August 9, 2010

Why You Can't Just Do Any Program You Find

Because of the seemingly endless supply of training programs that can be found online, or in books by credible authors or coaches, or even health and fitness magazines that can be bought from the local super market, it can be rather difficult in deciding which one is best for you. If you’re relatively new to fitness, or have some experience weight training, how do you go about choosing who to follow, or what to believe?

Do you think, “I want to look like that, so I’m going to do whatever that person does/suggests”? Or do you dig up as much information as you can from what you believe to be credible resources, or research and let science dictate what it is you do?

Choosing the right program can be difficult considering there are so many variables to take into consideration. This can become overwhelming, and generally what happens when too many options are presented is nothing at all, because it’s a lot easier to walk away and stay within your comfort zone, than it is to proceed into the unknown.

And what is the right program anyway? Fortunately, developing a routine isn’t rocket science, but rather the result of one’s personal artistry, and as long as it remains within a set of recommended parameters which are influenced by certain principles, than you’re in the clear.

The question then becomes what are the principles that shape said parameters? Well, that’s where a strength coach comes into the equation, as a good coach should already know the principles to which all loading parameters are adjusted to your individual needs.

A big mistake that many people make is to take a routine that some bodybuilder does which they found online, or in a magazine, and try to emulate it and expect to get the same results that the bodybuilder in question has attained. Aside from the obvious pharmaceutical advantage, what a lot of people don’t realize is that physical attributes like ones current level of strength, conditioning/endurance, and workout history, all influence not whether or not you get through a training program, but that you thrive on one.

This is where a good coach comes in, and can help teach you how to do what’s called ‘auto-regulate’, or monitor ‘biofeedback’. Training is something that needs to be ‘experienced’ by you, and can only be experienced by you, and while there are parameters to which variables such as load, sets, reps, and rest, that one should adhere to, it doesn’t mean that doing so guarantees the most adaptive response for you.

Your experience, and performance, should determine how much weight you use, how many reps you do, for how many sets, and how much rest is needed. If a program calls for 60 seconds of rest, but you’re gassed and not nearly in the shape needed to be ready to repeat efforts after said amount of time, than there’s no possible way you’re going to thrive on that specific program, at least not until you build up your work capacity.

Where the focus ought to be, if you’re a beginner or even intermediate weight trainee, is building a foundation of muscle, strength, and conditioning, in as balanced a manner as possible, while paying attention to how your body reacts to the experience so you can learn to auto-regulate and monitor biofeedback. When those attributes have been developed to an optimal level the focus can become performing various types of specialization programs or whatnot, because after those attributes have been developed, and the ability to auto-regulate, or monitor biofeedback, is enhanced, can you tell if something is right for you, or not. Until then, doing so may ultimately end up leaving you feeling as if you are inferior, and you most likely will not want to devote any more of your time towards .a goal that once was of high importance.

If you don't know how to work out properly, or have the slightest clue as to where your focus needs to be, it is in your best interest to find somebody that knows how to do that and either ask them for help, or hire someone better suited for the job. If you are located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and are interested in working with me, feel free to contact me at I'm available to work with one on one, and even offer online personalized program design, in which I will write up a personalized plan for you to follow while offering guidance along the way based on feedback I receive from you. If you want an online personalized program, I will also do my best to answer all your questions that you may have, via email, while following the program.

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