Building a base – monthly feature in Health & Fitness magazine

March 26, 2015

This winter, you have two choices – cover the signs of Christmas excess in a baggy jumper and call it fashion, or kick your summer fitness routine into high gear now and rock a hot body by May. ‘It’s tough to get optimum results in a short space of time,’ says top trainer Jean-Claude Vacassin. ‘You need to build on your fitness over different phases for dramatic and long-lasting results.’ You know what that means – it’s time to start overhauling your body for bikini season now.

H&F 1Enter the H&F Countdown to Summer programme. This four-month plan from Vacassin is your secret to showing off a sculpted shape in 2014. Each month, Vacassin will design a brand new whole-body workout to help you pummel pounds and tone every inch – so all you have to do is follow it.

Over the next four weeks, you’ll build a fitness base fast, to condition your body for intense training. ‘This month, you’ll improve movement quality and stability in the joints, and address corrective issues,’ reveals Vacassin. ‘If you can do this, the results you’ll get from the rest of the programme will dramatically improve.’


H&F 2

Expect to do high repetitions in the 12-15 range, light aerobic intervals and increase your daily activity. Let the number of repetitions dictate your weight choice – you should be able to do the number of repetitions with your chosen weight, no more and no less. If you can’t do enough reps, the weight is too heavy. If you can do too many reps, it’s too light. Play around until you find the right resistance for you.

H&F 3


You can do this cardio workout on any piece of equipment – treadmill, rower or pool. Or you can do it outdoors – by walking, running or cycling


Do one minute of aerobic work (70-80 per cent or your maximum heart rate or 7/10 effort) and one minute of active rest. For example, run for one minute and jog/ walk for one minute, or do front crawl for one minute and breaststroke for one minute. Repeat 10-15 times. When you can complete all blocks of activity at a consistent pace, make the first minute of each block harder – for example, run, swim or pedal faster.