Over the years I’ve changed my gym routine many times.
I’ve had success with all kinds of programs.
There have also been times where I made progress without a program.
Is a training program ESSENTIAL?
Guess my answer….
You could go your entire life training without a program and if you consistently showed up, worked hard and challenged your body more over time, you would have results.
There’s no denying that you can train hard and find all the benefits of hard physical training (muscle mass, less fat, strength, stamina, more resilient etc. without a structured plan.
But there’s also a case to be made for following a program at least once in your training career.
Benefits of a training routine
- Structure- keeps you on track and focused
- Numbers- each workout has a clear goal and intention
- Progression- make sure you are doing more work to challenge yourself over time
- Experience- programs have been tried out by others, hopefully with some success which usually means it can work for you
Of course, not all training programs are created equal. What works for a guy at age 18 probably won’t work for a guy at age 45.
A superstar athlete program is created for him specifically. For you or me to try and get the same results from his plan would be a waste of time and energy.
How do you know if a training program is a good fit for you?
Do a little research, see if other people who are similar to you have had success with it. Go with your gut instinct.
Does it FEEL right? Do you believe in it?
Go for it.
If you are going to use a program you buy or download online, you may have to tweak some of it.
Only problem is when you have limited training experience on your own and don’t know what your body responds to.
That’s one of the reasons I have learned so much about programming is I’ve tried so many and I’ve created my own, as well.
When you’re still new to training or have never written your own program, having a template is a great idea.
Sure, you may have to change an element or two but you keep the essentials in place.
Right now, my training is intuitive.
Take today for an example.
I had no set plan for my workout.
Part of me was thinking I could do some work on the jacob’s ladder or do a long bike-ride.
Another idea was to work some smaller muscle groups like calves and arms.
When I got into the gym, it came to me.
Loaded carries to start.
From there I started dragging the sled.
After that I started a bodyweight circuit of step-ups, pushups, and chin-ups.
Since my training is not about any specific numbers right now on the barbell lifts, I am free to train how I feel each day.
I’ll tell you this, it’s a lot of fun to be able to train in a FREE manner like this.
How many weeks/months will I follow this style?
Who knows! And who cares?!
Training for me is a lifelong pursuit.
I don’t always have to be chasing numbers. I did that for years.
There’s nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, I recommend people try it for at least a year or two, as there are TONS of benefits to pushing yourself to achieve new personal records.
At this point in my life, I need the freedom to go as I see fit each day.
I work hard at whatever I decide to do and try to improve each day.
It’s not always so clear to see improvement compared to having specific numbers you want to lift, but there’s other positives.
When you have specific goals, your training becomes clear and focused. That’s a good thing.
If your goals aren’t gym-related, you have other ways to challenge yourself.
After two decades lifting weights, taking notes, and creating my own workouts, I have a good sense of when to switch things up.
Train hard no matter what your goal is, even if it’s “just” strength for life. That goal is just as important as any other.
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