When I travel the country, talking to Koko FitClub members about their Smartraining experiences, there are certain core pieces of advice that I offer, which are the pillars of success at Koko. Following these can help anyone make the most of their Koko strength and cardio training program. How many are you doing?
1. Follow the prescription: 3 strength and 3-4 cardio sessions per week.
When your monthly Koko Smartraining Report arrives in your inbox, check to see if you have a completed a minimum of 12 strength session (at 30 minutes each) and 12-16 cardio sessions (at 15-minutes each) for the month. If you do, congratulations! You are getting the CDC/WHO/Surgeon General recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise needed to improve your health and fitness level, while decreasing your risk of developing several nasty, chronic diseases. (The recommendation also includes strength training in that mix — CHECK!). Plus, you are getting the right quantity and quality of exercise to truly change your body composition in the shortest period of time.
2. Get active and have fun outside of Koko FitClub.
Why get in shape if you don’t enjoy that improved fitness? We call this “the fitness life.” You’d be amazed how quickly riding bikes with your kids, walking the dog or digging in your garden logs a ton of extra “active” time to your week. This weekend, I plan to be working in my yard for a few hours and going for a two-hour hike on Sunday. All of a sudden my 150 minutes of Smartraining turns into seven hours of activity for the week! Seven hours of activity a week is a magic number that not only offsets the effects of a more sedentary desk job, but also cuts your risk of dying prematurely by 40%, when compared to folks who exercise only thirty minutes a week.
3. The Smartraining “Three Rep Rule”
If a weight feels too light or too heavy during your next Koko strength workout, (not a strength test,) you can perform three fewer or three additional reps than what the Smartrainer suggests for you and it will trigger an automatic weight adjustment for the next set. If the weight is too heavy, three fewer reps will trigger a lighter suggested weight next set. If it’s too light, three extra reps will trigger a higher weight next set. This is important if you’ve been away for a while and need to ease your way back in, or if you feel you need a slight push in workload.
4. Mix up your cardio routine.
No matter how much you LOVE your favorite moderate treadmill hike, don’t do it every time. Think variety and progression with your Koko Cardio plan. If you are comfortably working at the same intensity level every session, try the next level up and see how you do. (You can always make adjustments if it feels too difficult.) Do you have a favorite piece of equipment? Forsake it every other session. You will get much more benefit by alternating between treadmill and elliptical. Bottom line, it’s best to mix it up – different intensities, different programs and different equipment.
5. Improve your pace score to improve your Q-Score.
Has improvement in your Koko Q-Score stalled even though you are working out consistently? Remember – Q-Score is a pace adjusted strength-to-weight ratio. At your next Strength Test, really focus on getting the best pace score you can on the last, heaviest set for each of the four exercises in your strength test. Can’t get a decent pace score on that last set? Do fewer reps, recognizing that it is ok to stop as soon as your pace score starts to slip.
6. Reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet.
Over the next two to three weeks, work on cutting down your consumption of added processed sugar and you will lose body fat around your abdominal area. Your total added sugar intake should stay under 25 grams/day for women and 38 grams/day for men. Of course, natural whole foods contain natural sugars (fruits, veggies, milk, etc), and that’s not what I’m asking you to avoid. The culprit here is “added sugar,” and you can find it by reading labels. It can come in the form of high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, brown rice syrup, etc. If you are consistent with your Koko workouts and follow this added sugar rule, you’ll really notice the change in your waistline. (I have over the last three weeks!). For those on a Koko Fuel nutrition program, your meal plan should already take care of this for you.
These simple changes can have a big impact if you keep at them consistently. Let me know how it goes!
Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer
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About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.