Just like we complete extra credit assignments when in school to boost our grade point average, your fitness level GPA may improve due to a little “extra credit (EC)” occasionally! While it is critical to consistently perform a well-designed exercise program, an extra fitness credit “assignment” may be just what you need to boost your fitness level and your performance. This week, seven extra fitness credit assignments will be featured. Choose one assignment at a time over the next several weeks and experience an improvement in your fitness GPA! As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
EC Assignment #1 As long as you currently have one full recovery day scheduled into your weekly exercise program, add one more workout day to the week. This addresses the “frequency” component of the F.I.T.T. Principle (i.e. frequency/intensity/type/time). *Tip: add a challenging workout so this addition is meaningful!
EC Assignment #2 If your program only includes one or two high intensity interval training days, perhaps add one more to the workout week. The caveat is that you must perform HIIT workouts on non-consecutive days when the majority of the program is devoted to HIIT. It is important to avoid performing full HIIT workouts more than a couple of days/week. Or, you might add an increase in the amount of load by 2.5 percent during your muscular strength training to a couple of your exercises so that you are consistently achieving momentary muscle failure.
EC Assignment #3 Change one of your workout formats. Perhaps replace a format that you perform two-three times per week with one different type of format on one of those days. Consequently, if you have been performing the same formats weekly for months, try making that one small modification for a week.
EC Assignment #4 Increase the duration of your program by five minutes twice during a week. Although five minutes does not sound like a great deal of time, this time, over four weeks, accumulates to approximately 40 minutes which is like adding another workout day to your month.
EC Assignment #5 Set up a short consultation with your personal trainer or group exercise instructor and “stay after class” for a few moments to discuss any areas of needed improvement. A good place to begin is to choose a couple of exercises that you seem to struggle with and ask for their assistance at correcting those issues. I often advise clients that even five minutes with me following a class or session, focused on one exercise or drill that they were struggling with during the class or session, is likely to correct the issue. Time well spent!
EC Assignment #6 Take an “assignment” home with you and practice! Particularly when the movement pattern is very skill oriented, like a choreographed movement form, rehearsing this movement pattern when alone may correct the issue and allow you to perform the skill more fluidly, safely and effectively.
EC Assignment #7 And, once you become proficient at performing the fundamental movement patterns, request the next progression so that you may continue to improve. This approach may also give you a small advantage when that next progression is presented to the class or team and will definitely give you a little extra fitness credit!