By: Benjamin Cole
Building an effective fitness program is no easy feat. Everyone's body is highly unique and is a special blend of height, weight, metabolism, and ability, with no one being the exact same. Pretty amazing when you consider there are nearly 8 billion of us! That said, in this piece I'm going to outline the next critical components of building an effective fitness program for you. Be sure to read the previous post first.
(Did I mention that you can come in for group fitness or hire a trainer @ Evolve Fitness Studios? ;)
I left off at picking your goals in the first part of this blog series. Here's a post from our Instagram that will set the stage for this portion that outlines well what I want to discuss:
It's not enough to have goals when building a program. Goals disconnected from a vision are nothing more than 'things to do'--and in the modern world we all have plenty to do nowadays. You want to leg press 8 plates. Why? Because you saw someone on social media do it, or because it's a part of a vision you hold of becoming an Olympic athlete or trophy-recognized bodybuilder? Have a definite vision.
If you look at any championship bodybuilder page you'll quickly see that they echo a similar tune: have a vision and break it down into steps. The post above goes a bit further in that visions are broader than dreams, with dreams below visions. The point here is if your goals aren't connected to a higher ideal, semantics of visions vs. dreams aside, you will quickly lose steam in pursuing their achievement.
As an example, let's say you are a father and want to play with your kids more who are very active and like hiking, but because of the sedentary nature of your work you just don't have the gas to do so. Playing with your kids for personal fulfillment is a dream; getting fit enough to do so is a goal. Do you see?
Define a vision or dream and your goals should become apparent. From there, break them down and go after it day by day. If the vision is sharp and grand enough, nothing will stop you from achieving it.
Make the program multi-modal.
Uh-oh, fancy word alert! Multi-modal = multiple modalities; more than one type of exercise. Many novice lifters or 'fitness folks' get hyper-focused on one aspect of their physique or fitness they want to achieve. At times that's necessary, especially if it's a part of your sport or stage-ready physique. But for the general population--that's most of us :)--we want to have a balanced program with different modalities.
If you only bench press or squat with a barbell, there's a high chance that you'll develop a muscular imbalance because we all favor a dominant side. So programming in dumbbell days during the week will help you keep a balanced physique, as dumbbells require the body to work in an unstable movement plane. You could go as far as to program exercises in the same workout that are barbell-dumbbell-bodyweight. The point is mix it up but don't get too crazy. The body likes structure--just enough.
Another component here is getting fixated on just hypertrophy or strength training, or just yoga and stretching. If we focus too much on one aspect of our body's abilities it often comes at the detriment of other abilities. Again, if that's what's necessitated by your sport or lifestyle, that's alright. But if you're like most of us, you're going to want to incorporate a mixture of strength training and stretching.
Arnold once talked about some bodybuilders becoming muscle-bound, in that they were too focused on building the muscles and working them (contraction/concentric) and not enough relaxing or stretching them (lengthen/eccentric). The balance of the different ways our bodies can move will help you feel more balanced in your life. Having a balance of weights, cardio, and yoga will create a resilient body and mind.
You are creating stress. Are you ready?
I stress this point--pun certainly intended--because it's so important. At this point in reading this series you have all the keys to building an effective fitness program. Now, it's up to you to follow through. By engaging in any fitness program you are intentionally putting stress on the body. You create this stress on the body because you are expecting it to adapt to that stress. This is what the body does regardless if you realize what stress you're putting it through; the human body is an adaptation machine.
You have to commit. You've figured out where a program will fit into your life; you're ready to up your daily energy input and output; you have a clear vision and have broken it down into steps. Just do it.
Or, you could simplify all this a great deal and join us at Evolve Fitness Studios for our weekly group fitness classes, or if you fancy, hire a personal trainer or PT to help you define a vision and goals :)
Ideally, this short series gave you all the components needed to know where you are and where you want to go and what you need to do to get 'there.' If you found this helpful or informative, please share it, as there is a plethora of misinformation surrounding the fitness industry and many people in need of quality content. If you think this is quality content, please do share and be sure to read next week's post.
About Benjamin Cole
Benjamin is a multimedia freelancer and health and wellness practitioner. He has been training the mind and body for nearly a decade and writes and speaks regularly about the benefits through various channels and pages. Through his work he hopes to inform people on how they connect to their inner guidance and higher self so that they may live more illuminated and inspired lives.
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