If you follow a solid program from a respected fitness professional you have an excellent chance of seeing positive results. That is if you follow it from start to finish. And that’s the problem. Most of us don’t follow a workout program from start to finish.
I understand why. Repetitive exercises, sets, and reps for a given period of time can leave us eager to try new things and detour from what we should be doing. Not the best way to get your desired results, at the very least, showing up and doing some work can be good enough most of the time.
This is why I like to follow principles and templates. They provide a roadmap that can keep you on the right track and provide direction. Sure, it may not be the perfect program but it provides balance, fundamentals, and makes sense. The ability to adjust and shift when life hits you with unforeseen obstacles is imperative. Simply put, show up and keep moving. If you can do that over a long period of time, regardless of how you work out, the likelihood of you succeeding is pretty good.
Keeping all of this in mind, I have come up with three categories of workouts that you can choose from. Each one has a goal for where you will be during a given period of time. Meaning, if you need to lose fat more then get strong, you need to focus on that. If you are coming off an injury or have taken a period time off of working out, you may need to work on mobility.
Here’s what I came up with:
- Take it easy You may have just gone through a tough time and have not been in the gym, just ran a marathon, or just don’t have the time and energy to work out as hard as you want. During this time, work on improving your overall movement. Simple work like walking, crawling, rolling, soft tissue work and anything that gets you out of a chair. Mobility and flexibility work is great here, too. Think about trying yoga for example. I’d also recommend focusing on building a strong core with planks and other exercises.
- Prime the pump This is a time where you want to get in and lift some weights. Not too heavy and not too much, but enough to build strength. During this time it’s a good idea to keep workouts between 30-45 minutes. Go for the “pump,” meaning lift a load for say 8-15 reps that is demanding but not a struggle and gets the blood moving, three to four days a week. A little cardio mixed in is good too. Hypertrophy training is great here.
- Light it up It’s time to step up the game. You want to get stronger and/or improve cardio in this phase. Strength training with heavier loads, three to eight reps, is where you want to live when it comes to the weights. Hard Cardio with intervals, like Tabata, AMRAP, or just running hard all work for cardio.
Life can bring unexpected challenges. Your body will, too. Be prepared and always keep moving no matter what. It’s not always the intensity, but it is always the consistency.
Justin Grinnell, B.S., CSCS is the owner of State of Fitness in East Lansing. He is also a certified nutrition coach. Reach him at 517.708.8828.