Firstly it is important to say that there are many great gym programs available, written by great coaches with amazing experience and insight…. Secondly it is important say that there are many not-so-great gym programs available, written by well intentioned people with little to no experience or qualifications.
So how do you know what is right for you? If your friend is following a Gwyneth Paltrow (insert relevant celebrity or current fad here) regime and it is working for her, is it right for you?
The answer lies within yourself and with lots of research and further information. Be honest with yourself about your goals and your requirements
How much time do you have on a weekly basis to dedicate to a program?
Are you new to lifting or exercise/returning from a long hiatus or from injury?
What are your goals and how long will it take to achieve them?
What equipment do you have access to? Financially what will a new program cost and can you afford it?
The questions can go on but you get the picture.
Information on strength and conditioning sites available on the internet can be incredibly useful, not all are designed for “meat heads”, gym junkies or fanatics. Read and research lots of them, some will resonate and some will not. Listen to the coaches, hear where they are writing from and make an educated choice on which direction you would like to take your training.
If it is all to much then speak to a professional. An experienced personal trainer will be able to, based on your goals and expectations, guide you through the myriad of fad and science. They should listen to you and the program should be about you, your wants and limitations. Use their expertise and experience on a regular basis or have them design you a program and check back sporadically – the design should meet what you need and lead you to achieve your desired results.
A personal online choice of mine is Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 (click here for more info on Jim Wendler). For me it resonates, it has the right training philosophy than any good program should be based on:
Multi Joint Lifts
Break PERSONAL records (It doesn’t matter what Mr. Jones is doing, you are responsible for and to you and you only)
Simplicity (If you are ON then it’s time to ramp it up – get through the workout and then add simple accessory exercises. If the day is hard then just tick the boxes of the workout)
Whatever program you choose be sure to let it run the course, and work hard. Goals are earned with hard work, they are not given to you because you choose them.
Written by Alex Hose
Alex is a Senior Personal Trainer & Rehabilitation Specialist at Joint Dynamics Ltd. He holds a Fellowship of Functional Science from the Gray Institute, USA and has over 10 years of personal training experience. He uses experience, knowledge and passion to help his clients get the most out of their training programs & rehabilitation.