How many times have you gone to the gym, and 1 – Didn’t know what to do or what to work on or 2 – You did the same routine using the same machines you’ve been doing for weeks? It is all too common. But you don’t become the strongest, fastest, healthiest version of yourself by simply going through the motions.
What makes a good workout program? The answer may differ depending on who you ask but the fundamentals are the same. A program is a plan that progresses you toward a predetermined goal or objective. Whether that’s weight loss, greater strength, endurance or sports specific improvement everything you choose to do should progress you toward reaching your goal(s).
One of the most common mistakes I see from really well-intentioned exercisers is showing up to the gym without a plan. You can be really keen on getting to the gym but if you make it up as you go along or follow a different workout routine every time there is no consistency. Progress is made by exposing your body to a specific stimulus enough times to force an adaptation. With too many inputs there is very little progress. Following a program allows you to continuously evaluate your performance against a fixed benchmark so you can make continued improvement.
If you’re still asking why you should be using a workout program and probably more importantly, how to choose a workout program, consider these factors.
Exercise experience. Did you train competitively in youth or team sports? Have you been weightlifting for ages? Or are you starting brand new? This can all influence your starting point. Make sure to share all this with your coach.
Time and Scheduling. In an ideal world, we’d all like to be working out more. But adulting definitely gets in the way. How many hours a week can you put aside to train? Be realistic about the time you have to commit to a workout program. Careers, children, significant others – we all have priorities. To make your health a top one, be real with yourself about your time commitment and schedule accordingly.
Be realistic about your goals. There are plenty of online resources, coaches and insta-models who want to sell you a bill of goods, offering to transform your body in six weeks or less. You may see amazing photos of bodybuilders or “fitness influencers” and make that your goal – don’t. For some, this is a full-time profession—all they do is train. Unfortunately for others, Photoshop, lighting, even drug enhancements are all potential factors in these jaw-dropping transformations in short periods of time. Create realistic, achievable goals that not only adhere to your capabilities, but your time commitment. Any good coach or trainer will be upfront with you about how much time it will take to reach your specific goals and will walk you through the process to get there.
Chose the mode of exercise that suits you. Don’t hire a one-on-one personal trainer if you like the team dynamic. If you like intense, individual focus, or you have very specific issues then a one- on-one coach is for you. If you don’t like lifting, then as important as it is, it should not be the focal point of your program. If you prefer a team aspect, you should be on a team, if you prefer a group class aspect you should be in a group.
If you are a self-starter, experienced, routine-regimented and a do -it-yourself, or don’t want to spend the money on a personal coach you may be able to find a program online that suits you!
If you’re looking for a personal trainer or online coach, it’s important to not just look at the photo results they may provide, but to get several references and recommendations. Make sure they’re certified, and they have experience or have a catalogue of results of people like yourself.
Semi-private training is a mix of individualised programming in a small group setting (in Quiktrain, our semi-private classes are up to 3 people) that can push you to a higher level. You get comradery and social support without the anonymity of a big class setting. Consider it the perfect fitness mix. If you are interested you can see our coaching class times here
A few Quiktips that will help you stick to your workout program:
Start slow. Think of this piece of wisdom from Abraham Lincoln, “Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 hours sharpening the axe.” At Quiktrain, we believe 100% in movement quality and executing to perfection. At the start of a workout program we want our clients to develop impeccable form and technique, by doing so you’re able to access higher levels of performance as you progress, achieve better results by building the fundamentals and apply the work that will burn the calories to shake up your metabolism. In fitness, as in life, sometimes you have to slow down to speed up.
Fall in love with the feeling. Exercise has benefits that reach far beyond just looking better physically. Studies show people who exercise regularly experience boosts in energy, mental focus, clarity and mood. The confidence you get from achieving “small wins” in exercise can also fuel increased productivity in everything that you do. Make the connection between these benefits and the habit of training and the habit will be more likely to stick.
Set process goals. Having big goals may seem overwhelming at first but breaking them down to smaller and more manageable checkpoints makes the task far less overwhelming. While your big goal may be to lose a certain amount of weight, run a race or improve your stamina, regular checkpoints will keep you accountable, focused and allow you to pile up those “small wins” to keep you pushing forward.
Understand what motivates you. Some people are motivated by tracking, they love ticking the boxes in their nutrition or workout schedule. For me personally I love training daily, because that momentum is something that I get swept up in, it’s just non- stop. Others love to share their journey online to keep them accountable and motivate their followers. Whatever it is that gets you going, make sure you reward yourself to positively motivate you throughout the process.
Educate yourself about training and nutrition. Those that know better, do better. Educating yourself will develop an esteem around making healthier choices.
Surround yourself with people that you aspire to be like. Train with people that are further ahead in their fitness journey than you, so they can serve as motivation. Also, hang out with people that eat well.
Health before fitness. Always. Nowadays with much of the focus on looking a certain way in the short term, many fail to realize that you can be fit, without being healthy. For example, a fitness competitor that steps on stage with extremely low bodyfat is certainly fit to compete, but being in extreme caloric deficit, depriving yourself of water to the point of extreme fatigue is certainly not healthy. Most only sustain that conditioning for a few hours on show day. Unfortunately, any fitness that isn’t rooted in good health will not be sustainable.
A healthy body is one that is elastic, is fast, is strong, it can endure and most of all, it is healthy. If you keep the health of your body as the utmost priority you’ll know how to proceed and most importantly, you will get the results you desire.
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