22 Dec 5 Keys to Take Control of Your Training
I get a lot of questions about training programs.
I know it’s hard, not only find the right program, but to stick it out and finish it through to completion.
In this article, I wanted to answer some common questions about programming to simplify the process for better results.
I’ve been talking about the importance of specific programs for some time now.
Because if we want results, we’ve got to have a plan, a blueprint, a roadmap to get us where we want to go.
Otherwise, we’re flying blind.
Believe me, this was a big mistake I made for many years in my own training.
That big mistake was training “randomly” all the time.
There’s nothing wrong with that sometimes, but we won’t get the results we’re looking for if we train like that all the time.
That’s a sure-fire way to “the status quo.”
Anyway, let me get into the 5 key concepts here to better understand how to take control of our programming.
By the way, these are all questions I’ve had from readers.
1-THERE’S SO MANY PROGRAMS TO CHOOSE FROM AND I GET OVERWHELMED. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
There are a lot of programs out there. There’s a ton to choose from.
The first step thing we need to do is determine what it is we really want.
And, I mean specifically, what is the number one thing we’re looking to achieve.
I know we all want to look better, feel better, and perform better.
We all want fat loss, muscle gain, more strength, more conditioning, or maybe just to feel better about ourselves.
But, what’s the number one thing?
For me, it’s strength. That’s the thing I’m focused on more than anything else.
This doesn’t mean I’m ignoring other things, it means I’m focused on strength and I know that will give me more of the other things I’d like to achieve.
Once you know what you’re training for, then you can narrow down the search for the program, I’ll discuss this more below.
Again, you must have a primary training goal, I cannot emphasize this enough.
Remember, IF YOU CHASE TWO RABBITS, YOU WILL NOT CATCH EITHER ONE (Russian Proverb).
Identify and focus.
2-WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE TO FIND THE RIGHT PROGRAM FOR ME?
We’ve covered the first step, to identify your primary training goal.
Once you do that, next you need to analyze your skill set with your preferred training tools.
In other words, as you look at programs, you have to know where you are in your training.
For example, a person who just recently started training with kettlebells and is looking for a program for specifically for muscle building isn’t ready for programs like Kettlebell Muscle or The Shock and Awe Protocol.
And, a person fairly new to barbell lifting isn’t ready for the Westside Barbell Training Methods.
The point is to keep things simple and be honest with where you are.
And, for programming, I mean really simple.
On the podcast, I’ve recently spoke about how many of the top coaches even admit that their athletes have had their greatest gains with simple programming.
There’s no need to make things complicated or get fancy with programs.
But, the most important thing is this.
Find ONE program and stick to it until it’s done.
If you know your primary goal and your honest about where you are, finding the right program will be a lot easier.
That leads me to the critical next point.
3-I FIND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO STICK WITH A PROGRAM, WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND?
Well, there’s really no secret or magical answer to this.
When you find a program to address the goal you want, before you begin you have to get the right mindset.
And, what I mean is that you must challenge yourself that you will complete the program, no matter what.
If you hit a plateau in the program, you stay the course.
Breaking through the plateaus is what makes people great.
There will be a time and a place to re-adjust along the journey towards you’re goals.
There may be some course correction, but that doesn’t mean bailing out from a program.
Now, what I have found to be extremely effective is to do “short” programs.
Short programs are 4 to 6 weeks in duration and there are many reasons I like this time frame for programming.
One of them is because if I like the program and am benefiting from it, I may repeat the program after a week of de-loading.
Recovery is another key.
For me, it’s 4-6 weeks of hard training on a program, then a week to scale back and either repeat the program or go in a different direction.
So, sometimes the 4-6 week blocks turn out to be much longer and there are programs that are designed to be longer, as well (such as 10-12 weeks).
I’ve found that a solution to sticking with a program is doing short duration programs, that way it’s more manageable and it leaves options to continue with longer duration programs.
I know we all have A.D.D. to an extent and we get distracted with “shiny new toys,” but we really need to stay the course once beginning a program.
If we truly want results, then this is the price we have to pay.
4-CAN I MODIFY A PROGRAM IF I’M NOT READY FOR IT?
The answer to this question is “it depends.”
That’s really the safe answer to a lot of questions, but it’s the truth.
It depends on the program.
This question has come up with The Shock and Awe Protocol many times.
In that program, I mention it can be modified, but the result will be different.
You can almost always modify programs, to an extent, but you have to remember that things will change as the program is modified from it’s design.
A program is designed for a specific outcome, so if we modify things, then we shouldn’t expect the stated outcome of that program.
I think this is a great question because I know we may be tempted to modify things, however, if we want what the program promises, it’s important we stick to the plan as it’s outlined.
After all, it’s the design of the program that makes it a successful program.
5-WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO BUILD MY OWN TRAINING PROGRAMS?
The time to start designing your own programs is when you understand the principles of training.
The best way to understand the principles of great training is to study and implement well designed training programs.
It’s really that simple, but simple isn’t easy as we know.
We shouldn’t expect to design our own programs if we haven’t completed a lot of programs, you know what I’m saying?
On the other hand, if we’ve been training for a long time and we’re experienced with the principles of programming (ex. manipulating training variables such as intensity, volume, and density), then we should be better equipped to design our own programs.
To design programs, we need to know how to effectively progress without killing ourselves.
We need to be smart. We need to be safe.
In other words, we need train at intensities that are progressing us along, but not pushing too hard where we get injured or overreach (the early stages of overtraining).
The really simple answer to this question is we are ready to design our own programs when we’ve had enough experience with effective programming and we understand basic program principles.
And, of course, we have to be clear on our goals and all the other things I’ve already mentioned here.
There will be those who want to design their own programs and there will be others will be more than happy to simply follow many great programs that have already been created.
There are plenty of outstanding programs templates to follow, that’s a given.
But, if we to design our own, we need to make sure we’ve had the experience to do so.
An honest self assessment will do the trick.
When we’re confident and when we feel the need to design our own programs, that’s the right time.
No matter what path we choose, the important thing is to “do the thing” (meaning do a program).
I definitely hope you got value from this information and it’s helped you in effective program planning.
If you’re committed to results, then program planning is essential.
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