Programming: How to do it properly

Programming: How to do it properly

WHY MAKE A PROGRAM?

You’ve heard that programs work, but why follow one? Following a program in the gym can have numerous benefits, including:

  • Preventing under/over training
  • Creating goals
  • Providing structure when you’re feeling un-motivated
  • Clearly tracking progress (which is the main driver of muscle growth)

And this is just to name a few.

 

HOW TO MAKE ONE THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all program, which is why you need to ask yourself some questions before creating one for yourself.

 

WHAT IS YOUR GOAL?

You need to have a clear idea of what you’d like to achieve over the duration of your program. Your goals will inform how often you workout and what kind of exercises you do. If building muscle is your primary goal, you might reduce your training frequency and make your workouts longer.

 

HOW OFTEN WILL YOU TRAIN?

This is to determine your level of commitment that you’re willing to offer towards your training goals. Everyone has varying levels of lifestyle, work and family obligations that they need to consider which is why it’s important that you make an honest assessment of your personal situation and make a firm commitment to the minimum number of days per week that you can train. If you’re tossing up between four and five days, go with four. It’s better to make a program that will work given your minimum time availability.

 

Once you’ve decided how many days a week you commit to per week, you can start to organise your training split.

 

WHAT EXERCISES AND MOVEMENTS SHOULD YOU DO?

With so many different excercises that can be chosen, it can feel like an overwhelming decision to choose which ones to include in your program. The selection of exercises will depend on your goals. Assuming your goal is tobuild muscle, you definitely want to include compound movements as the basis for your training sessions.

Compound movements are the foundational exercises that use multiple joints and lots of muscle mass.  The main movement patterns are pushes (e.g. bench press), pulls (e.g. pullup), hinges (e.g. deadlift) and squats (e.g. barbell squat).

These exercises should consume the majority of your time and effort during your workouts.

If compound movements are the cake, then accessory movements are the icing. These are generally single-joint exercises such as bicep curls and leg extensions that you can do after your compound movements to add some extra stimulus.

 

HOW SHOULD I TRACK PROGRESSION
DURING MY PROGRAM?

Progression can be measured in the
following ways:

• Increasing the amount of weight
you’re lifting

• Completing more repetitions at a
given weight

• Improving the quality of your
repetitions

Keep in mind that it’s easier to progress
these facets while in a caloric surplus –
progress will be slower if you’re in a caloric
deficit for fat loss.

 

I FEEL LIKE I CAN HANDLE MORE – CAN I
ADD SOME EXTRA SETS?

You can absolutely increase the volume, as long as it doesn’t impede your ability to recover or harm the strength in your lifts. However, keep in mind that there’s a limit to how much extra volume is beneficial – if you’re consistently completing 20+ sets a week on a muscle you’re training twice per week, consider lowering the volume and increasing the frequency and intensity (eg. Instead doing 18 sets over three sessions with higher intensity).

HOW MUCH CARDIO SHOULD I DO?

This depends on your focus – cardio has a plethora of mental and physical benefits, but if your main goal is to gain muscle then cardio shouldn’t be emphasised. We’d suggest having one low-intensity steady state session (LISS) a week and one high-intensity interval session (HIIT). If you prefer to keep your food intake maximised, you can add in an extra 1 – 2 sessions of cardio as necessary. But if you don’t enjoy cardio and would rather have less sessions, make sure your food intake isn’t too high (if your goal is to lose fat). An example of a LISS session would be to perform a form of cardio at an intensity that gets your heart rate up to around 128 – 140 BPM until you’ve burned the desired number of calories. An example of a HIIT session would be as follows:

• 5 minute warmup
• 20 second sprint
• 40 second power walk
• Repeat the sprint and power walk one
after the other ten times
• 2-3 minute cool down jog
This is just a guideline – HIIT just needs to have
something with maximal intensity followed by
a cool-down exercise.

HOW DO I ORGANISE MY TRAINING
DAYS AND REST DAYS?

The organisation of your rest and training days are flexible – what’s important is that you consistently reach the weekly training volume of the program and get enough rest to maintain it. We’d advise to prioritise your weaker muscles at the start of your rotation – for example, in an upper/lower split, it’d be a good idea to start your rotation with a lower body session if that’s your weaker muscle group. In terms of rest days, if you’re a beginner or an intermediate it’s advised to have at least one whole day without any lifting or cardio.

 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD ABS BE TRAINED?

Abs recover quickly, so around three times a week is recommended. It’s a good idea to train abs on days that you have plenty of energy at the end of your workout.

HOW LONG SHOULD I FOLLOW MY PROGRAM?

Like with most programs – stick to it as long as you’re making progress. This will vary greatly from individual to individual, so monitor your progress and stick to it until you feel like you’re plateauing.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M ACTUALLY
MAKING PROGRESS?

The easiest way to know if you’re making progress is through the numbers in your logbook and the mirror. The scale is an important tool, but if your goal is fat-loss, the change is visual – so gauge both what you see on the scale and in the mirror. In a good caloric deficit, weight loss for men should be around 450-900 grams per week and 200-250 grams per week for women.

SHOULD I HAVE DELOAD WEEKS?

After weeks of consistent, heavy training, it’s common to experience a few consecutive days of feeling weak, exhausted and unmotivated. If this occurs, you can have a few days off, or take a deload week. Central nervous system recovery, reduced risk of injury and mental and physical recovery are the main benefits of a de-load. To do a de-load, simply follow the program as you were but with 50-60% less weight on each exercise and half the sets. You can alternatively just not train for a few days – but any more than 5-6 days without training isn’t advised. Generally speaking, de-loads are required more often when following a program during a caloric deficit. Monitor how you’re feeling and don’t push yourself too hard if you’re overly fatigued.

 

That’s a lot of information to digest – constructing and following your own program is a process that takes time to learn. You’ll make mistakes along the way and learn from them – the main thing is consistency. A poor program followed properly is better than a proper program followed poorly.

Happy training!

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Top 5 Reasons NY Fitness Resolutions Fall Through

It’s finally come to the end of this harrowing year and many of us are preparing to embark on our New Year’s resolutions. According to this survey, the second most common New Year’s resolution is fitness based.

 

Statistic: What are your 2018 resolutions? | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Ofcourse, New Year’s resolutions aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but short term motivation tends not to be enough for long-term goals. Here are some mistakes to avoid that make your fitness resolutions more likely to slip away.

1. Not having a training program

2. Not having a nutrition plan

3. Not meal prepping

4. Neglecting recovery

5. Treating a marathon like a sprint

 

 1. Not having a training program

 

This point especially pertains to you if you’re a complete beginner. You sign up to a gym, excited to make a change and ready to go.

Walking in for your first session, you look around the gym at all the machines and have no idea where to get started – so you get onto the treadmill and start doing a mild walk/jog.

After you’ve done that for a few minutes, you get off and wander around looking for something that looks doable. The leg extension catches your eye.

You get into the leg extension which was adjusted for the person before you, but you’re too embarrassed to ask the staff how to change it so you just deal with the slightly awkward settings and do some reps.

You walk around and get into a pec deck which is set up to go backwards and do a couple of awkward reps that make your shoulders feel weird.

Once that’s done, you walk off and finish up with your first session.

A big barrier to consistently coming in to the gym is having no idea what you’re supposed to do when you’re in the gym, let alone correct technique and execution.

It’s not difficult to see why repeating this pattern for a few weeks would lead to a drop-off.

 

A beginner’s training program is one of the best weapons you can arm yourself with against awkwardness of not knowing what to do when you’re in the gym.

When you come in with a plan, you know where to get started, what to do next and so forth. This empowers you with purpose – you’re coming into the gym to follow the steps already set out for you.

A program will tell you which exercises to do on which days for how many reps and sets, but it won’t tell you how to perform the exercises properly which is why having some initial sessions with a knowledgeable personal trainer is a highly intelligent investment.

An alternate route to personal training is to spend hours on the internet doing your own due diligence, but not have the resources or motivation to do that.

 

If you have a training program, you know that you’re going to warm up for five minutes on the treadmill, do three sets of 12 reps on the leg press, 3 sets of 12 reps on the cable row machine, 3 sets of 12 reps on the chest press and then do 5 minutes of core strength work.

Compare this to the previous scenario with no training program.

 

2. Not having a nutrition plan

 

If your New Year’s resolution is fitness based, you’re probably aiming to gain muscle, lose fat or both. These goals are heavily reliant on nutritional factors, especially caloric intake.

If you embark on your fitness journey without a clear plan of what you’re eating throughout the day, you’re inevitably fall back into your old eating patterns which led to you to want to make a change in the first place.

Have a simple, realistic nutrition plan to follow so that you know how much to eat each day for your specific goals.

 

3. Not Meal-Prepping

 

This point mainly pertains to those who have particularly busy schedules.

As mentioned earlier, knowing what/how much to eat is going to have a huge impact on your fitness goals. Consistently having cooking healthy meals all throughout the day is much easier said than done- that’s why meal prepping can make or break your fitness goals.

Once you have your meal plan and know how much of what foods to eat, it’s very smart to prepare them in advance. Some people cook their meals for the next day at night and keep them in containers in the fridge.

Meal prepping is intelligent effort that saves you from having to cook multiple times throughout the day and makes it much easier to stick to your plan.

It’s much easier to opt for the healthy option when it’s prepared in the fridge!

 

4. Neglecting Recovery

 

The topic of recovery is often glossed over – all the tips on getting muscular and lean are usually about what exercises are best or what the hottest fad diet is so it’s no surprise that most people aren’t aware of it’s importance!

Recovery is simply your body repairing itself after exercise. As you may or may not already know, muscle growth occurs during recovery, not exercise.

If you don’t recover properly from your training, you won’t be able to reap the benefits of your hard work in the gym.

If you’re a beginner, here are some things you can do to improve your recovery-

  • Do full-body workouts three times per week
  • Try to have some protein and carbohydrates after you workout
  • Finish your workouts with a cool-down (eg walking on the treadmill for 5-10 mins) and some gentle stretches

These points are on top of maintaining a healthy diet and adequate sleep. The main thing is to make sure you feel just as good or better when working out than the week before.

 

5. Treating a Marathon like a Sprint

 

Whether you like it or not – progress takes time. Depending on your consistency and level of effort, truly noticeable progress is probably going to take around a year. Sure, you might try keto and lose significant water weight in a couple of months, but that weight comes straight back on as soon as you start eating carbs again.

The point is, fitness is a long-term lifestyle choice and results aren’t going to come without persistence.

Whatever method/training program you use to make the change you want, you need to follow it as consistently as you can over the long term to see any results.

Don’t worry if you slip up here and there – that’s completely normal. What really makes a difference is your overall progress throughout the year.

Good things come to those who wait!

 

Conclusion

 

Whether you like it or not – progress takes time. Depending on your consistency and level of effort, truly noticable progress is probably going to take around a year. Sure, you might try keto and lose significant water weight in a couple of months, but that weight comes straight back on as soon as you start eating carbs again.

The point is, fitness is a long-term lifestyle choice and results aren’t going to come without persistance.

Whatever method/training program you use to make the change you want, you need to follow it as consistently as you can over the long term to see any results.

Don’t worry if you slip up here and there – that’s completely normal. What really makes a difference is your overall progress throughout the year.

Good things come to those who wait!

Restrictions Update December 7th 2020

Restrictions Update 7th of December

 

Restrictions have been eased yet again! Here are the details.

 

What’s Changing What’s continuing
  • You have 24/7 Access Again!
  • While inside the gym, mask wearing is advised but not compulsory
  • Overall club capacity has been further increased
  • Staffed hours are now Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, Saturday 10am-4pm
  • Dual Access memberships have been re-instated
  • Badging on is still essential
  • If you have any COVID-19 symptoms or have had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 you must self isolate until you’ve received a negative test result
  • It’s still encouraged to train during off peak hours if you’re able to do so.

 

FAQs

 

 

What do I need to bring to the gym?

You must bring a sweat towel, a water bottle and a mask.

Do I need to wear a mask?

Masks are advised but not required.

Can I train with a friend?

Yes, you may train with a friend.

Can someone spot me while I’m training?

Yes, you can ask one of our staff or a fellow gym member to spot you while completing any heavy lifts. It is recommended that the spotter wear a facemask while doing so.

Do I need to book in to train?

No, we are back to 24/7 access and you come in to train whenever you’d like to.

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