How to maintain fitness

Amateur to athlete program – fitness maintenance tips

Top fitness maintenance tips from the sports scientists at Pete Fraser Fitness

So you’ve turned your body into that of an athlete!  Don’t let all that hard earned fitness slide away? It’s important to maintain your fitness by stimulating the body using varied exercises and training patterns. Here’s our top 5 tips to maintain your physical prowess:

  1. Cross train – to exercise all elements of fitness:
  • Strength – resistance training: body weight and free-weight/machines
  • Speed – interval training: hill or flat repeats: running or bike
  • Suppleness – yoga or add a stretch element to a circuit routine
  • Stamina – maintain C.V. by including at least 1 run/bike of 45 – 60min/week
  • Skill – build proprioception into a circuit: jumping squats, burpies, skipping or bench jumps

Mix your exercise, use variety to stimulate different elements of fitness. Add in a swim, run, bike, track or outdoor session to stop any plateau developing. Variety is key to keeping both mind and body stimulated.

See our suggested maintenance training microcycle format below.


  1. Eat smart – after all, you are what you eat!

If you’ve followed our athlete to amateur program you will be well aware of the importance of nutrition when exercising for weight control, maintenance, repair and general health.

Useful nutrition info from Pete Fraser Fitness:

The nutritional commandments:

  • Limit or omit alcohol – do you really need such a regular and large intake of extra `empty` calories?
  • Limit or omit processed foods wherever possible – at Pete Fraser Fitness, we advocate the rule: try to eat foods that have been touched by the least number of machines, hands and chemicals
  • Eat more in the morning then reduce intake on a sliding scale through the day – breakfast like a Lord and dine like a pauper
  • Eat unrefined, brown carbohydrate – bread, pasta, oats, rice, etc – low glycaemic index carbs are your friends
  • Favour poultry, fish, eggs and game birds (except duck and goose) for meaty based proteins – although delicious, pork, beef, and lamb are fatty little critters!
  • Drink 2 litres of water per day – probably one of the most important of all!
  • Eat colourful and dark vegetables with most/every meal – these type of foods are regularly packed with antioxidants and flavonoids which assist your metabolism and general healthy functioning
  • Omit refined goods: sugar, fizzy drinks and baked goods – we all know we should but often don’t! Explore alternatives like moderate amounts of raw chocolate or other nut/fruit based products not containing chemicals or added sugar


  1. Take rest and recovery seriously

There is no point exercising hard on a regular basis if you are not providing enough rest and recovery time. Muscular repair and growth occurs in these important periods and your training will suffer if you do not pay attention to the body`s needs. Fatigue, poor performance and/or injury will soon occur if enough rest is not taken.

We’re all different but studies suggest that between 7 and 8 hrs sleep should be taken. Other adequate rest and recovery periods should also be built into any training program as necessary. Active rest can be taken in the form of: walking, easy cycling, swimming or a yoga/stretch session.


How to build recovery into your routine:

We advocate a cross-training maintenance plan which works different areas of fitness and does not repetitively work the same muscle group or training area categories.

The training mesocycle format below shows a cross training profile working the whole body and full categories of the fitness elements but taking the important aspect of rest into full consideration.

Example of a maintenance microcycle

Strength – Upper bodyC.V. – Easy run/bike ~ 6mRestStrength – Lower bodyCore & proprioceptionC.V. – Intervals:     12 x 400m sprintsActive Rest – Walk, swim, yoga

We would recommend changing the format of a training maintenance schedule every 8 – 12 weeks by varying the distances, duration and exercises.


  1. Set yourself new goals and targets

All athletes strive for their personal goals, whether that be a personal best race time, a top 10 placing in a tournament or an Olympic gold. Commonly after a goal has been reached athletes encounter a feeling of `emptiness`, a `void` or lethargy and experience difficulty in refocusing on their sport or maintaining intensity in exercise. Once your goals have been met, pull back and relearn the skill-set for your sport. Refine any weaknesses and enjoy a different pace or duration of training level. Perhaps set yourself new goals within your sport or maybe it’s time to look for another sport to try?


  1. Keep it fresh

Try a different sport! Many of the skills learnt from one sport are transferable into another. And let’s face it, it’s sometimes necessary to change the performance angle or skill set to improve interest and keep fitness interesting. If you’re a swimmer, cyclist or runner, try changing the surface, i.e. if you’re a road runner try trail or cross-country. If you’re an indoor swimmer, try open water. If you’re keen stick all the disciplines together and enter a triathlon.  If you’re not a professional (and most of us fall into this category) taking part in sport should be enjoyable and help us improve our wellbeing – if you’re sport isn’t doing that for you simply change it and try another – there’s a lot out there to try.