Programming Essentials

I see many people working hard in the gym, but I don’t see many people improving.

It’s sad that so many people with the best of intentions put in hours and hours every week to get very little back from it. Usually not from a lack of trying or effort, but from a lack of correct programming and advice as to the best approach for their goals.

These five things are essential to consider for your training – and no matter if you’re after a six pack for Summer or a triple figure squat, you need these essential elements to create the right program to take you towards victory.

1. Progression
Have a goal, write a program to reach it and follow it through.
Progression is how you go from your current state, to the goal you have set. This is done by increasing the intensity of your training so that you can continue to become stronger, leaner, fitter etc over time.

You should not be lifting the same weights or doing the same level of exertion at week 1 as you are at week 10. The more advanced you become, the harder you must work.
But an increase in intensity can come at a price, so in order to continue to progressively overload, to lift heavier, to become leaner, move faster, build more power or endurance, you need…

2. Recovery
You do not have to do a session every day, and when you do train – not every session has to have be a PB or be 2 hours long.

Progressive overload can only continue when you are well recovered. Any reduction in strength and in energy levels should be prevented as much as possible, and phases should be scheduled into your program or block where you reduce the volume or frequency to rest and recuperate. Essential factors for recovery are nutrition, sleep, deload periods, refeeds, some supplementation and also things like deep tissue massage therapy. Understanding the signs that help you manage your recovery is imperative to preventing injury and burnout, and creating long term results.

3. Specifity
Avoid moving just for the sake of moving. Move for the sake of goal acquisition.

If you wanted to bench press twice your bodyweight, would you also train for a marathon, just because?
If you have chronic lower back pain performing a specific exercise, would you keep it in? Or would you address the weakness that caused it?

Each training style has a position on a spectrum which ranges from aerobic (endurance) to anaerobic (power/strength). Trying to train both ends of the spectrum at the same time means that neither of those factors will be optimized. Making sure that each exercise, each rep scheme, each rest period and the weight chosen session has a logical purpose towards the acquisition of your goal won’t just mean better results, but it also means less time wasted. In our current day and age, everyone says they have no time – so that’s a huge bonus not just to your performance and physique goals, but to your entire lifestyle, also. This is particularly true for a lot of people who use cardio and group classes to get the kind of body recomposition results that can only be achieved from targeted resistance training

4. Volume
Remove the junk from your diet AND from your workouts.

Volume is the total amount of “work” you do in any given session and should be considered not just over the course of a workout, but over the course of a week or a training cycle. There is no use spending 2 hours in the gym doing fifty sets for each training session or running on a treadmill for an hour, if all you need is half that. Rather than doing the most possible training you have time for, you could be doing the least amount of training and volume necessary to get the results you want.

Avoid moving just to “burn calories” when you could be using your diet to do that for you. Moving more does not mean more results but creates an adaptive response where you lower your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) to compensate. Most women have been at a point in their lives where they’ve made errors of both #3 and #4 simultaneously, doing Zumba one day, Pump the next, then a run on Wednesday, followed by Bootcamp Thursday and then HIIT Friday. There is no rhyme or reason to this kind of training pattern, and I’ve never seen anyone make a fitness, strength or physique transformation by doing this. It’s the exercise equivalent of throwing things at the wall and hoping something sticks.

5. Stress Management
Emotional stress and over-training can impair hormonal health.

Stress is a form of depletion wherein the body is breaking down energy or substrates for survival, it is not a state of repair or growth. Whether the stress occurs via exercise (over training, under-recovery, under-nourishment and underfeeding), it is physiological (lack of adequate sleep, poor sleep quality) or it is psychological (anxiety, overwhelm and an inability to switch off) the impact upon the hormonal state of the body is the same, and all of these factors will add up.

You may not be training very hard, but if you’re sleeping poorly, eating poorly and are highly anxious – you’re likely to have compromised metabolic function.

Stress and anxiety impairs digestive function, heightens the release cortisol and other hormones which interfere with the repair of muscle tissue, the depth and quality of sleep and our appetite, as well as our ability to burn body fat and manage blood sugar. Anyone interested in optimizing their results needs to be aware of how they manage stress and the tools they use to alleviate excess physiological demand. Hormonal and health responses to stress are further compounded by eating a diet too low in calories and essential vitamins and minerals, and too high (or even too low) in carbohydrates.

Considering these five essential factors of your training can prevent you from putting in a lot of wasted effort and time, and potentially from an injury, burnout or simply a lack of results.

If you are making any of these mistakes, get in touch by filling out your details below.
I am confident that you could be getting a better outcome.

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