How To Build Your Own Fitness Program
A personal trainer is an awesome thing to have but not everyone wants to invest in one. Here are some tips so you can build your own effective fitness program.
Mix it up!
If you do the same workout over and over again your body will adapt to it and you won’t see any progress after a while. You need to change up your exercises and your rep range about once every 4-6 weeks.
Changing your rep range is super important and it’s something that a lot of people neglect to do. Each rep range has a specific outcome:
- 15 or more reps is used to develop endurance. This is also a great place for someone brand new to weight training to start.
- 8-12 reps is used to increase muscle size.
- 4-6 reps is used to develop strength. NOTE: do not attempt this if don’t already have a good base of strength built up.
- 1-3 reps is used to develop maximal strength. NOTE: if you are new to weight training DO NOT do maximal strength training until you’ve built a good base of strength and you’ve consulted with a qualified trainer.
Changing your exercises is important. You can easily search different exercises for the same muscle group on YouTube for ideas.
If you are brand new to weight training go to your local gym or rec centre and set up a free consultation with a trainer – most gyms/rec centres offer this. When done correctly weight training will get you great results but if done incorrectly you can really injure yourself.
Make sure you’re working all you muscle groups equally. A lot of people focus on what I call the ‘mirror muscles’. These are the muscles you see in the mirror such as chest, quads, shoulders and biceps. If you ignore the opposing muscle groups you’ll develop a muscle imbalance with can lead to bad posture and eventually injury.
A good rule of thumb is when you work one muscle group do the same amount of work on the opposing muscle group. Follow a bench press with a seated row; follow bicep curls with tricep extensions; follow leg extensions with a seated hamstring curl.
Order matters! Do tougher exercises first.
When coming up with your program be sure to do the exercises that require more muscle groups and more strength first.
For instance, do your heavy squats and deadlifts at the beginning of your workout. Next move onto exercises that target two or more muscle groups such as bench press and rows. Finally do your exercises that hit just one muscle group such as hamstring curls, leg extensions, bicep curls, tricep extensions, flies, and lateral raises.
Move in all directions!
Most of what we do in the gym (and life) is done in the sagittal plane (forward and back). Think bench press, squats, lunges, bicep curls, sit-ups, treadmill, bike.
There are two other planes that cannot be ignored:
- Frontal plane which moves side to side. Think lateral lunges, lateral raises, speed skaters.
- Transverse plane which contains rotational movements. Think Russian twist, wood chops, T-pushups.
Ready To Get Started?
Follow these tips for a great, well rounded fitness program. If you’re still unsure of where to start invest in one training session with a qualified trainer to help get you started or do a Google search for workout programs. Just be careful with your Google search. Just because you found it on the internet doesn’t necessarily mean it’s correct 😉