Another Key Element of Training - Have a Plan

In my last post I discussed the importance of consistency in regards to hitting the gym and seeing improvement.  We hit the gym for various reasons (goal setting is coming soon!), but the bottom line is that we do it in the hopes that we’re going to get better, stronger, healthier, more attractive, or a ton of other specific reasons.  So, if we hit the gym with consistency in an effort to get better, what are you going to do when you get there?

I’m a fairly busy guy.  I don’t have a ton of time to spend at the gym doing my own training, so I need to make my time there as efficient as possible.  If I come in and decide to just do whatever exercises I feel like on any given day, there’s a good chance I’m going to miss out on a lot of potential gains, and even worse I’ll spend twice as much time doing it!  And to be honest, many of us prefer to do the things we’re good at, and avoid the things that aren’t as much fun or that we’re not good at.  I love deadlifts, and while they’re quite possibly one of the best lifts out there in terms of benefit and improvement, if that’s all I do I’m missing out on a lot.

How do we make sure we’re avoiding any pitfalls in our training?  We need a plan.  We need to know what we’re going to do before we even get to the gym on any given day.  A good plan will make sure we are using our time wisely, it will detail what exercises we’re going to do, how many repetitions, how many sets, how much rest, and all kinds of other things that are important to whether or not our plan is going to get us to our goal.  Most of all, a good plan will be designed to have us doing what’s necessary and specific to our end game.  If you want to train to be a great runner, then doing 12 sets of bicep curls to failure is probably not going to get you there.  Think about what exercise(s) you are choosing, ask yourself if this will get you closer to your goal, and use it only if the answer is a resounding Yes!

There’s a lot that goes into writing a good program.  It’s a skill that not everyone possesses, and it’s a chore that a lot of trainers don’t like to do.  Myself, well I’m kind of a nerd about those things, and I like designing a plan around someone’s goals, their strengths, their areas of improvement, and their time commitment.  If you’re not feeling up to the task, consider finding an educated trainer or strength coach that can help you.

Coming up next, I’ve mentioned training for a specific goal multiple times now, we’ll talk about how to decide on a goal, some guidelines for goal-setting, and some things to keep in mind when looking at a training plan to get you there.