Updated: Oct 25, 2019
Whether you're new to working out or a veteran lifter, you've probably questioned your exercise program. Here are 3 ways to determine whether or not it's a good one.
1. Progressive Overload
In order to continue seeing results after your "newbie gains", you MUST ensure that your workouts are progressively more difficult. This can be achieved in a variety of ways including but not limited to:
increasing number of exercises, increasing number of sets, increasing number of reps, increasing weight, changing exercise modality, changing the exercise environment (i.e stable vs. unstable), etc.
2. Exercise Phasing
How many of you have been doing the same style of workouts for several months, years or even decades? How many of you believe you have to do different workouts everyday to "confuse" the body? Unfortunately, both of these styles are obsolete. Instead, you should be progressing through different "phases" of exercise. This allows the body to adapt to a certain style of training and continue building upon it.
An example of an exercise phase would be a "hypertrophy" phase, where your goal is to put on as much lean muscle as possible. Next, it might be beneficial to switch into a "strength" phase, where your goal is to use that newly built muscle to build some serious strength. Implementing this technique ensures that you'll consistently improve, avoid plateaus, and stay motivated.
3. Define Your Goals
On the surface, this can sound very simple, however in practice, it can be quite difficult. That's why it's so often overlooked, which leads people to arbitrarily exercising and eventually giving up because they're no longer motivated.
This can be avoided by sitting down and getting real with yourself. Is your goal really just to "lose some weight and tone up" or "put on some muscle and get stronger"? If so, what's your end goal? How much is "some weight", or "some muscle"? What does "tone up", or "get stronger" mean? How much time will you give yourself before you lose interest because you don't have any real goals? You must learn to be specific with your goals, which can be where a Personal Trainer comes in. We're trained to help our clients define their goals, and then crush them.