Programming can be difficult and overwhelming when starting out. There is SO much information out there and you might get confused hearing all different opinions. I’m wanting to break it down and make it simple so you can find the gym enjoyable and a breeze.
First, let’s agree that all movement is good movement. Some is better than none, so if you can only train for 25-30 minutes that day rather than an hour, do it! Every workout is a step toward your fitness goals and should never be overlooked. Okay, let’s get into it.
How you work out is important. Again, movement and lifting is always good. However, to make progress and get stronger, you need to know how to lift, what muscle groups to focus on, and how to program.
1. SPLIT TRAINING –
Split training is training a certain muscle group each day. It helps to categorize what muscle group you train and allow other muscle groups to rest for the next day. An example of a good split for an advanced gym goer could be:
Monday – Lower body push/pull
Tuesday – Upper body push/pull
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Full Body
Friday – Cardio/Bis/Tris/Delts
Saturday – Core/Hamstrings/Glutes
Sunday – Rest
**Side note: Rest days do not mean sit on the couch and eat chips and ice cream. You should always be prioritizing movement each day and getting around 10,000m steps in per day! This makes a massive difference when it comes to achieving weight loss and overall health.
2. 6-8 WEEK PROGRAMMING –
Programming should not be changed weekly. Programming should be a 6-8 week plan focusing on the same movements and progressing in weight weekly or bi weekly. This is how we become stronger and avoid plateauing.
3. PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD –
This is the best way you can get stronger and keep yourself from plateauing. Progressive overload is the training system of performing a certain amount of reps with a certain amount of weight (example: chest press 15 lb. dumbbells for 15 reps, then 20 lb. dumbbells for 10 reps, then 25 lb. dumbbells for 6 reps).
This physically breaks down your muscles and creates a stronger you overtime. It allows you to also keep track of your strength progress by paying attention to your numbers and weights.
The above split is for those who train 5x/week. This leads me into the….
When you train depends on your advancement level. You should be training minimum 3x/week and a max of 6x/week for serious athletes. You should also do a minimum of 30 minutes and max 2 hours (for those slow and controlled workouts which may require more rest time or recovery). Usually 1 hour is PLENTY of time to get a few effective circuits in while taking your time and allowing your muscles to rest. For beginners, here is a great split for 3x/week:
Monday – Full body
Tuesday – Active rest
Wednesday – Full Body
Thursday – Active rest
Friday – Full Body
Saturday – Core/Recovery
Sunday – Active rest
Let’s dive into what we train and why.
If you are only training 3x/week you need to be hitting full body, pushing/pulling motions, and training core each day. This is in order to progress and be balanced throughout your entire body.
Imbalances happen in our body when certain muscle groups become underactive or overactive.
Underactive muscles are weak muscles which are not…well…active. They are not worked or put under stress to become stronger. These are usually muscles that we do not use in every day life, never train, or do not perform certain movements in a normal day (example: rhomboid muscles).
Overactive muscles are those which are fired up and overly tense. A great example of a common overactive muscle is your upper trapezius (the big muscle on top of you next that usually has knots and is constantly fired up from stress, computers, holding heavy backpacks, etc.)
So when it comes to what we train, we should be training all muscle groups! We should be hitting...
+ Step Ups
+ Chest Press
+ Lat Pushdowns
+ Tricep Pushdowns
+ Hip Thrusts
+ Single leg deadlifts
+ Lat Pulldowns
+ Banded pull apart
+ Bicep curls
+ Hamstring curls
+ Reverse flies
1. Get a gym!
Of course, you can workout anywhere, but training in a gym or home gym with adamant amounts of equipment, weights, and machines is 100% the best move. It is tough to keep progressing with lack of weights. Sorry, wine bottles won’t do it lol
2. Avoid group fitness as a constant workout regimen
This may seem odd, and again it’s great to move every day. However, if your goals are to change your body and get strong, group fitness is not where it’s at. All classes are based on getting bodies in the gym, keeping it fun, so you keep coming back. The teachers are all different, so that means no programming. Also, its mainly cardio and rarely are people pushing their bodies to the best of their abilities with progressive overload. Add in group fitness classes for fun and to keep things exciting, but mainly focus on strength in the gym with your own program
3. At home
Home workouts have become extremely popular lately due to covid. They are actually very effective and some people feel more comfortable at home than in public which is totally fine! However, make sure to stock up on proper weights, bands, and benches to be able to get the most out of your workout.
Hope these help you to get on track and be confident starting your new workout routine!