Long before I was fitness professional, I’d follow training programs from glossy men’s magazines because I thought
- They knew what they were doing.
- I was hoping it would transform me from a geek to a freak.
And like Dr. Phil used to say, ‘How’s that working out for you?’
It didn’t, Dr. Phil, it didn’t.
What I didn’t consider is what works for the guys on the covers doesn’t necessarily work for you or me because we all have different starting points, different genetics and different reactions to exercise.
The people on the front covers are probably in great shape to start with and most likely didn’t do the program they’re advertising.
They just rocked up to the photo shoot looking awesome.
However, having a training program ripped out of a magazine is better than having no plan at all because going to the gym without a clue is not the best idea and can lead to some unusual behavior
Nonetheless, you’re better than that. You don’t need to blindly follow the masses. All you need to do is read this, put your thinking cap on for a minute or two and then you’ll be writing programs that will get you great results without the need for google or me. ☹
Note- Writing programs is a mixture between science, guesswork and good judgement. This article will be keep it as simple as possible so you will not get lost in the details and can concentrate on getting great results.
Please consult your doctor if you’re starting exercise after a long break or have any health or orthopedic problems.
Before you get into the nitty gritty of program writing, it’s time for you to answer a few questions honestly.
1. What is your goal?
You’ll start by sticking to one goal. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen people make is chasing too many goals simultaneously. You’re more likely to have more success if you stick to one goal, so decide if your goal is
- Fat loss
- Muscle gain
- Getting back into shape
So, take a moment to decide this before you read on. This has a huge bearing on the program you will write for yourself.
2. How many days a week can you exercise?
For best results, you need to set aside 2-3 days a week for exercise. Exercising 3 days a week gives you a little more leeway than training 2 days a week.
3. How much time can you dedicate to each training session?
You have a busy schedule like a lot of other people. You need to look at your week and decide of much time in your day you can dedicate to the gym because this is going to dictate the length and the intensity of your program.
4. How advanced are you?
You don’t want to pick exercises that are too hard or too easy for you because the point of going to the gym is to get better, not to stay the same or get worse.
If you’re unsure on how advanced you are, err on the side of conservatism and go with a regression of the exercises below before moving on to a more advanced version.
Answering the above questions honestly will help you stick with your exercise program and allow you to get the results you deserve. Now, let’s move on to the exercises you will be using in your programming.
A coach called Dan John has broken down exercise into 6 fundamental human movements which are
Although there are many other exercise movements, these are a great place for you to start on your programming journey. Click on each link to familiarize yourself with the regressions and progressions for each exercise.
You have a little ‘homework’ to do before Part Two, which will come out next week. Take a pen and paper and write your answers down and become familiar with the exercises above. This will make your program writing experience a successful one. Stay tuned.