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Is Perfect Fit for beginners?
Yes. It covers everything you need to know, even if you have never trained before. Everything that I publish on my website is clearly divided into manageable chunks that work for any ability, and the same is true of this book. I have created an 8-week plan specifically for beginners and designed to get you used to training. However, it will also be useful to those who already have some training experience, so helping to build up to the 12-week plan and thus to get better results. Advanced users will find it something to really test themselves.
Can women use Perfect Fit?
Absolutely. Any women who want to get into shape and make some changes to their body will find the answers in this book. Perfect Fit is totally unisex as there is simply no need to distinguish between what men and women do in regard to their training and diet. Many fitness programs pretend otherwise, but that’s a marketing ploy. Perfect Fit will get women great results, and you definitely won’t end up looking ‘bulky’.
Can young people do this programme?
Opinions differ as to when youngsters should start lifting weights, but I started when I was 16, so of course teenagers can use this plan. Just make sure you do it under supervision, and always seek advice on technique. If you want to learn, download my introduction to rugby fitness (www.jameshaskell.com/ products/training-ebooks) to get all the starting advice you could ever want.
What if I am a beginner to lifting weights?
The main part of this programme is tough and based on lifting weights, so if you have never picked up a weight before, I recommend you seek professional advice to take you through the basics. All the sessions in the programme are explained in minute detail, with pictures to back them up. You might find it helpful to repeat the beginner’s 8-week programme a few times to build up your knowledge and technique before moving on to the full 12-week plan. The training chapter contains suggestions about how best to follow the programme if you find it a struggle (see page 30).
Can I move the training programme around?
In general, I recommend you stick to the order in which I’ve arranged the programme, but it is possible to move certain parts around, e.g. leg weights and upper body days. If you do swap sessions around, make sure you don’t do the same body part two days in a row. What you cannot do is to take sessions out or remove rest days. You can move rest days around if necessary, but you must keep the same number of them. The programmes give you two rest days a week, with one being an optional training day. You must always take one day off. If you find something particularly hard, you can adapt the exercise or stick with it until you get better. This programme is not about doing the things you like or want to do; the idea is to follow it to the letter.
What happens if I get injured or ill?
Injury and illness happen to us all. Make sure you note where you are in the programme and go back to that point when you are able to perform again. Try not to train when ill or injured, as that can prolong both. Do not worry if you miss sessions. The most important thing is to keep your nutrition on track as that will ensure you won’t lose too much time.
If you have an injury to a certain area but are otherwise fit, you can adapt the sessions to avoid that area and keep making progress.
This book includes lots of advice about how to deal with injury and how to recover (see pages 177–188). There are also some tips about supplements you can take to help boost your immune system (see page 213).
Can I eat out while training?
Of course you can, but you will need to make sure you do it within your allotted macros. I know this is not always possible, but most of the time it is achievable, especially if you use the app MyFitnessPal. Do not expect to eat out often, though, particularly if you are looking to lose weight and body fat. However, life is for living, and if you want to change things up now and then, just factor it in and don’t let it derail your progress.
Do I have to take supplements?
No. Among the suggested protocols for getting the best results out of this programme (see page 30), some special supplements are recommended for certain situations. However, a good diet should supply what you need and should always be your first port of call. That is why this book includes extensive information about nutrition and a chapter of fantastic recipes.
Any advice for vegetarians and vegans?
You can still follow this programme if you are not a meat eater, but I recommend that you seek professional nutrition advice. I simply don’t know enough about being a vegan or vegetarian to fully advise you. What I do know is that it’s perfectly possible for anyone to create a good nutrition plan even within certain limitations. The key thing is to understand what foods you can eat to fulfill your macros.
Can I use this training programme during the season?
Lots of rugby players follow this plan and often ask this question. For two reasons, I suggest you do not use the muscle-building part of the programme while competing in any sports season. First, you will get super- sore from this type of training. Second, it is unhelpful to be in a size-building phase while trying to perform. The best time to do this programme is pre-season or off -season. However, you can use the fat-loss sessions during your normal training week, and add one of the resistance sessions as well. You might need to adjust the rest periods and number of sets.
Can I do the programme if I am not a member of a gym?
Yes, you can. The 8-week programme can be done at home and is designed specially for non-gym users. For the full 12-week programme, though, you will need access to free weights and machines. Of course, the 12-week plan does include sessions you can do without a gym, but if you want to get amazing results, you will need access to a gym.
Why are there no suggested weights for each exercise?
Simply because everyone following Perfect Fit is in different condition. There is plenty of advice within the book to help you choose the right weight and to know when you’ve got it wrong.
What happens if I go over my daily macros?
Firstly, it’s not the end of the world, but it must not become a daily occurrence. If you go over on one macro, you should drop the others so that your total daily calories remain the same. Everything will balance in the end, and this is particularly important if you are trying to lose weight and body fat. Going over your total calories is more of an issue. If it happens make sure you get back on track the next day.
If, on the other hand, you are trying to gain size and aren’t too worried about extra body fat, just accept the fact you have gone over and crack on.
Can I substitute exercises?
If you find some exercises too hard, you need to modify what you are doing and take things back a progression. In the case of movements that cause you discomfort or pain, find a similar movement or exercise that doesn’t produce those symptoms.
Many exercises in Perfect Fit can be modified to bodyweight work, which is less arduous than weighted work and very good for beginners and is also useful if you have limited equipment to hand – for example, when you are on holiday. In this case, you can use bands and dumbbells if you don’t have access to a fully stocked gym.
Can I eat cheat meals?
If you fall off the nutrition wagon and end up having a cheat meal, it’s not a disaster and won’t destroy your progress. The important thing is to get back onto your nutritional plan for the meals that follow the ‘blip’ because more than one day of poor eating will really mess up all the progress you have made.
The fact of the matter is that you are trying to make drastic changes to your body, so eating poorly is not an option. However, I do understand that we are all human and sometimes the urge to break out is too strong to resist. If you simply must have a bad meal, hold out for as long as you can and do it towards the end of the programme. You should only ‘reward’ yourself when the job is done, and try to keep it to just one meal then get back on track.