Personal trainer Jean-Claude reveals how to exercise right for your age group, starting with your 20s.
Exercising in your twenties is a great opportunity to set a foundation for later life. Habits that you instill into your daily routine early on will be easier to maintain later down the line. Your twenties are a time when you’re free of too many responsibilities so you can exercise with more intensity, more frequently knowing you have the time and will recover more quickly between workouts. This will build a great base of movement and a robust structural platform that will prove invaluable, both in and out of the gym, later in life.
TIME TO PLAY
With time for more training sessions each week, this is a great period for trying as many different activities as you can, to help you find what you enjoy most and, perhaps more importantly, determine what works best for you. In older adults, lack of time, lack of results and boredom are the three biggest barriers to exercise, all of which you can combat by experimenting in your twenties and finding out what combination of workouts works best for you.
BUILD A BASE
Perhaps the most important element of exercise in your twenties is creating a solid postural base. Your bone mass reaches its peak during this decade so strength training, through a combination of body weight and other types of resistance training, is key. Women in their twenties who don’t do resistance training in their twenties, lose muscle and gain fat in equal measures in their forties and fifties. This is a real concern given women’s increased risk of osteoporosis in later life. Resistance training is absolutely key.
Building quality movement patterns (EXPLAIN), working on your flexibility and improving your cardiovascular fitness are also important in your twenties. While this might seem like a lot to have to focus on, the good news is your body is super-robust now and can handle just about anything you throw at it, as long as it’s progressive, and you don’t do too much too soon. Your ability to recover, post workout, is at a peak, as is your potential to improve all aspects of your fitness, so get in as much training as you can, train hard regularly and set yourself a solid foundation for later life.
Tips for your 20s
Develop a base of movement
Staying mobile and learning about how your body moves is essential if you want to stay injury free and keep exercising hard into later life. Make sure you include regular mobility work (HOW OFTEN), either through regular stretching or yoga, and take the time develop good movement patterns (EXPLAIN) before you follow more challenging strength-training programmes.
Hit the weights
Aim to do some form of resistance training two or three times per week. This is often best done with full-body workouts, focusing on compound lifts such as squats, lunges, chins ups push-ups and rows. Remember that it’s got to challenge you. Cruising through three sets of fifteen with any easy weight won’t cut it you’ve got to ask more of yourself.
Do regular cardio
Add some regular cardio days to your strength training workouts.Include all types of cardio training including sprints, HIIT training, circuit training and longer steady state forms such as running, cycling or swimming. Ideally alternating between strength training and cardio days, six days per week, with one total rest day.