Health and Fitness / partner post

‘Mixing things up is good for us both mentally and physically’

By jess brown, Monday Oct 26, 2020

When it comes to exercise, we often hear phrases such as ‘go hard or go home’, encouraging us to give every session 100 per cent of our energy and ability in order to become the fittest version of ourselves.

Unfortunately, when we always lift our heaviest or HIIT it our hardest, we usually become burned out or injured long before we make any sustainable change to our fitness levels.

Variety is the spice of life, but it’s also the key creating an effective, well-rounded approach to our training.

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There are of course a multitude of benefits to both lifting heavy and bouncing around a HIIT class, but in moderation – we need to create balance with other ways of moving our bodies.

When it comes to gaining strength through resistance exercises, our goal is often to lift heavier weights over time, but in order to do that we need to develop strength in other ways.

Taking time to work on our technique, using lighter weights, helps our bodies to learn good movement patterns that we can use when we do add on those kilos.

Having a coach or a trainer work with you on these exercises can be invaluable, as they can see what you may not notice when you’re in the middle of a movement, and can give you small form cues that will make a big difference to your progress.

At F45, we also often add new variations of essential compound exercises, such as single leg squats or deadlifts, into our workouts.

By working on each side of the body separately, we not only increase overall strength, but also develop better mind/muscle connections, balance and understanding of how we need to move through the exercise.

This type of training can also flag up any differences between both sides of the body, which could be holding you back from increasing your weight – identifying and correcting them will help you to avoid injury and increase your overall strength.

In terms of cardiovascular exercise, many of us will have heard the term HIIT (high intensity interval training) and all about the benefits it offers, but research suggests that MIIT and LIIT (moderate and low intensity interval training) are just as important to our overall fitness.

Similarly to resistance training, technique is a big one – by learning the movements at a more moderate pace, you’re then ready to safely add a dynamic or explosive element to them.

Alternating between different cardio intensities can also help us to avoid overtraining or burning out, where the body becomes unable to recover from high intensity workouts – giving yourself a rest by reducing the intensity of some workouts will ultimately allow you to keep crushing the sessions where you give it your all.

It’s really easy to adapt any cardio workout to suit your needs. At F45, our cardio classes are based on HIIT principles, but our trainers will always offer lower impact options during their demonstrations, allowing you to choose the correct option for your body that day.

So, we know that mixing things up is good for us physically, but mentally it’s also a win.

Introducing some variety into your exercise routine will not only keep you engaged and motivated, but it may also help you to discover new goals to work towards – and give you new achievements to celebrate beyond the weights on the barbell.

Jess Brown is head coach at F45 Bristol Central. Find out more about F45’s classes and technique masterclasses at or follow them on Instagram, @f45_bristolcentral

Main photo by Sarah Koury

Read more: ‘Creating an exercise schedule that suits your new normal’

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