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Fitness reboot

LiveWell’s Harry has always enjoyed exercising and keeping active, but a break means he needs to reboot his fitness. Here’s how he puts together his programme... 


Time to climb out of this rut!

After a good 6 weeks of life getting in the way (sickness, family, work) my fitness routine has almost become none existent. It's now officially time to take steps in the right direction. I've decided that because the routine has died out almost entirely. I'm going to spend 2 weeks doing exercises at home to build that base strength & routine, once this is done I'll be able to get back to starting 4 days/week of getting outside to the gym / roads (2 days strength & 2days cardio). The main reason for this, is just simply the recovery. I know I get really bad dormant muscle soreness (This is the soreness you get after exercising, the more you exercise the muscles, the less sore after a workout they will become, stretching after a workout will help reduce this too), so the 1st few weeks will take me some build-up training to get ready for the lifestyle change. The fitness programme I'm going to go with is the following:


Day 1 - Trainers running:

5km run as fast as possible - this will be a good test of both speed & endurance. Don't worry if you're not quite able to run 5km just yet, you can work up to it by walking 5km, but adding a few short runs into it. Then next time you can either add more runs, or extend the existing runs, then by the end it will be one long 5km run. Couch to 5k can help if you've done little or no running at all, the app can help you make a plan and track your progress, see how it helped LiveWell's Sally become a runner.

Day 2 - Full upper body:

Chest, shoulders, back, triceps & biceps - this is mainly maintenance work to stop losing muscle mass around these areas. Focussed on compound (compound movements incorporate lots of muscles at once) work such as the following:

  • Hex bar deadlift - this is where you lift a hex bar off the ground until you lock the knees out, with your feet shoulder width apart, arms locked out & making sure you don’t arch the back.
  • Bench press - this is where you lay back on a bench, then push the bar off your chest until your elbows are locked out.
  • Shoulder press - this is where you lift either a bar or a pair of dumbbells from in-front of your clavicles to overhead where your elbows are locked out)
  • Dumbbell curls - this is where you hold a dumbbell in both hands situated at your waist, then you lift the dumbbells to your shoulders, by only bending at the elbows.
  • Triceps cable pulldown - this is where you utilise a cable machine, hold the ropes around chest height, pin the elbows into your body, then press down the ropes until your elbows fully lock out). *Please do see the link to the exercise directory for a more detailed explanation of these exercises* 

Day 3 - Sprint training:

This is a more interval training orientated session with the goal being focussed on speed & power. This is done by running for 20 minutes, with a 1-1 ratio of sprint - walk. The idea being that you walk as fast as you can for 1 minute, then sprint as fast as you can for another minute, then repeat this 10 times. This is usually a harder session but much shorter, and where you can really exercise the cardiovascular system in a small period of time.

Day 4 - Legs:

This is my focal point of my training program for my current goal, this will consist of:

  • Back squat - this is where you rest a bar on your shoulders, then bending at the knees, keeping the back straight. You'll try to sit back into an imaginary chair until your bum is parallel with your knees, then you'll raise the body using only your legs to stand back in the starting position.
  • Romanian deadlift - this is where you hold a bar at your waist with your arms locked out. Then keeping your back and legs straight, you bend at the waist lowering the bar to the ground in front of you, keeping your arms locked out, then raising and returning to the start position using only your waist and legs to bend & stabilise.
  • Leg extension & leg curl - these are done using their respective machines, which will have instructions for use on the equipment.
  • Calf raise - this is where you stand in the back squat starting position by standing up, with the bar on your shoulders and feet shoulder width apart. You'll then raise as high as you can on your tip-toes, hold for 2 seconds, then return back down. *Please do see the link to the exercise directory for a more detailed explanation of these exercises* 

Day 5 - Recovery:

This is just a day off, where I stretch at home and allow for the weekend of recovery.

Man lifting dumbbell whilst stretching legs.

What motivates me:

I've always hated running, but I know it's needed for my overall cardiovascular health. My main motivation is to be as healthy as possible so I can enjoy life with my daughter to the fullest, and be there for her most important moments in life. This doesn't neccessarily help me to stay motivated for the day-to-day stuff though, so I need to break that motivation down to a more 'in the moment' motivation. To do this I'm going to start first 2 weeks off with a more casual amount of cardio, just to 'blow out those cobwebs'. After that, I'm going to set time or distance goals, and strive to achieve them as fast as possible! And I might even treat myself to a new pair of running trainers once I beat some more significant numbers. Want to understand the different types of motivation and how they work? This webpage has some great definitions.


Here's a link to some of the best stretches for this type of exercises routine:

The Best Total Body Stretching Exercises to Improve Flexibility programme will help maintain full body strength, increase strength in the legs & also utilise that strength to increase speeds & cardiovascular health. After a few months, I'll probably change this program to a more strength based program where I primarily do maintenance work for my cardiovascular health. 

The Exercise Directory allows me to maintain a well-rounded level of fitness & health as opposed to being focussed on one key area specifically.The direcetory provides an index of weightlifting exercises.


If the training programme I'm doing is a little too advanced, there's a bunch of helpful links and apps that can help you make your own fitness programme:

Build a workout programme - how to guide on building your own fitness plan from scratch

Get into running - a guide on how to start running with Couch to 5K.

Interval training - a guide to high intensity interval training

Portion control - how to measure your portion sizes.

Last but not least - always remember:

Something is better than nothing.

Listen to your body: if it's painful, try something different.



Need some advice or coaching to help kickstart your fitness journey?

Our team of Advisors and Coaches are here to help! We'll discuss your options and help you get active and achieve your goals. Just click to register.



How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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