As the gym fills up with New Years’ Resolution-ers, I wonder to myself, what are they training for? Most people throw out terms like “get in shape” or “lose weight”. But, what does that really mean? These intangible, vague goals can cause frustration before we even start. Let’s talk about how to set goals and how to structure a workout program to help achieve those goals.
Work toward something tangible
Instead of trying to lose weight, how about striving for specific proportions or a desired level of body fat? Another option is to choose something to train for. This can be anything from running a 5K to being able to do pull-ups to squatting a certain weight. Often, goals of losing weight are easily attained when the emphasis is placed on training, rather than focusing on self-judgment.
Create a main goal and a series of mini-goals to help you achieve your main goal
Think of an objective goal you really want to achieve and don’t be afraid to make it a challenge! The best goals require a stretch! Write down your main goal, or top 3 goals, and then break them into mini-goals. Make sure your goals are aligned with your lifestyle and your other goals. For example, it’s very hard to gain lean mass and train for a marathon at the same time. Choose one goal to pursue at a time.
Construct your training plan based on your goals
This helps to eliminate the question of “cardio or weights first?” If you want to gain strength, or are training for a lift, your training sessions should be centered around building strength. Conditioning and cardio can come after or can be done on your lighter lifting days. Consider the number of days that you can realistically devote to training, and divide your workouts accordingly. If you can train 4 days a week, perhaps you’ll do two upper body days and two leg days. Again, think about your goals! If you want to improve your squat, you might train movements and auxiliary twice a week and squat heavy twice per week.
If your goal is to get leaner, you might consider programming more compound movements. Supersets and circuits are great for leaning down while maintaining muscle. As an added bonus, it’s a time-saver! I tend to change my workouts and splits every few weeks. Experiment with different rep ranges, decreasing recovery between sets, increasing the amount of weight lifted, or even decreasing the order of your lifts. This can help break through any plateaus.
BetaTOR can be helpful for improving recovery between training sessions. I’ve found I’m able to train at a higher volume, which means faster results!
Thank you for reading! Until next time, train hard, y’all!