The perfect fitness formula
Strength, cardio, core, stretching – how much should you do of each? Personal trainer Hayley Roper shares her winning formula.
While exercise programs need to be tailored to an individual’s fitness levels and health history, experience has taught Melbourne-based personal trainer Hayley Roper of Love My Body that some shared principles apply.
Finding a successful formula that integrates resistance training, varies intensity and prioritises stretching has enabled her to help her clients achieve their wellbeing goals.
Here she shares the core basics of her tried and true method – then it’s up to you to fill in the gaps.
"While everyone’s fitness goals are different, if you want to get super fit and change your body shape, try this weekly formula."
There are four different types of training that I combine in all my clients' workout programs:
1. Resistance training
All of my clients do high intensity circuit training for resistance workouts. Inside the circuits is a mix of plyometric (jump), body weight, and hypertrophy (muscle and strength building) training. I choose to use the combination of these styles of training because in my experience:
• You should always include multiple styles of training for best results.
• It is a fun and effective form of high intensity training.
• It burns lots of calories.
• It promotes a positive hormonal response.
• It is fantastic for fitness.
• It challenges both the mind and body.
Note: if you have not done resistance training before and do not know how to perform these exercises correctly, it’s important to book in a session with a personal trainer.
2. Low Intensity Steady State cardio (LISS)
Low Intensity Steady State describes any moderate or long duration cardiovascular exercise that maintains the same intensity throughout. For example, walking is LISS cardio, as you stay the same pace for the whole time. A typical LIIS session will last around 45 minutes.
3. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High Intensity Interval Training consists of two periods (or intervals), typically called the ‘rest’ and ‘work’ periods. The intervals you will be using are a 30:30 setup. This means you will sprint at 90-100% capacity (approximately 12-17 km/h) for 30 seconds and then be at stand still (or cruise) for 30 seconds, then repeat. Typically this is done on a treadmill or RPM bike in a gym. This can also be done outdoors using a stopwatch. A typical HIIT session will last 10-15 minutes.
Stretching is a great way to relax. It also plays a large role in recovery, injury prevention and flexibility. Stretching is as simple as easing into a position that feels right and holding it for approximately 20-30 seconds. Make sure you repeat all the stretches on both sides of your body (i.e. both arms or both legs) where applicable, and maintain steady breathing throughout. Do not force yourself into a stretch. You should always feel a slight pull when stretching, but not a burning tear.
"Combine this with clean eating, lots of greens and loads of water and you will see your body change."
So, how much should I do of each?
I see many people spending a lot of effort and time trying to fit in multiple LISS cardio sessions. LISS sessions will only burn calories throughout your session; they do not fire up your system and allow you to continue to burn calories throughout the rest of the day. It will have a minimal impact on changing your body shape and getting you really fit.
While everyone’s fitness goals are different, if you want to get super fit and change your body shape, then try following the weekly formula I put my clients on:
• 3 sessions of resistance training
• 2 sessions of HIIT
• 1 session of LISS
• 1 session of stretching (rehab)
Combine this with clean eating (you will find that doing fewer long-duration cardio sessions will enable you to control your diet/appetite better), lots of greens and loads of water and you will see your body change and slowly take on the shape you have been trying to achieve all along.