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  • Writer's pictureTom McAra

Train to be a 24-hour Rebel!

Rebel PT is an outdoor fitness and social club in Aberdeen and Edinburgh based on bootcamp-style fitness sessions. In 5 months’ time, the Rebels take on their favourite but most challenging type of event: the 24-hour endurance race. We have 7 teams and a handful of individuals signed up for Firetrail’s ‘Saltire 24’; it is the first time for some, while others are seasoned endurance runners.

If you asked most of us why we signed up, I’m not sure we would have a ready answer. Swept up in a moment of madness? Wanting to take on a new challenge? Beat previous attempts? Or try something different with a bunch of friends! At Rebel we often use the ethos ‘sign up now and worry about it later’. This was definitely the case for the Saltire 24. Are we all runners … no! Do we all consider ourselves athletes … definitely not! Is that the most important part … we don’t think so!

We asked around what motivated our Rebels to take part in Saltire 24:

1. Some want to go out and compete, pushing themselves and their team to try and end up on the podium.

2. Others want to set themselves a target and try to reach it, whether it’s 5 laps, 10 or 20. They want the satisfaction of going all out and taking their body to the next level.

3. We have a few who want to beat previous 24-hour running scores.

4. And some just take on the challenge for the fun of it with a great group of friends and have no expectations at all.

The best part of events like this is without a doubt the camaraderie and friendships that are made. You don’t have to be a seasoned runner to experience this! There are huge levels of support and encouragement from those around you, helping to create a great atmosphere that keeps you grinding through those difficult hours.

Endurance running is not easy, and it’s important to approach it with the right mindset - but the satisfaction you get from challenging yourself in this way is addictive. There are no regrets afterwards. It may take a day, a week, a month to recover but you’ll be left with a feeling of achievement and reward. This isn’t just an endorphin rush from running, it’s the amazing buzz that was created between you, your support team and other runners, and it’s knowing that you stepped out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there!

A 24- or 12-hour running race is definitely not the sort of event you can wing – you need to come into it with some sort of preparation. Depending on your expectations, you require at least a base level of fitness and the mindset to push yourself and those around you. So how do you get fit for Saltire 24?

Have you ever typed ‘How do you get fit?’ into Google? There is an overwhelming response. You can watch videos, listen to podcasts, read articles. It seems that every company and their dog have posted about getting fit. The truth is: it works differently for everyone. In the fitness industry, ‘fitness’ covers strength training, endurance, mobility and flexibility; but what does ‘being fit’ mean to you? Is it running for a bus without losing your breath, or cycling 100 miles without having to get off and push? Is it being able to hold a plank for one minute without dropping to your knees? Because if that’s the case, I’m out!

In this blog we’ll present you with three options to decide what ‘fit’ means to you and how you can improve your lifestyle for the better.

Type 1 – The Newbie

“I’m a coach potato and would like to get fit!”

Our favourite group of people at Rebel PT! You don’t yet understand why people go out and get sweaty or grunt noisily while lifting heavy things. We can’t wait for you to start loving it!

The important thing at this stage is to break yourself in gently. Here’s our top tips!

➡ Walk the extra distance. Start using your legs more and the car / bus / taxi less.

➡ Take the stairs! This is one of the simplest activities you can do to improve your fitness. It strengthens your legs, making them more toned, and at the same time improves your lung capacity, which means you’ll be able to catch your breath more quickly in future.

➡ Drink more water. Being dehydrated can make you more prone to sluggishness and can often be mistaken as hunger and thus makes you eat more.

➡ Check out your portion sizes and figure out what a standard portion size is. You might surprise yourself!

➡ Give yourself time. We will use running as an example: A lot of people dread the idea of going for a run, and for some it doesn't get better during the run either. It can be a real struggle to get up and get out but it’s true - you only regret the workouts you don’t do. The main buzz really kicks in after the exercise: Once those post-run endorphins hit, you feel great and that’s what makes you want to go out and do it all again.

Home Workout for Type 1

Here’s a workout you can try at home. Make sure you look up the exercises online so you know you’re doing them properly.

  • 30s (seconds) marching on the spot

  • 30s jumping jacks

  • 30s squats

  • 30s push ups (standing push ups against a wall for beginners)

  • 30s plank hold

  • 1 min rest

  • Complete the whole lot 3 times

Enjoy the feeling of getting a bit sweaty and breathless, it shows you are on your way to getting fitter!

Type 2 – The Fitness Dabbler

“I do train but I don’t know how to push myself”

This is a toughie. Some people think signing up to the gym is the hard part but really that’s you just getting started!

At this stage we would recommend working on consistency. It might take 3 weeks to get into a routine, so work on that. Even if that means just going to the gym to do stretches - it will hopefully get you into the routine of being there.

➡ Keep going! If you’re not seeing any improvements it can be hard to see why but trust us, it is worth it! The best and most sustained results come from training over an extended period of time. Of course, the harder you push yourself and the more time you dedicate to it the quicker you will see those results.

➡ Get yourself a Fitness Friend. Maybe you’ve met someone at class who can make you be more accountable for turning up. It is statistically proven that if you hang out with fit people you are more likely to become fit yourself!

➡ Don’t be afraid to try something new. Most sports clubs and groups offer a free (like Rebel PT!) trial so you can pop along and try before committing. This gives you the opportunity to trial different activities.

Home Workout for Type 2

Here’s a workout you can try at home. Make sure you look up the exercises online so you know you’re doing them properly.

Part 1

  • 30s jogging on the spot

  • 30s jumping jacks

  • 30s mountain climbers

  • 30s rest

  • Repeat all exercises above 3x

Part 2

Set a timer and within 60s complete these three exercises:

  • 5 squat jumps

  • 5 push ups

  • 5 power jacks

  • Once you’ve completed them, rest for the remainder of the minute.

  • Then start the timer again but do 6 repetitions of each exercise within 60s.

  • Rest the remainder of the minute.

  • Now go for 7 repetitions/minute etc.

  • Complete for 10 minutes. If you get to the point where you can no longer fit all the exercises into the 60s, go back down a round.

Type 3 – Turn it up to 11

“I’m fit but I’d like to get fitter”

Ooh this is great, it’s time to start challenging yourself!

Now would be a good time to think about signing up to an event - maybe a 10k run, an obstacle course or how about you just go for Saltire 24?!

➡ Increase the intensity of your training. Try and squeeze in another bootcamp or another run. If you’re struggling for time, make sure you’re pushing yourself at the sessions you go to. Just turning up isn’t enough!

➡ Compete with yourself. Parkrun is a weekly free timed 5k run; the organisers will email you your result and you can go along the following week and try and beat your time. You don’t have to worry about being last as they have a tail walker who is always last!

➡ Speak to a fitness professional who can give you sound advice on what you need to change in your programme to help you see improvements. This could be a dietician, physiotherapist, personal trainer or gym instructor!

➡ Mix up your training: If you’ve been going to the gym but you’re starting to plateau try a training session outdoors! Sometimes you just have to mix it up to keep it interesting. At Rebel PT we never do two sessions the same to keep everyone on their toes!

Park Workout

Here’s a workout you can try at your local park. Make sure you look up the exercises online so you know you’re doing them properly.

Part 1

  • 5min warm up jog around the park.

  • 5 jumping jacks every lamp post you pass.

Part 2

  • Find a park bench and complete 15x bench dips, 30x toe taps on the bench, 15x elevated push ups, 30x toe taps on the bench.

  • Repeat 2x.

Part 3

  • Find a tree for support, do a 60s squat hold. 10x walking lunges, run back to the tree.

  • 45s squat hold. 15x walking lunges. 30s squat hold. 20x walking lunges.

  • Finishing with 15s squat hold and 25x walking lunges.

  • Go for a gentle jog to shake the legs off.

What now?

Like we said at the beginning of the blog: getting fit all comes down to you. At Rebel we truly believe that training should never have to be that complicated, and you will see your best results when you are in a supportive, encouraging and fun environment.

Our theory is that if you’re thinking too hard about it, then there’s probably a better way to do it. Start small and build it up slowly. Now get out there and give it a shot!

If you have any questions, please drop me an email or check out our timetable of sessions in Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire and Edinburgh … did I mention that the first one is free?

See you at Saltire 24,

Alice McAra

Rebel PT

We aim to make our training sessions engaging, social and fun. We want you to look forward to coming to them! It could be for the social side, to catch up with friends or to talk about the event / trip you’ve got planned for the weekend. A walk up a local mountain, a cruise on bikes, a skateboard, swim, run, coffee, pint, adventure. The last thing we want you to worry about is how fit you are.

Training is never easy, and it involves you putting yourself outside of your comfort zone; but we promise to help support you at every step. We want you to settle in as quickly as possible, as that’s when you start to see results. All the sessions are run so you can push yourself as hard as you feel comfortable with. You never have to keep up with anybody and you are never expected to either. We will push you and encourage you to work hard but it will always be in a positive and motivational way.

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