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Case Study: 12 Week Training Programme

Did you know that at Union Jab we offer a host of 121 services, including health consultancy, personal training, nutrition support, and programming? 

Union Jab founder, Charlie Cooke, is not only a level 2 England Boxing coach and declared nerd for all things fitness but also holds multiple university qualifications in nutrition, alongside a career as a personal trainer and even a background working in global fitness marketing. 

We all know that online workout programmes can be an amazing way to kickstart your fitness, but does that mean that they are specifically tailored for you? 

In our health consultancy sessions (see an example case study from Charlie here) we go through all factors physical, psychological, and habitual that influence your health, as it's not as simple as 'eat this' and 'do that'. 

Some people may have the time, budget, and discipline to stick religiously to a generic prescription of weights and calories - most, however, find that their own personal circumstances have a much larger impact on their training goals than initially thought. 

For this reason, some need a little bit more forward planning when deciding their training. No one is saying that they live permanently on such training programmes, but they can be an incredibly effective means to hit specific goals in accordance with one's own mental health, personality factors, habits, lifestyle, previous injuries, diet strategy, preferences, so on, and so on...

So, following on from our health consultancy case study (read here) we've decided to also release Charlie's 12-week training programme as devised according to the findings of this session:

12-Week Base Mesocycle

Terminology

It may seem complicated at first, but it's really not. 

Training cycles can be split into Macro (yearly), Meso (3-months) and Micro (1-week) training periods. 

Charlie's main focus is on establishing base-level training through the gradual implementation of additional training sessions and steadily increasing intensity. This will be achieved over a 12-week period (mesocycle) and serves the purpose of establishing general/non-specified fitness (base level). 

This is why it is defined as a Base Mesocycle. 

Goals

This base mesocycle is to hit Charlie's short and mid-term goals to: 

  • Introduce sparring as Charlie returns to sharing a ring with amateur, elite and professional boxers for both their and his own training 
  • Introduce a strength training session 
  • Maintain training around history of injury from over training 
  • Establish timetabled training sessions to be maintained into next training cycle

You may notice that, in the initial consultancy, one goal was to implement two strength training sessions (upper and lower), though in the training planner above this has instead been supplemented with one strength session per week that alternates upper/lower week by week.

The second strength session has been replaced with a second boxing session working on conditioning as, following the introduction of sparring, it was found that conditioning was a higher priority than expected and, as any good coach knows, adaptations must be made according to our demands. 

Considerations 

Training Volume

Charlie has historically trained far more than 6 times per week, however, he also has a history of over training resulting in many overuse injuries and regular bouts of illness, especially URTI's (Upper Respiratory Tract Infections). He is also coming from nearly a year off from dedicated training since starting Union Jab in May 2021.

Learning from this background, as opposed to ignoring it, means that our 12-week cycle has been adapted to gradually implement one training session every 2 weeks. It is not wise to dramatically increase training volume and/or intensity when the body is not accustomed to it. The whole purpose of a base mesocycle is to establish this base-level of training - hence the gradual implementation. 

Psychology

Charlie is very open about his Autism and concurrent bipolar depression and ADHD symptoms. This is just the genetic lottery; some of us struggle more and some less than others when presented with the same stimuli. 

The important factor is not training in ignorance of such factors, but instead the ability to train in partnership and alignment with such conditions. Being aware of your personal tendencies is vitally important, though working with a compassionate and experienced coach can greatly increase your understanding of your behaviours and moods through organised tracking and objective measurement. 

In this instance, Charlie has many behaviors that can be seen as a barrier or an opportunity, depending on how you plan around them. A few, which you may or may not also experience, include: 

  • Addictive personality (all or nothing - obsessions) 
  • Tendency to over-exert in a training session 
  • Experience bouts of low mood affecting training motivation
  • Perfecting mechanics/movements 
  • Easily bored 
  • Risk of 'crashing' if push too hard for too long
  • High pain tolerance

Habit Formation

In accordance with the above conditions, we must schedule appropriately in order to save surprise later if the person falls off the programme. 

What is their work timetable? What is their home life? What are their personal tendencies in a training session? Do they take it easy or push too hard? Do they prefer early or later training sessions? 

In this mesocycle each training session has 2-weeks of build up and is strategically placed within Charlie's timetable in order to provide the lowest barrier to participation possible. 

Likes and Dislikes

The biggest barrier to training is often cited as 'not having the time'. This is often true, even in this Case Study due to Charlie running Union Jab and being active all day, however, why is it we still somehow find the time to do the things we like?

If you don't like what you're doing you won't do it. It's that simple. 

Charlie hates early morning training, however, he is very time restricted meaning it sometimes is the only option. In his health consultation it's also noted that HIIT sessions without adequate warm-up are to be avoided. He also runs Rise Tribe classes at 6.30am two mornings a week.

So, factoring this in, we have added something liked around these training times. Low-intensity swimming and low-intensity boxing technical training. Both have low barriers for participation, have timetable availability, and his body and mind are warmed up thanks to the morning classes. Much easier! 

Degree of Scheduling

Some people need specific workouts to be written with specific exercises in specific working zones. Some need a coach there shouting and cajoling to push. Some just need to be wound up and let loose. 

Which one are you? 

We have identified that Charlie is easily bored, has a tendency to over train, and can have bouts of low mood. Would a highly prescriptive and rigid training programme suit this personality type? 

Absolutely not. Plus, Charlie benefits from years of experience and experimentation with fitness modalities, some successful some unsuccessful. With that in mind, especially seen as the goal is to build base fitness and not specific fitness, the programme has been left deliberately open ended. 

Although a 'reflex boxing technique session' is scheduled, the content of the session is not. An 'upper body strength and conditioning session' comes around every second week, but the specific content is simply left at 'Punch/Rotate' and Charlie is free to devise his own workout as he sees fit on the day.

Over time this may become more prescriptive, but for base-level training this is more than sufficient. 

Summary

This may seem like a lot of information, but it doesn't cover even 10% of the thought that goes into our training programmes and consultancy. 

You are not a machine. You are an individual with your own quirks, personality and behaviours that may or may not work in accordance with your goals all of the time. This is just one way of many to work with such conditions and get your goals anyway. 

If you would like more support with your training make sure to check our 121 Training page. You can find info on 121 workouts, health consultancy sessions, body metric assessments, nutrition support, and more. We also offer 4-week Training Camp packages which include a bit of everything to kick-start your training! 

You can otherwise contact Charlie directly at charlie@unionjab.com 

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