Guy's Fitness Regime

My name is Richard Chessman. I was in the Parachute Regiment for 13 years as a Physical Training Instructor (PTI). My job was to run all the courses for Airborne Forces personnel. I left 3 yrs ago and set up two companies, 'Bodyskill' to look after training and 'Formula Fitness' for Race Care. I specialise in the Fitness Training of Drivers and Riders.

I have been training with guy for about 18 months. When we first got together he gave me an idea of what he wanted to achieve. All I had to do was help him to achieve it.

His brief was that he wanted to improve his:
1. Strength
2. Muscle Endurance
3. Aerobic Endurance
Our main considerations were:
1. Weight
2. Shape/Size
3. Flexibility

So to do this he told me of his driving schedule (Testing, Racing). From this I could design a programme using a method called 'Periodisation'.

What this does is break the time you have into 3 phases:
1. Endurance
2. Strength
3. Speed

E.g. you have 3 months to prepare for a competition. You would simply work a month on each phase. So at the point of the Competition/Event you would be peaking.

Before we started any training we needed to see where Guy's fitness was.

This was done with a few simple tests:
1. Muscle Endurance (Press-ups)
2. Core Endurance (Sit-ups)
3. Aerobic Fitness (1.5 mile run)
4. Bodystat (Fat%, Water litre/%, BMI)
5. Cholesterol, Glucose levels
6. Flexibility and Grip


Phase 1

We started off nice and steady on short 4-5 mile runs at a slow pace. On return to the gym we would do some circuit training, low weight high reps, concentrating on the areas that encompass all the muscles required for driving. Lots of stretching to improve flexibility. Sessions lasted about 1.5 to 2hrs.

Over the weeks the runs got longer up to 12.5 miles, carrying 0.5 kilo hand weights. Followed by 30mins of intense swimming or weights. Stretching at the end.

The results of the 4 weekly tests were showing a 25-30% increase.

Well on schedule!

Phase 2

It was now time to start work on Strength.

We brought the running down to 5 miles, still with the hand weights. Drop off the weights and pick up a 35lb Rucksack and repeat the 5 mile route. On return to the gym we would go through a weights resistance routine. Only the weights were heavier and reps were less. The purpose of this is to increase muscle strength and mass. Strength could be increased by 25 to 100% within 3 to 6 months.

The sessions were very intense, all sets were done with limited rest to increase tolerance and threshold. Basically, pushing his pain barrier further back. The purpose of this is to make the sessions harder than the race i.e. When Guy's in the car, and he's going through fatigue and tiredness, his brain can say to him "Hey, we've been here before, it hurts but we know we can continue, because we did it in training" The sessions are at least 2 hrs to simulate the time spent in the car.

Again, we continue the 4 weekly tests, to make sure we are still on schedule.

Phase 3

Now we move on to the final phase, which is Speed. This, I think is the hardest. Reasons being it takes the most commitment. The runs go back up to around 10 miles, the pace is increased to 7 m/h. Lots of the training is now carried out in a squash court, or something similar. We concentrate on hand speed, fast feet, good agility and most importantly co-ordination!

This is all done by doing loads of sprint work and ply metrics. He still continues high reps very low weight exercises. So every set of ex's lasts as long as it would at the respective race circuit. The amount of sets is determined by how many laps of that track will be completed. So in theory the session will replicate the race as closely as possible. In time, muscles used mental and physical fatigue.

After this we go on to some kickboxing, to improve his eye to hand co-ordination. Hand and foot speed is paramount here. All I simply do is call out the different combinations, and guy does it. Again it enables him to take in information while very fatigued and carry it out. (Simulating pit orders).

Lastly I lay out a square on the floor. Guy stands in the miple, I then say to him various words i.e.: forward, backwards, left right. Then north, south, east and west. I'll then change it to colours. And give groups of 3 - 4 words of command.

Now he's ready to perform to the best he can.

Now we have got his fitness, stamina and strength where we want it, we have to keep it up there. So, an average week would consist of Guy and me training twice a day. The reason for the two sessions is; I know how many calories Guy is allowed per day, to maintain his health. I also know how many cals we need to burn off every day to maintain his lean shape and keep his fighting weight. So we divided that figure by 2. That's how many cals we burn off each session.

This is 5 days a week

Cycling or Running 1hr (steady state)
Kickboxing or sparring 30 mins
Stretching 30 mins
Swimming (Hand Paples, Strength) 1hr
Light weights - Natural body ex's 30 mins
Stretching 30 mins

The main thing guy has to do is control his food intake. Lots of protein in his diet, to keep him lean. Minimum of 5 litres of water per day to flush his system through. Plus the water helps to break down body fats. He isn't allowed chocolates or sweets.

Guy has really worked hard on all aspects of the training. Sometimes I'm sure he wondered why he was doing some of these bizarre ex's at 7.00 in the morning. He never argued, he looked at me a bit funny, but he got on with it. Especially now he can see the benefits in training and in the car, I'm sure he would agree it was all worth it.

The thing to remember is, its not just now he has to train, it's for the rest of guy's racing career!