Know Your Program

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When you pick a training program you have to understand what that program is, and what that program isn’t.

Some programs can be manipulated to do nearly anything you want. Others are very much limited in that context.

For example, Wendlers 5/3/1 and Defrancos Westside for Skinny Bastards programs can be used for powerlifting, bodybuilding, or sport training. Other programs such as DC Training is meant specifically for bodybuilding.  Conversely Crossfit is so sporadic (at least the daily HQ WODs) that they don’t really have much of a purpose.

Now this post isn’t meant to knock any particular training program.  I am currently using Wendlers 5/3/1 and I have used Defrancos WS4SB as well as DC training.  This post is meant for you to step back and really take a hard look at your current program to see if it really is doing what you want it to do.

The problem could be that you aren’t using the right type of exercises, you could be doing to much volume, to little volume, to much intensity or to little intensity.  Your focus might be to much on cardio versus strength training for losing weight or you may be to focused on lifting and not enough on recovering.  There are a multitude of issues that could be holding you back.

Here’s three simple tips to keep you on track:

Have Specific Goals: “Getting in shape” or “weight loss” isn’t a goal.  It’s an idea.  Make them specific.  Set the goal to lose 30 pounds, gain 20 pounds on a particular lift or 100 pounds on your total, or set a goal of a specific bodyfat percentage at a specific body weight.

Have Markers: No matter what your goal is, you have to have markers or milestones that let you know you are actually on the right track.  For weight loss it could be progress pictures.  For strength building you might use specific exercises.  For mass building it may be your dry bodyweight, monthly measurements, and bodyfat measurements.

Keep a Log Book:  You have to know exactly what you’ve been doing before you can effectively make changes.  This may be a food log or a lifting log or both.  If you are not making the progress you want you may need to adjust your training and nutrition which you can’t do unless accurately you know what you’re doing and eating.


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