Your heart feels like it’s about to jump out of your chest. Your legs are burning. You reach for the sweat towel for the tenth time because you are completely soaked.
You worked super hard, and you are making your way to a better fitter stronger you. Kudos to you.
Just like you, many people are out there feeling the burn 6 times a week, week in week out, yet after 6 months haven’t really changed much.
Yet with all the new and available workout plans and techniques, most of us aren’t walking around as ripped and as lean as toned as we want.
Did you know that with the right workout plan, you could transform yourself completely in 6 months? So why do people go, have the biggest best workout and don’t achieve the transformation?
How do you know that your workout effective? This is for those who are using workouts as a way to achieve a goal; if you go to the gym just to blow off some steam or to mess around – then you do you. However you are leaving chips on the table if you don’t follow the following rules
1. It Has Enough Frequency And Volume FOR YOU
Let’s take a a look at two routines, here is the first, routine A:
- Monday: Chest
- Tuesday: Back
- Thursday: Arms
- Friday: Shoulders
- Saturday: Calves+ Abs
- Monday: Full Body
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: Full Body
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: Full Body
- Saturday: Rest
Routine A is one you would find in a magazine or online with pictures of oiled up muscley dudes. And it is also NOT the right workout for you. The correct workout for you is routine B. Here is why.
Routine A is not right because it’s frequency is too low (too infrequent) and will usually be harder to recover from(10 chest exercises will be hard to recover from for you and me).
To understand better let’s get some simple terms out of the way: workouts are described in terms of:
- Frequency (how often in a week is it done)
- Intensity (the load/weight used)
- Volume (total work done -ie sets, reps and weight used) – so it includes the frequency + intensity
These are all factors which determine if you are working out the muscles enough to actually cause the effect.
Here’s a brief summary for general recommendations for what works for according to the pros:
Workout each major body part 2-4 times a week, (frequency) with varying rep range, including light weights and moderately heavy weights (volume and intensity).
This is why for a beginner a full body routine 3x a week or upper-lower-fullbody split 2x a week is ideal. Instead of doing 10 chest exercises in 1 day, you spread it out over 3 days – your body can recover better.
And this is exactly why following routines from bodybuilding magazines and newspapers will not get you those results you see.
Without getting too in depth here is why – professional bodybuilders are usually on performance enhancing drugs which abnormally alter the muscle protein synthesis process and are able to recover due to their strict diet and daily routines – their routines have low frequency and very high volume.
It will burn you out and be ineffective as you will not be able to recover. So skip the Arnold routine, and get an effective one – like this one.
2. Resistance Training : Cardio Ratio
You should be doing more resistance training than cardio. Unless you are training for a marathon or are a professional runner, the optimal health benefits and results are seen when around 70% of your workout is based on a form of resistance training.
There’s no need to give up your cardio class. However if you have been slow with results and have been putting in the work at the gym classes for months and months yet don’t see much change, this is the change you need to consider.
Excess cardio and not enough resistance training will result in you not retaining your muscle mass as you lose weight and you won’t get that “toned” look.
So don’t be scared to pick up a dumbbell or barbell. No equipment? No problem – you can still get an effective full body workout in and progress.
Focus on form and you are on the way.
3. Keep Your Exercises Steady
I posted recently on twitter that 80% of the exercises I’ve done over the past 4 years have been only around 10 of them – IN TOTAL.
Here’s the fact: “muscle confusion” makes as much sense as going to university and deciding to do all the courses and keep changing it up so you can graduate with the highest marks. It simply doesn’t work like that.
Switching things up only serves to keep things “exciting”. Well, which is more exciting – trying a new workout every 2 weeks or seeing results after 6 weeks? If you pick the former, then it’ll be hard to grow enough to make the changes you need – and you’ll stay stuck in the same old no-results cycle for months and months.
Pick a good handful of exercises that work and become better at it over time. This means being able to do more reps, more sets, increase weight, decrease the rest time etc. All these are signs that you are becoming better.
And when you become better you start to LOOK and perform better. Pick one workout plan and stick to it for 8 weeks in which you improve at some exercises over the time.
4. It Is Progressive
Are the workouts you are doing getting harder over time within the same program? If you are using the same weights and reps over time for 2 months, you will not be providing any new stimulus for your muscles to grow and thus your body will not adapt.
There needs to be a pattern of increase in work done. It could be an increase in reps/sets or weight. This is the concept of progressive overload.
You should be able to do more at the end, which is a sign of growth and change. That’s the whole point of working out, right? To create a change. So have a workout that challenges you more as time goes and your body will adapt over time and you will see results.
5. It Allows You To Recover
This ties in with the first point – where your workout needs to happen often enough (frequency) but needs to allow for enough time to recover.
Recovery is important physiologically – it is the time when the muscles are repaired and so it is important to allow your body to recover during this time. Light activity/low impact activity such as walking or cycling is alright to do, and do remember to keep active throughout as a general guide.
Do remember on top of these 5 tips – eat to fuel your recovery. Remember to eat your protein, fruits and vegetables, sleep, and to stay hydrated,.
So there you go, 5 key things that may be missing from your exercise program. Incorporate what is missing and you will accelerate your results.
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