting and defending the career paths of tertiary trained exercise and sports science practitioners.

Nike had no role in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data or research or the writing of this article.

The Fundamentals of Rugby Goal Kicking

The Fundamentals of Rugby Goal Kicking

Goal kicking is a full body movement full of angles, balance, strength and timing.

Have you ever watched a game of professional rugby union and seen a goal kicker slot the ball through the post from anywhere on the field effortlessly?

No matter the size of the crowd, the noise, the weather, or pressure, you watch on as an elite kicker systematically goes through their routine and kicks the ball perfectly.

In rugby union, a goal kicker has the biggest responsibility on the field and cannot be underestimated. They are normally the difference between winning and losing and keep the scoreboard ticking over. This has become more evident for Australia in recent years, usually being the difference in the Wallabies success.

In fact, if you’re a rugby fan, you would’ve just witnessed how important having an established goal kicker in the team is within the sport.

We all are still on a high after watching comeback kid, Quade Cooper put in a near perfect performance wearing Wallaby gold last weekend in his first game back after being recalled into the team after a four-year exile.

Cooper sealed the win after the buzzer with a cool, calm and thumping kick from 45 meters out.

If he missed, the hype around him right now would be completely different.

There is a lot of baggage that comes with being the kicker; some succeed and thrive, others crumble in the moment.

With so much added pressure on a goal kicker in sport, how does an amateur prepare to transition into a seasoned kicker?

Here are a few things to remember when lining up for your next kick.

Where to start?

A lot of young kickers look up to their idols and try replicate their particular kicking style. While they are a great aim for perfection, don’t hold yourself to a similar standard.

Don’t start changing your kicking style every practice – it’s about what feels comfortable to you.

THE FUNDAMENTALS OF RUGBY GOAL KICKING

1. The Set Up

Every goal kicker will have their own unique set up which will suit their style and action. A good tip here is to line the ball up with the seam and valve facing away from you and towards the goal. Having the seam and valve away from you helps with consistency as the inside of the ball is different around the valve.

2. The Run Up

Every player also has a unique style before their run up and Quade Cooper is the perfect example.

Quade has changed his style a few times because he keeps finding new ways to make him feel more comfortable kicking.

No style of his has been more famous than the rotating “holding the rope” technique back in the glory days of 2011. Even consider how Jonny Wilkinson use to kick the ball.

Choose a style that works for you and not someone else.

3. Opposite Foot Placement 

The opposite foot should always be placed directly alongside the ball about a half a foot out. The angle of this foot should always be pointing in the direction of the posts. Angled out it would go left and angled in it would go right. Having the foot placement too far forward will decrease your power, and having it too far back will make you kick further up the ball with less accuracy.

4. The Sweet Spot 

The kicking leg should always connect with the same point on the ball. Where the sweet spot is depends on your set up and style.

5. Shoulder and Head

If the kicker was a right footer, his left shoulder and head should always be over the ball in a powerful position and his head down, eyes fixed on the strike. A good tip here is to imagine the ball is glass and as you are over the ball you should be able to look through it to see your foot strike.

6. The Follow Through 

After the strike, every goal kicker needs to follow through the line of the ball. This helps accuracy, consistency and power. Some players, however, fall away to the side of the ball instead of in front of the ball. If you swing through the ball and finish in front, often you would achieve greater distance and a higher level of accuracy than those that fall away to the side.

Never skip leg day!

It should be common sense, but to be an accurate and great goal kicker, you must strengthen your lower limbs.

Lower limb strength will help correct muscle function and kicking technique. This allows kickers to create power, stability, accuracy and distance to their kicking game says Physical Performance Coach, Simon Price.

While you cannot go past the basics such as the squat or the dumbbell walking lunge, here are a few other exercises to do in the gym or weights room to help improve your kicking.

Exercises to incorporate into your program:
    • Single leg lunges (barbell or dumbbell) or Bulgarian split squats (barbell)
    • Copenhagen exercises (groin strength)
    • Uni-lateral and bi0lateral movements
    • Trunk rotation
Tips for goal kickers wanting to improve:
  • Strength is key! Don’t neglect your lower body in the gym.
  • Monitor your kicking load.
  • Practice your craft! You won’t improve without the extra work.
  • Always incorporate a good warm up and warm down in your training sessions as it will help reduce the risk of injury.

Speak with a professional

Everyone has individual traits and abilities and if you’re new to exercise and sport it can be tough to know where to start safely.

Accredited exercise professionals are university-qualified who are equipped with the knowledge and skills to improve health, fitness, well-being, performance, and assist in the prevention of chronic conditions.

To find an accredited exercise professional near you, click here.

The Nike Run Club gives you the guidance, inspiration and innovation you need to become a better athlete. Join Nike Run Club to reach your goals and have fun along the way. Download to get started.

Written by Exercise Right. We have partnered with Nike Australia Pty Ltd for this article series. The views expressed in this article, unless otherwise cited, are exclusively those of the author, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA). ESSA is a professional organisation committed to establishing, promoting and defending the career paths of tertiary trained exercise and sports science practitioners.

Nike had no role in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data or research or the writing of this article.

How to exercise with mitochondrial disease

How to exercise with mitochondrial disease

People living with mitochondrial disease often suffer from a wide range of symptoms that can drastically affect quality of life. So, is it safe to exercise with mitochondrial disease?

What is Mitochondrial Disease?

Mitochondrial Disease, or Mito as it is commonly referred to, is a rare genetic condition affecting the Mitochondria of 1 in 5000 Australians. Mitochondria are found in every cell in the body (with the exception of red blood cells) and produce greater than 90% of the energy needed for our bodies to survive. For this reason, mitochondria are often referred to as the powerhouse of the body. Mitochondrial Disease occurs when the bodies mitochondria become unable to produce energy properly, leading to cell death and organ system malfunction and/or failure (Mito Foundation).

What are the symptoms?

Because mitochondria are found in every cell, mitochondrial disease can essentially present with any symptoms, in any organ of the body. For this reason, it is notoriously difficult to diagnose. Many thousands of patients are misdiagnosed or remain undiagnosed for an extended period of time. Some of the most common presentations of Mitochondrial Disease include:

  • Eyes: drooping eyelids or difficulty moving one’s eyes
  • Brain: seizures, movement disorders, cognitive impairment, stroke, reduced balance, migraines
  • Ears: hearing loss
  • Heart: cardiomyopathy (an enlarged, but weak heart)
  • Body: weakness, fatigue, pain
  • Kidney: kidney failure
  • Liver: liver failure
  • Stomach/Bowel: reflux, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea
  • Pancreas: diabetes

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Mitochondrial Disease. Treatment and management plans are often varied dependent on the organs and body system impacted.  Mounting evidence is also showing that physical activity can play a key role in managing Mitochondrial Disease when used appropriately.

Exercise and mitochondrial disease

Mitochondrial disease can cause many symptoms the most common being muscle weakness and fatigue.  For that reason, improving fatigue levels is often a key goal for people starting an exercise program. Other benefits of exercise include increased engagement and positive association with movement, improved physical function, more independence and a reduced risk of comorbidities. If you’re living with Mito, exercise is less about achieving “norm” parameters and more about improving areas of life where function is impacted or limited. The overall goal is often about achieving the best possible quality of life.

exercise rehabilitation

What type of exercise is best?

The right exercise prescription can literally be like medicine for patients with Mitochondrial Disease. Under the guidance of an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP), you will be provided with an individualised exercise program and learn more about energy management and pacing strategies. Research indicates there are lots of benefits of performing regular aerobic exercise for Mito patients, particularly with reduced functional capacity and deconditioning. It has shown to improve oxidative capacity (oxygen uptake rates) and energy levels by increasing the number of healthy mitochondria in your cells and keeping them functioning at their best.

Resistance based training has shown to decrease proportion of mutated mtDNA in addition to improve muscle strength and function with no adverse effects or damage to muscle properties.

Tips for staying on track

When you feel the fatigue associated with Mitochondrial Disease, it can be difficult to imagine participating in exercise. That is why it is so important to work with an exercise professional that can assist you. An exercise program should consider:

  • Your likes and dislikes
  • The importance of starting ‘low and slow’ – it is better to be the tortoise than the hare!
  • Set small, realistic goals
  • Listen to your body and monitor your fatigue levels
  • Stay hydrated
  • Ensuring you don’t overdo it when you feel well
  • Take breaks and stop if you feel excessive fatigue or illness

Guidance from an Accredited Exercise Physiologist

Physical activity for people living with Mitochondrial Disease is a complex balance that usually takes some time to get right. For this reason, it’s wise to get some guidance from an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) before starting an exercise program.

An AEP will work with you to tailor a program that considers the presentation of your Mitochondrial Disease, as well as factors such as your health status, living and working situation, medications, and exercise preferences. As your fitness and symptoms change, they will be able to assist you to modify your program accordingly.

Click here to find an exercise physiologist near you.

Written by the following members of the Australian Mitochondrial Disease Exercise Physiology Network:

Amanda Semaan: Amanda is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Co-Director of Active Ability.

Ashley Boniface: Ashley is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Bodytrack Exercise Physiology

An Insight into the Preparation of an FIM Superbike Racer

An Insight into the Preparation of an FIM Superbike Racer

You may be unfamiliar with the sport, but FIM Superbikes are a world class motorcycle championship that attracts a huge following across the world.

Like Formula 1, the sport requires its athletes to be fearless and provides fans with many edges-of-your-seat moments (and gasps).

A lot of FIM racers are incredibly talented, and most push the boundaries of their bodies and bikes. While fans are drawn to the high speeds and turns of the racing world, a lot of us would have no idea how much (or if any) training these riders actually do.

Do they train or just ride?

If you think it’s easy being a motorbike racer, think again. It requires daily training, strict eating habits and lots of dedication. If you asked any motorbike racer, they would tell you their physical fitness is one of the key factors to success on the track.

A typical race goes for 40 minutes where riders race between 90 and 110 kilometers, at speeds up to 185 kilometers – as you can imagine, it’s extremely physically demanding (and mentally tough).

Fatigue and aches are an issue with a lot of riders while racing, which is why strength and conditioning is now a focus for many of these athletes and the sport.

The importance of strength and conditioning

FIM racers train every single day.

The physical conditioning of racers is now paramount in the sport, making it easier to withstand the gruelling race season they participate in.

When you see riders pass or lap each other, it is evident they are becoming fatigue from working overtime because of their muscular weakness. Weak muscular endurance results in their heat and lungs working overtime too – this argues that although cardiovascular fitness is necessary, strength is equally important.

Strength training makes riding a powerful superbike less physically demanding on the rider, which will then use less oxygen and their riding performance will improve. If a rider is strong for their bodyweight, they will be able to perform and focus a lot better around the circuit than their weaker competitors.

Another key component of strength training (for any sport!) is injury prevention. It’s simple – riders and athletes who incorporate strength raining have fewer injuries.

Strength training strengthens the muscles at all ranges and increases bone density. If a rider does get injured, they also tend to heal a lot quicker and they are able to get back to training a lot sooner than the riders who do not.

A proper strength training program may well be the final piece of your training “puzzle” to quicker lap times and a step on that podium.

The next time someone tells you that strength training can slow you down on a bike, ask them to think again.

Insight from a professional

Exercise Right spoke with Accredited Sports Scientist (Level 2), Paulo Barroso. Paulo is the founder of Solid Sports and has been working for 25 years in the health and sports environment, with experience in sports coaching, sports science and exercise physiology.

His impressive career has seen him work with high-performance swimmers, and teams and individuals in a variety of other sports including fighting, motorcycle racing, triathlon, hockey, skateboarding, surfing, and sailing, among others.

Paulo provides us with an insight of how a FIM Superbike racer prepares and how important strength and conditioning is for riders nowadays.

superbike

How a FIM superbike racer prepares:

Can you give us an insight into the type of training and preparation they do to be race ready?

In the past, same as other similar sports, most of the riders would only focus on their ability and fearlessness to push the limits.

With the increased power, speed and high level of competitiveness in bike races that came with the evolution of bikes and races throughout the years, the demand for better conditioning for the riders became a necessity. Not only to maintain the performance level, but also to prevent injures, such as overuse, RSI, or even mitigate the damage in case of a crash (not to mention the recovery to get back on track after a crash).

Saying that, most of the professional riders nowadays are high-performance athletes with the same level of training as any other sports.

Most motorcycle riders need to have optimal endurance to handle the race weeks during the season, strength to handle the G-force, and power and agility to execute the pendulum or act fast when necessary.

Types of training:

Cycling:

Cycling is the most common modality used for riders to improve performance.

Firstly, it is possible to train all intensities zones (aerobic, VO2max, anaerobic, sprints) in a very similar position to riding a motorbike.

Secondly, cycling has a lower impact than running, which is also part of the preparation although with less volume than on the road bike.

Strength training:

Like any other sports, strength is a crucial element in the physical preparation of a superbike rider.

You must develop a full-body strength and conditioning program according to each rider’s individuality, aiming to develop general strength and correct any weakness identified in the previous screening.

The program must include functional exercises related to specificity of riding.

Important muscles:

    • Lats, pecs, biceps, triceps and shoulders (riding position).
    • Adductors, glutes, legs, abs and lumbar muscles (leaning, standing, breakage and pendulum).
    • Forearm and hand muscles for throttle, clutch and braking (essential to prevent and treat arm pump – compartmental syndrome which is common in motorcycle riders).

How much training (strength and conditioning) is involved compared to being on the track?

This will depend on the period of the season and the athlete biotype; motorbike riders are usually short, lean, and light to favour the aerodynamic and relation weight vs power. It will also vary for each individual, to give an idea we could illustrate this way:

Off-season:

Here is where the physical foundation is built; general strength and conditioning (S&C) is the priority:

    • S&C: Cardio + Strength Development (70%) – cycling/running/swim/gym/extra (yoga/Pilates)
    • Bike Riding (30%) – small amounts of riding – motocross/supermotard/minibike

Pre-season:

Here riders will be adjusting/testing equipment, test different tunes on the bike but also preparing physically for the season approaching:

    • S&C: Cardio + Functional Specific Training (50%) – focus on riding movements and principal muscles in their riding specificity + cycling and run
    • Bike Riding (50%) – testing equipment, bike set-up and reconditioning to ride/speed/technics/tactics

In-season:

Here the focus will be on performance; the rider will focus on track strategies for the week race (depending on the calendar, they can races have monthly or fortnightly or even back-to-back weeks):

S&C maintenance, activation, mobilisation, and recovery (30%)

  • S&C to maintain cardio, strength and power without depleting the rider
  • Activation and mobilisation are essential to get the rider bike ready
  • Recovery – the rider will be jumping on and off the bike many times during the week – spin bikes are a good tool for that

Bike riding/practice on the track (70%)

This includes last bike adjustments, track learning and strategy development, time trials, qualifies, warm-up and racing day.

Riders might get to the circuit one or two weeks before the race day.

Usually, they have official rides on Tuesday and Wednesday – free practice on Thursdays – free practice and trials on Friday – Saturday qualify and Superpole, Sunday warm-up and race 1, warm-up and race 2.

It happens usually in two sessions a day, mornings and afternoons.

What does a general weekly program look like in the life of a racer?

Off-season:

    • Cardio 5-6 days/week (bike, run, swimming)
    • Strength 3-4 days/week
    • Yoga / Pilates 2-3 days/week
    • Bike riding 2-3 days/week

Pre-season:

    • Cardio 5 days/week (bike, run)
    • S&C 3-4 days/week (functional and general)
    • Bike riding (4-5 days / week)

In Season:

    • Cardio 3-5 days/week (including recovery)
    • S&C 2 days/week (Monday and Tuesday maintenance – low load and intensity)
    • Activation and mobilisation 6 days/week (every morning before riding)
    • Bike riding 6 days/week (two or three sessions a day)

Speak with a professional

Everyone has individual traits and abilities and if you’re new to exercise and sport it can be tough to know where to start safely.

Accredited exercise professionals are university-qualified who are equipped with the knowledge and skills to improve health, fitness, well-being, performance, and assist in the prevention of chronic conditions.

To find an accredited exercise professional near you, click here.

The Nike Run Club gives you the guidance, inspiration and innovation you need to become a better athlete. Join Nike Run Club to reach your goals and have fun along the way. Download to get started.

Written by Exercise Right. We have partnered with Nike Australia Pty Ltd for this article series. The views expressed in this article, unless otherwise cited, are exclusively those of the author, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA). ESSA is a professional organisation committed to establishing, promoting and defending the career paths of tertiary trained exercise and sports science practitioners.

Nike had no role in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data or research or the writing of this article.