Alexandre Vallot (28) is a French coach in Paris. He has been coaching for 6 years now. From pro athletes to regular folks trying to simply stay in shape, he likes to train anyone with a purpose and a desire to progress in their fitness journey. He does not only want his clients to be motivated while he coaches them, but he wants them to create a mindset that they will carry forever.
Today we go down the list of 5 important factors to consider when you want to get back in a training routine after a long break: your nutrition, your training plan, your routine, your relationships, and the goals that you have.
1 – Back to eating healthy
Weight is not the number one indicator of your fitness level and you should not stress about it too much unless you compete in a sport with weight classes. However, weight can be a way to measure your eating habits, which can tell if you have been eating less or more. Therefore, keeping an eye on your weight can be beneficial. Being inactive for a long time can lead to some unwanted weight gains.
What is your tip for people going back into training regarding their eating habits?
ALEX – First of all, it really depends who you are talking to. If we are talking about an experienced person, it is “easier” to have a strict approach. Usually the person knows what it takes, and you can be stricter for the first couple of weeks in order to really get back to the shape you want.
However, if you are talking about an unexperienced fitness enthusiast, you cannot cut back too fast. You need to take steps, otherwise it will not last. I like to not use the word “diet” as it sounds scary to most people, and just talk about making small adjustments day after day. First cut the extra drinks, then dial back on the snacks, add some veggies etc. But if you cut too much too fast, you risk ending up in this “new year resolutions” type of vibe, where goals vanish after a month.
2 – Finally training again
No matter the reason, not being able to train for awhile is going to have effects on your body and your mind. Some people will feel (too) excited about going back to the gym and may risk injuries. Some people may have lost the motivation and will find it hard to go back. For all those cases, how do you get back into training mode?
ALEX – You should not imagine going back to the gym as the perfect scenario where you are motivated, you are stress-free, you perform the same… Things have changed ! However, one thing that has not changed is how beneficial “moving” is for your body. Whether it is 10, 30 or 50 minutes, moving at least twice a week will do wonders. Your motivation will come back slowly but surely and seeing your body change and adapt is the best boost you can hope for.
However, do not try to do too much or too complicated too soon. Same as the nutrition part, take steps towards coming back to your routine. Those steps can include a training partner or a coach! This is the best way to stay motivated as you are now accountable to someone else. If you are a Compex user, use the Compex app to plan your training sessions, share your results with your friends and see your progress.
3 – Going back to a routine?
Lots of people have a fitness routine. You train around the same time of the day, you eat at the same hours, you sleep about the same amount every night etc. When that has been broken for a while, people may be lost when it is training-time again! How do you help people get back to their routine?
ALEX – You need to realize that in this situation, time is your best friend. Getting back slowly but surely is the best recipe to a successful come-back. You should also be open to changes in your fitness routine, and not desperately want it to be the same as before. Adding new movements and training methods can do wonders to your body. So why not start by trying something new? Bodyweight workouts, yoga, Compex-Training… You used to be a gym-rat that loves pumping weights? Try new sports and workout methods, your body will love it.
4 – The influence of your close friends
The fourth point may be left aside by a lot of people but is more important than we think. The influence that our friends and family have on our choices in life is huge. You cannot stop talking to people just because they do not motivate you, so how do you deal with your closest relationships when it comes to your motivation to be healthy?
ALEX – Like you said, you cannot stop talking to people just because they do not agree with you, otherwise you will not keep many friends! There are two different types of people in my opinion. First is the closest friends, then you have the people around you that are the closest to your training habits. Your friends might be party-people and maybe you get invited to diners often. However, the most important is: where do you train? Do you have a coach? Are these friends also training buddies? Having friends to party-with is not an issue, as long as you have a fitness circle to stay right on track with your goals. Once again, it is all about balance
5 – Defining your goals
Setting goals can be challenging. The way you write down a goal can instantly tell whether you will be successful or not. We hear often people say, “I want to be stronger” or, “I want to lose fat”. These statements are never to be fulfilled. The reason is: they cannot be measured. 1kg of fat lost will not make you happy. However, you still “lost weight” and according to your goal, you are successful. But we all know this is not how you will be happy. How do you help people set goals the best way possible?
ALEX – For me, the first step is defining who do you want to become. Do you want to be a professional athlete, do you want to be a fit mum, do you want to look good at the beach… These are all different approaches. When you have defined that, you can create a ten-step plan towards your goal. These steps must be small challenges, attainable, measurable, and realistic. For example, your first step could be “Eat three whole fruits per day this week”, or “Exercise 20 minutes, three times this week”. These steps are measurable and realistic, they will open the path to success in your fitness journey. I know it sounds all Instagram-ish but setting goals measurable and realistic goals is the number one key to success.
Jeremy Leroux is a French triathlete and influencer. He has been in triathlon since 2016, originally coming from the running world. Once a friend lent him a bike for a little while, he fell in love and thought "why not give this thing a go?". Today he is looking at Ironman distances and hopes to be on the starting mat as soon as possible.
Today with Jeremy, we break down how to get ready for your first triathlon. Getting started, investing in the right equipment, training splits and race day prep… we will cover it all and hopefully you’ll learn some helpful tips.
1 – BREAKING DOWN TRAINING AND NUTRITION
Compex: How many times do you train per week during race prep, and how do you split it between the three disciplines?
Jeremy: 15 to 20 hours, I try to bike 3 to 4 times per week, and about the same for running and swimming.
Compex: For someone who is looking to get started in triathlon, would you advise hiring a coach? Joining a group? Or simply figure it out on your own?
Jeremy: I think it depends on people. If it is your first one and the goal is just to have fun, asking advice around you can be enough. Read, document yourself and look at what others maybe doing. However, if your goal is to get better in the sport, joining a team is great because you have a coach and teammates. Your trainings are well put-together, and your teammates push you to perform every day. This is the optimal choice for long term.
Compex: When you start training for your first triathlon, should you focus on one discipline more than the two others? Or should you equally share time between the three?
Jeremy: I think that you should always train all three of them equally, unless you feel very weak in one of the three disciplines. It is always better to train your weaknesses more than your strengths. However, there is no shortcut. Training, regularity and patience will be your keys to success.
Compex: Often people get overly excited when starting a new sport, which is understandable. How important would you say it is to not over-train and add rest days to your week of training?
Jeremy: Your body needs to recover. Having a coach is better because he or she will plan your recovery times. If you don’t have one, listen carefully to your body and what messages it is sending you. I know you’ll want to do more and more, but this is the best way to put too much stress on your body and run out of gas, or worst, get injured.
Compex: Should you train transitions between disciplines?
Jeremy: Of course, there are specific sessions where your focus is on the transition, going from the swim to the bike, or from the bike to the run. I would say at least once a week, on shorter distances, but with a race day intensity!
Compex: In a sport where you need plenty of calories for those long efforts, how important would you say your nutrition is?
Jeremy: Of course, it is very important to stay on track with your nutrition. You need to fuel your body correctly in order to perform well during your training sessions. Make sure you have some cheat days occasionally though; it is good for the body and for the mind (laugh).
2 – INVESTING IN THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Compex: Where would you say we should start looking when getting ready for our first triathlon, and how much are we looking at in terms of investment?
Jeremy: Since it’s the first and you don’t know if you’ll keep doing it after your race is over, maybe do not invest in the most expensive stuff. Get a good road bike that you are comfortable with (this is where you’ll spend the most time probably). Then look for a good swimsuit for open water, and maybe a couple of accessories for pool sessions in order to work on technique. Lastly, find a good pair of shoes for your running, and your set! As you get better, it will get more expensive for sure, but to start, you don’t need all the bells and whistles.
3 – STEPS TO YOUR FIRST TRIATHLON
Compex: In your preparation, do you think there is any interest in partaking in shorter distances to test yourself, like a local 10km, a swim-run etc?
Jeremy: If you’ve done your training right, I don’t think that is necessary unless you are training for an Ironman, in which case it might be useful to train or shorter distances like a half marathon. In the case of a first race, I would say maybe do your own mini triathlon to train transitions and race day paces. You’ll be fine!
4 – GETTING SET ON RACE DAY
Compex: Morning comes, and the stress is there. Any tips you could give us to embrace the race day jitters?
Jeremy: That is completely normal! Even if you are just doing it for fun, you’ll feel the stress for sure. Embrace it. You’ve done the training, you’ve put in the work, so stay focused and have some positive thoughts. Breathing can really help with stress as well, so make sure you are calm and relaxed. Something that might help take some stress off your shoulders is making a race day checklist. I always do that, so I don’t panic if I forget to bring something with me to the race.
Compex: What is your go-to race day breakfast?
Jeremy: I highly recommend not changing your breakfast habits. Changes are the best way to stress out more. Stay in your routine. For me it’s oats and nuts with Greek yogurt, some fruit and dried fruit, and coffee of course. For an Ironman, I like adding some rice for digestion purposes throughout the race.
Compex: Since we are talking about very long efforts, how do you manage eating throughout the race?
Jeremy: I usually know at which point in the race I’m taking my little gels or bars. I also make sure I drink about every 10 minutes on the bike. It is very important to have a plan, so you don’t run out of energy at some point, and so you don’t eat too much at once.
Compex: Do you warm up for the swim part the morning of the race?
Jeremy: For sure, I always warm up for the swim if possible. If not, I’ll use resistance bands to wake up the muscles, massage stiff areas with my Fixx 1.0 and maybe even use the warmup program of my Compex to make sure I am ready to go.
Compex: What is the most important thing to focus on before your race?
Jeremy: There is not one particular thing. Stay focused and don’t forget to enjoy the experience. You’ll probably remember your first triathlon forever, so soak it in while you can!
And there you have it! Tips, tricks and motivation for your first triathlon. Let us know if you’ve used any or if you found any of them particularly useful. Compex is looking forward to hearing about your first triathlon story!
Physiotherapist and L1 CrossFit Trainer, TJ García walks us through integrating Compex with your functional training routine.
Compex: Hi TJ, hope you're well! What benefits does Compex give you for your functional training?
TJ García: Sometimes functional training focuses on all-over exercises such as squats, dead lifting, and others. But we mustn’t forget the need for exercises that target specific areas, in order to avoid potential imbalances that can stop us from seeing improvements from these workouts. In these cases, electrical stimulation can help us to work on a specific muscle, such as the gluteus medius through squats, to make sure that the knee doesn’t go inwards.
It also helps us to gain strength since electrical stimulation helps us increase the number of muscular fibres that respond to contraction, making it more powerful and efficient. We can also work on muscle resistance to make the muscles more resistant to fatigue. It is a great help in recovery, because it helps our muscles to relax, and it vascularises the area, cleaning waste products away from the muscle, which are generated when we train.
Other benefits are the convenience of being able to stick on some electrodes anywhere, at a competition, in the car, before and after training, and with wireless technology you can easily include it in your training.
Compex: How would you define Compex in 3 words?
TJ García: Effective, convenient and versatile.
Compex: Do you have any tips for anyone starting functional training?
TJ García: Always start off with a good trainer who corrects your technique, and have the patience to learn to do the movements properly.
Compex: What is it that makes functional training attractive and essential to you?
TJ García: The fact that it helps us become more agile and stronger for our daily life, for lifting suitcases or children, having a strong and healthy back, being able to run after your child or your niece or nephew without getting out of breath, at the end of the day it helps us enjoy life more.