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Types of exercise & the holistic approach
Introduction to training
Training preparations

Types of exercise

Icicle training planners
Personal trainers
  Here we rate different types of exercise for preparing you for good mountain fitness, and highlight the drawbacks of some of them. For those of you who are using (or plan to use) personal trainers, we offer some advice on what to ask them to prepare you for, and some of the factors to be aware of when using a trainer, to ensure that you prepare as well as possible for your course.
Timescale? Over a period of six weeks of intense training, you should be able to get to 80% of the fitness you would gain over six months.

The holistic approach

The summary of all the training aspects considered so far is to take a holistic approach to your preparation, and it is this attention to detail and care for yourself that must continue on the course. However we have heard of laughable ideas, such as taking the batteries out of a TV remote control to make you get up more often, used by people who consider this a worthwhile method of training. A holistic approach is not lots of little bits, as these don't add up to much. Rather it is doing many large actions that compliment each other.

We always hear 'my personal trainer says...'
It's great you are using a trainer, as that shows your commitment to your fitness, but when a trainer says something along the lines of 'yes but you need to adapt those training planners to include more gym work', just ask the following questions; 1) are they suggesting less than one hour running, so they don't have to do an hour running with each client each day?, 2) is the gym work good cross training for the joints on simuated rough ground, that cannot be bettered by outside exercise?, 3) has your trainer done something similar to your course (e.g. Mont Blanc) so they actually know what they are talking about? Generally you know the answers without even asking. Make sure you are doing training that is going to benefit you, not the personal trainer. Biceps won't get you up the hill.

Types of exercise to consider
RUNNING - good for aerobic & anaerobic fitness though take care with your joints.
SWIMMING - excellent aerobic workout that does not put major stress on joints.
CYCLING - good for strength & endurance, and useful throughout training schedules.
ROWING - very good for aerobic endurance, stamina, and for muscle capacity building.
AEROBICS - dependant on type of exercises, this is useful for flexibility & stamina.
CLIMBING - this naturally enhances strength & muscle power, and climbing skills.
WALKING - only useful as a warm down exercise, as it gives a low level of fitness.

General principles of training
FLEXIBILITY - flexibility exercises are important so no muscle damage occurs during exercise.
DURATION - the effect of aerobic exercise is optimised in training periods of over 30 minutes.
TARGETS - always push yourself in training, which can be done by setting goals or targets.
RECORDS - record completed exercise so that you have a diary to discus with advisors.
WELLBEING - psychology is important in training, and you must enjoy the exercise you are doing.
VARIETY - varying the exercise can be beneficial as different muscle groups are exercised.
EQUIPMENT - use equipment that is designed for the type of exercises you are participating in.
HEARTRATE - monitor your heart rate and try to keep it within the suggested boundaries.
COOLING - warm down periods prevent cramps and enable the exercised muscles to cool.
DIET - diet is a factor that can assist the training and provide the energy when needed.
SPECIFIC - doing the sport you are training for, can be part of your training programme.
INJURIES - if you injure yourself during training, take advice as to when you can start again.

It is likely that you have booked on a course less than a year ahead, so you must try and condense all these elements into the time available to you. If you train hard for six to eight weeks, then you should be able to get to about 80% of the level of fitness, as if you had been training for over six months, however your psychological training is likely to suffer slightly in terms of determination and the drive to push yourself to your limits.
FREE training podcasts

FREE Podcast
Training for Mont Blanc
A no holes barred podcast, to fully explain what an ascent entails physically and technically, including several examples of hill training.
Download podcast (3.48 MB)
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FREE Podcast
Starting out trail running

A fast growing sport, & this podcast explains what it involves, how to get into it, and exactly what equipment that is required...
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