Coaches Corner


Congratulations to you on having started some dorm of physical training. You are part of a very small part of the South African population who want to get fit and lead a healthy lifestyle. The benefits are numerous and include – a fitter muscular and skeletal system, a fitter and better functioning cardi-respiratory system, a better energy flow system and hopefully you will be in better shape and look smarter. Exercise and training will afford you the opportunity to make new friends and make time for socialising with people.
You have said yes to a healthy lifestyle and hopefully you will be a better role model to your children and other people in your community.
2. Have a purpose / aim / goal in training
It may be to get fit.
It may be to lose weight
It may be to run the famous Comrades Marathon
Remember that your purpose in training will be different from your friend. Your friend may want to be a Silver medallist in the Comrades.

3. Be realistic in what you want to achieve
You really cannot expect to start training in January and expect to do a Silver or a sub-9 in the Comrades or to do a sub 3 hour in a marathon.
Rather start with getting fit doing 5 and 10 then graduating to 15 and 21 kms in the first year. In the second year try the 42 and Comrades.
It is better to stay with the smaller distances and develop speed and then graduate to the longer distances.

4. Total fitness
Important if you want to achieve good times. Your legs are not the only parts of your body that comes into play when you run. There are four types of fitness that are important to incorporate into your physical activity routine:

  • Cardiovascular/aerobic exercise.
  • Anaerobic exercise.
  • Joint flexibility.
  • Muscular endurance and strength.

1. Cardiovascular/aerobic exercise

Cardiovascular fitness relates to the ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems (the heart, the blood vessels and lungs) to supply oxygen during sustained physical activity. It is also referred to as cardiovascular endurance, aerobic fitness and cardio-respiratory fitness.
Some examples of activities that may incorporate cardiovascular fitness are: running, walking, cycling, rowing, stair-climbing and dancing.
Canada’s Physical Activity Guide recommends that adults perform moderate cardiovascular exercise for a total of 60 minutes a day, most days of the week.
Aerobic means “involving oxygen.” It means your muscles are working in an oxygen-rich environment. You get more oxygen by breathing deeply. Twelve minutes of aerobic exercise causes your body to produce fat-burning enzymes. An aerobic exercise is one that fits the following four requirements:
o Is steady, nonstop
o Lasts 12 minutes minimum
o Has a comfortable pace
o Uses the muscles of the lower body
You have to be doing some work to get the benefit. Your heart rate and your breathing need to be elevated. But you don’t want to push too hard. One way to measure if your activity is too hard or fast is a simple talk test. Try talking to a friend while you’re exercising. If you can’t carry on a conversation without huffing and puffing for breath, then you need to slow down. If you’re able to have a conversation without stopping every now and then for a breath, then you need to go a bit faster.
Follow Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to determine how much is enough for you. Remember that every little bit counts, so start slowly and work your way up.

2. Anaerobic exercise

Anaerobic means “lack of oxygen.” Your muscles are working in an oxygen-deprived state. This causes your body to produce sugar-burning enzymes. You are expending energy faster than your body can replace it by metabolizing oxygen.
An anaerobic exercise is any activity that fails to meet the above four requirements. An aerobic activity can become anaerobic if the heart rate is elevated above the training zone for a long period of time. Any start/stop activities would qualify. Examples include: tennis, football, sprinting, skiing and weight training.

3. Joint flexibility

  • Flexibility is a health-related component of physical fitness that refers to the range of motion available at a joint, such as your knees or shoulders. Some experts specify that flexibility requires range of motion without discomfort or pain (Howley and Franks, 1997).
  • Since flexibility is specific to each joint of the body, there is no general measurement of flexibility as there is for cardiovascular fitness. Flexibility is typically measured in the field with tests such as the sit-and-reach. Excellent examples of activities that improve flexibility are yoga and stretching exercises. 4. Muscular endurance and strength
  • Muscular endurance is a health-related component of physical fitness that refers to the muscle’s ability to continue to perform without fatigue.
    Like flexibility, muscular endurance is specific in nature. For true assessment of muscular endurance, it would be necessary to test each major muscle group of the body. Lab and field tests of muscular endurance are similar and are based on the number of repetitions that can be performed by the specific muscle group being tested; for example, repetitions of push-ups or abdominal crunches.
  • Muscular strength is a health-related component of physical fitness that refers to the ability of the muscle to exert force.
    For a true assessment of strength, it would be necessary to test each major muscle group of the body. Laboratory and field tests are similar and involve the assessment of 1 RM (repetition maximum: the maximum amount of resistance you can overcome one time). Examples include broad jump, vertical jump, and bench press.

11 Components of Physical Fitness  Personal Fitness Trainers incorporate all 11 components of physical fitness into our clients’ exercise programs in order to have a well-rounded work-out. Physical fitness is defined as being in a general state of health and well-being or specifically the ability to perform aspects of sports or occupations.  Being at a high level of physical fitness can be achieved through a combination of daily physical activity, exercise, and a healthy diet. The 11 components of physical fitness play an important role in one’s daily activities. Improving upon all areas of physical fitness will help you to improve daily activities and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
 It is important to know that all components of physical fitness can be improved no matter what stage of life. Children, teens, adults, and the elderly will see improvements in all aspects of physical fitness if the proper exercises and training techniques are implemented into daily exercise routines. Once proper training techniques are established, then exercise consistency, mental focus, and discipline will be most important for improving individuals’ overall physical fitness levels.
The 11 components of physical fitness are comprised of:  5 components that are considered the “most important” for being healthy and physically fit and 6 components that is more skill-related.  The 5 components of physical fitness that are most important, directly related to one’s health, and can be directly measured are: 1. cardiovascular endurance, 2. muscular strength, 3. muscular endurance, 4. flexibility, 5. and body composition. These 5 components of fitness are typically taught and measured in elementary, secondary/middle, and high school physical education classes all around the world. Fitness centers, gyms, and health clubs use these health-related components of physical fitness to measure clients fitness levels in order to prescribe the appropriate exercise program for each individual. Then there are 6 components of physical fitness that are more skill-elated and/or sports-related. These include: 1. agility, 2. balance, 3. coordination, 4. power, 5. reaction time, 6. and speed. These skill-related components of physical fitness are directly related to sports and daily activities. These components can be measured and improved using very specific training techniques.
Exercise and nutrition Incorporating all components of physical fitness into your exercise program is a great way to improve your physical fitness level. However, exercise alone is not enough to be healthy. Nutrition plays a very important role in staying healthy and performing at a high level of fitness. Be sure to include a daily healthy diet full of vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins. These healthy food choices will help you fuel your body for daily activities and exercise.
Strength and Endurance Training
Muscular strength and muscular endurance are two health-related components of fitness that are important in everyone’s daily life.
The standard ball push-up is a great way to improve muscular strength, muscular endurance, and balance.
Muscular strength is defined as the maximum amount of force that can be exerted by a muscle.
Muscular endurance is defined as the ability of a muscle to exert a force repeatedly over a period of time.
Muscular strength and muscular endurance are related; an increase in one of these components of fitness usually results in some degree of improvement in the other. Having a reasonable amount of strength and endurance can help individuals to be more efficient in performing daily tasks.

A strong core is most important for total body strength. Strengthening of the core (abdominal muscles, obliques, and low- back) will improve posture, help to prevent low-back pain, and make your entire body stronger. Your body’s core generally consists of the rectus abdominis (abs), internal and external obliques, transverses abdominis (deep reinforcing layer), and erector spinae (low back). The core is the center of all your strength. Having a weak core will certainly cause low back pain, poor posture, and poor balance. Strengthening and stretching this area of the body should be done with focus and consistency.
All muscle groups should be stimulated regularly through some type of resistance training. Resistance training, also known as strength training, not only makes muscles strong, firm, and shapely, but also benefits the body in other ways. Please be sure to check out our gallery for free images of exercises that help to improve muscle strength and endurance and all other components of physical fitness.
Benefits Of Strength Training:
Increased muscular strength and endurance
Decrease in body fat
Stronger tendons and ligaments
Decrease in blood pressure
Improves glucose tolerance
Increases HDLs (the good cholesterol)
Decreases LDLs (the bad cholesterol) and triglycerides
Decreases risk of osteoporosis
Reduced insulin needs
Improved health related quality of life
Enhances feeling of well-being
Enhances performance of work and recreational activities
Lower mortality rates at all ages from all causes
Relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety
Improves self-esteem
In general, strength training should be done at least two days a week, with a minimum of two exercises per muscle group. Some people will have totally different fitness programs depending on what goals have been set. Individuals are unique with different strengths and weaknesses. Finding a weak point is something to work on, not to neglect. Having the proper mix of exercises is most important in developing a fitness program that will help you to improve upon your weaknesses and to reach your goals.
Developing the body you want and reaching optimal physical fitness levels takes time. Do not expect changes to occur over night. You must be patient and consistent with all aspects of your fitness program. Consistency is the key. If you find yourself putting your strength training days off, you will not see the changes you want to make. Also, be sure to incorporate all 11 components of phyiscal fitness into your daily exercise program. Having a well-rounded exercise program will help you to stay motivated and focused. You will see increased muscular strength and muscular endurance, toned muscles, increased energy, and better self-image.

Questions to ponder about.

Do You Incorporate All Components of Physical Fitness Into Your Training?
How Much Exercise Is Enough?