Sometimes I get called upon to write fitness programs for clients I've never met in person, or advise on current training programs to make improvements. Occasionally I may enter a training facility to do this.
It never ceases to amaze me that when I delve into the training schedule of an individual..... there is often NO actual plan in place.
This is the major reason why many struggle to reach their desired fitness goals. The message is clear. You need a plan. When you are working from structured exercise then it is easier to visualise the pathway ahead to improvement..... and track your habits.
This is another important point to note. So many people who are "training" regularly do not track their workouts. They have no record of the exercises they did in the previous weeks and months.
They are essentially just turning up to a training facility to do some exercises without any thought to the last session, the outcome for this session nor any idea about progression.
Having a structured habit in place allows for "guilt free" rests because your workouts are scheduled..... and having a real plan factors in those rest days meaning overtraining is taken out of the equation.
Progression is so important because that is the road to improvement..... whether general fitness based or exercising for health conditions whatever the location may be. Indoors or outdoors, with or without equipment.
Lack of an exercise plan also comes by way of overtraining too. Those who are already exercising. Overtraining isn't just about the exhaustion aspect which can happen..... but going through unnecessary workouts that are not providing any benefit at all in relation to the "goal" in mind.
For example. This is a real example I encountered recently.....
An individual wants to increase their muscular size. They are undoubtedly putting the time in at the gym almost everyday and dedicated to a routine long term. But.....
.....there is no allocation for rest in-between sessions from lifting heavy weights. This is generally provided by a day off in between to allow muscles to rest and recover basically speaking (I'm not delving into more advanced training formats in this article). Muscular improvements are made through rest. The workout is just the catalyst.
This is simply a lack of basic education. More time in a gym doesn't necessarily mean more progress. 👈
Then there is the common issue of exactly what exercises are being done in session and why? Are you training efficiently or drifting from one exercise to the next with whatever you feel like at the time?
The more I look at training schedules that many people are following there are commonly gross errors by way of poor technique, the wrong exercises and no order of exercises. There is also no awareness of what a workout should feel like or even a warm up for that matter.
Another example..... I was recently chatting to a gym goer about their warm up. What does it involve? "Thirty minutes on a treadmill" was the response. There is nothing wrong with that however, but there can be if the activity involved bears no real relation to reaching the goal or is a less than optimal way to reach a fitness aim.
So..... I suggested AND we did 2000 metres of the maximum resistance level on a rower. This took around ten minutes. Sweat was broken and this was ranked as a very hard activity by that person. They simply have never worked at that intensity before.
That meant we could move onto the main part of the workout.
This was the first step to making their training programme more efficient. On top of this..... logically..... walking to the gym as oppose to driving could also have provided the walking element too..... making the most of time!
To recap. Ultimately a plan is essential for training progressively towards a goal. Tracking what you do is also important..... and that can be done very effectively the old school way. Pen and paper. This way a record is evident of exactly what previous sessions entailed.
What worked for you what didn't? Do I feel ready to progress yet? Have we regressed anything? If so, why? A useful note to bear in mind is that writing down how you feel on that workout day, during and after sessions can be beneficial.
This is a useful record of your own mindset and thought processes during your fitness journey to reach your goals. Need help and guidance on your training?