Fitness Basics: Elements of Fitness

There are many elements of fitness and when most people mention getting fit, they are usually talking about more than one of these elements.

Being ‘fit’ can mean different things to different people.  It may be simply being able to live everyday life with ease, or it may be climbing a mountain. We need to be clear about which ones are important to us.

Here are the main areas we may be interested in, all of which can be improved through regular training.

Aerobic Fitness

This is what fitness means to most.  This involves activities such as running and cycling and most sports where we move enough to get out of breath.  Essentially this is the efficiency of the heart, lungs and circulatory system delivering oxygen around the body.

Anaerobic Fitness

Sprint training illustrates this element well. Aerobic exercise uses oxygen, anaerobic is working sufficiently harder and would involve short more intense bouts of exercise.


Our strength is determined by how much weight we can lift.  This can be trained through resistance or weight training and is specific to different areas of the body.


The ability to move quickly from point A to point B.  This would be illustrated by a sprinter coming out of the blocks.


This is the amount of movement at the various joints of the body.  Touching our toes is a classic test of flexibility.

Balance / Co ordination / Motor Skills

Further elements, all specific to the task involving the nervous system which tells the body how to behave.  This may be anything from standing on one leg to an intricate dance routine.

There are further elements within each of these areas, which is where things get interesting. Everything can be finely tuned, and a specific sport or goal will always include a number of the elements above.

Secrets to slow release, fat burning nutrition

We all know that the speed our food releases is essential.  Food that release energy slowly are great for fat burning, weight loss,  improving energy levels and keeping hunger at bay.  These are the foods we should be eating most of the time, excluding during and after exercise.

Foods that tend to be particularly good are foods high in protein (chicken, fish, eggs and beans) and foods high in fibre (vegetables, fruits, beans again!, peas, oats).  The combinations and list of do’s and don’ts is endless, and will be covered at another time.  Here we will look at other options to slow the release of our foods.

Chewing thoroughly

It makes total sense but is hardly ever followed.  We are supposed to chew food 20-30 times before swallowing, generally our meals are hoovered.  The more we chew, the slower the energy is released and the less stress on the digestive system.

Including some fat

Fat is known as a bad word, but in fats are even slower release than proteins.  We are not talking about fast food fats or saturated fats here, but foods such as avocado, oily fish, nuts, seeds and their oils.  Sprinkle seeds on your porridge in the morning, add olive oil to salads etc to slow the release.

Keeping portion sizes down

A large portion is like a rush of energy for the body and releases quickly.  We should keep to small portions anyway especially for fat loss, but this is another less obvious way of slowing things down.

Beware the extras

A hearty meal of fresh fish and vegetables washed down with 2 glasses of wine or even fruit juice will counteract the effects.  High protein slow release meals followed by a high calorie dessert will do the same.  Drinking caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee will also have an effect on blood sugar levels.

Great Breakfast Ideas

The best start to any day, a healthy nutritious breakfast.  Hard to believe some people fill their bowls with sugary processed cereal or even skip it all together.   Try some of the following for more energy to your day..

Fresh fruit smoothie – loaded with antioxidants, high in fibre and as much variety as you like.  Try bananas, melon, any berries, peaches etc for best results.  Even add some oats, seeds or yoghurt for extra protein.

Eggs – Loaded with nutritents, eggs done any way but fried are a great start to the day.  Loaded with protein for a slow release.

Porridge – Much slower releasing than breakfast cereals and easy to add cinammon, berries, honey or seeds.

Natural Muesli – Beware of pre bought sugar content, better still make your own. Can be stacked with nuts, seeds and dried fruit.

Fresh fruit and natural yoghurt – An easy, nutritious option with lots of longevity


Finally – Beware the sugar.  Easy options are bread based options or pre packed cereals that tend to be high in sugar, low in fibre and leave you feeling pretty flat well before lunchtime.


Fitness Basics: How we get fit

The reason we do exercise is to stay fit and healthy, along with our specific fitness goals.  What we do, for how long and how the body recovers will determine how the body responds.

How we get fitter

When we exercise, whatever type or form the aim is to ‘overload’ the body.  This is essentially pushing the body a little bit, into new territory, making it do something it is unaccustomed to.  Over the next day or so the body will respond to this by going through a period of compensation – ie we become fitter!  Simple.

And the next bit..

The trick, at this point is not to rest on our laurels, but to repeat the process, overloading the body again and up to the next level (and so on).

The next thing to look at (see other articles) would be the type of exercise and the intensity.  Our bodies will only get fit specific to the mode of exercise and the intensity or level of exercise is the key.

Simon Lesser works as a Personal Trainer in  Bournemouth and Poole, Dorset.  See more info at

Fitness Basics : How often to exercise

As with everything there are differing opinions on what works best.  Here we will try and cover what works with frequency of exercise.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommend 30 minutes 5 times per week.  But how often we need to exercise really depends on the results we are looking for, age and  training experience.  A 20 year old triathlete would certainly be looking to do more than a 65 year old retiree.

When we exercise we overload the body, making it become fitter or stronger in the following hours of recovery.  This time differs, but recovery time is generally considered to be 36 to 48 hours which ties in nicely with the general approach of training 3-4 times per week.

The all important factor is intensity (see other articles).  Harder sessions will overload the body more and require more recovery. Our work and personal lives often dictate exercise frequency as well.  The outine however is fairly clear…

Want serious results?  Train 4 or even 5 times a week!

Struggling for time and energy? Not that serious?  Exercise twice a week is clearly better than none at all and you will realize some results.

Simon Lesser works as a Personal Trainer in  Bournemouth and Poole, Dorset.  See more info at

Looking for a Personal Trainer in Bournemouth?

Looking for a Personal Trainer in the Bournemouth area?

Getting fit can be a tough task, and doing things the right way can be even harder.  Fortunately we are here to help you.



We offer a complete professional service covering your fitness, nutrition and lifestyle to help you get the results you want.  We cover weekly training schedules to help achieve goals properly, including safe but effective exercises designed around you.

A free consultation or trial is available, contact us on 07748 914368 – or visit for more information.