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UK Gear’s training shoes were originally designed in association with the Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC). These elite fitness professionals were closely involved in the development and tested our products in some of the most inhospitable conditions on Earth. Only when approved by the Military do we consider our products... Built to survive.

Runner's World Gear Editor awards the UK Gear GT-02 Best Multisport Shoe Award

>>20 January 2010
Director  Magazine Jan_10.jpg

Director Magazine

Fit for business

by David Morton

Getting yourself into physical shape needn't take the best part of 2010... just the first four weeks of it. Follow our fitness guide and you'll lose weight, improve your health, and become stronger, fitter and more energetic

There is a problem with new year's resolutions but it is not that you don't have the resolve to see them through. You do. The fundamental impediment to any self-improvement project is planning or, rather, a lack of it. You wouldn't wake up on New Year's Day and decide, without forethought, to change the way you do business for the rest of 2010, yet that is how new leaves are usually turned.

A fortnight of not smoking ends with the bright reality of busy, stressful days back in the office after two weeks off. Pushing yourself so hard it hurts on that first jog feels great, but an inability to negotiate stairs for the next three days sees another pair of new trainers added to the pile in the hall cupboard. When it comes to making resolutions for life "failing to prepare is preparing to fail" has never been more apt an adage.

In an economic climate where so many things are still frustratingly uncertain, there is one thing still under your full control—your body. Whether you want to eat away at the festive "spread", or turn back the calendar on a whole 2009 of long nights, early mornings and snatched meals, getting fitter is a promise we could all do with making.

This year, if you want to lose weight, tone up or build muscle, you need a business plan to make that promise of a better physique a reality; a step-by-step proposal that will deliver the results you demand and quickly.

Most importantly, your fitness plan should fit into your schedule and make your work life better, not worse. That plan is this one here. It takes your lacklustre lunchtime session and replaces it with a regime that guarantees a faster improvement and less disruption to your day, and trades endless runs through inclement weather for half-hour slots in the gym. All the plan needs is a committed partner. That's you.

Getting Started

Handshakes over, we need to hammer the details of the deal. First things first, when to get started? Achieving the maximum return from each ounce of effort is paramount to getting a better body and, according to strength and conditioning expert Scott H Mendelson of infinityfitness.com, it's all a matter of training at the right time. That time is not after the working day is done.

"Busy professionals encounter any number of stressful challenges on a daily basis, which can impact not only on their schedule but on the body's ability to improve. In my experience those who are stressed during the day can rarely block out those problems while exercising after they leave the office. Stress is the most common negative factor in terms of your performance and the crucial capacity to recover afterwards." 

And it's not just your motivation that pays for late-night sessions, your body struggles on the most biological of levels. The later you exercise the less rewarding it is, thanks to higher levels of the fat-storing catabolic hormones, released as part of the circadian rhythms that dictate your sleeping pattern. If you want to ensure you make the most progress in as little time as possible, set your alarm that little bit earlier.

"First thing in the morning is [the] best time to exercise," says Mendelson. "It ensures it gets done right before stress and schedule changes push back your session and it is a powerful metabolic tool which will increase the amount of fat you burn throughout the day. It will take a few mornings to acclimatise, but stick with it and you'll see it's a great way to boost your energy."

More for less

Once you're up and at them, you'll be pleased to hear that it won't be a long slog. The average workout of the social exerciser lasts an hour, which, as far as the new you is concerned, is precisely 30 minutes too long. Training harder for shorter is your secret weapon. By increasing the intensity of your exercise and limiting the amount of time you spend sitting around staring at people through the mirrors, you encourage a surge in your body's lean muscle mass.

"Reduced rest periods and increased exercise intensity create a hormonal environment which supports improved body composition," says Mendelson. "Furthermore, workouts that are less than 40 minutes keep those troublesome catabolic hormones in check. This is especially important in those over 35, who will tend to have a naturally declining anabolic hormone level."

 Let the growth begin

It's time to get down to the business of reaching your goal. The weekly workout plan here has been designed by Mendelson to be tailored to your own target. By altering the amount of rest you enjoy in between sets (the number of times you repeat the stated number of repetitions) you can use the same basic plan to work on weight loss, toning or muscle-building. Those wanting to add strength should use one minute of rest between sets, so you can manage more weight for a higher load. Individuals wanting to tone up should rest for 45 seconds and if you're looking to lose weight then a quick 30-second break will burn the most calories.

Perform each of the four days of exercises over the course of a week and make the most of your three days off so you're fresh for the next session. If you can easily manage eight repetitions on an exercise then add a little more weight (2.5kg) until you have to really push to do seven. Remember, each visit should take no more than 30 minutes and doing them as early in the day as possible will optimise your results.

Best foot forward

The wrong pair of trainers isn't just a waste of money; they can ruin the best intentions if they aren't right for your running. Kerry McCarthy, gear editor at Runner's World Magazine, lists the best for your buck


UK Gear GT-02 

 Made in conjunction with the army, this has a durable wraparound outsole, which provides superb cushioning for extra comfort with a fully weatherproof upper.

Get your GT-02's here... Men's | Women's