Half the battle of finding the perfect workout plan is exercise selection and making sure it contains adequate sets and reps. However, the other half of the battle (and more important, in my opinion) is making sure your workout plan fits nicely into your lifestyle. The nature of your workout should be cohesive in helping you reach your current goals. If you are starting to have doubts about your current workout plan, here are five questions to ask yourself to determine if it is time for something new!
“What IS my goal and why do I want to accomplish IT? Is my workout plan helping me get there?”
If you can define your goal, the necessary steps to get there become a lot clearer. Is your goal to lose weight? If so, how much? When would you like to do this by? And ultimately, WHY do you want to lose weight? What will this do for your life? Be as honest with yourself as possible, because the clearer your WHY, the easier the HOW becomes when getting started and in times of adversity. Basically, ALWAYS KEEP THE BIGGER PICTURE IN MIND.
Next, are you seeing progress or improvement towards your goal? If you have been doing the same routine for months without any results, it may be time to add some variation to your workout plan. For example, instead of continuing to do bench press with a barbell, try switching to dumbbells. It is still a pressing movement, but the dumbbells will add a stabilization component that will provide your muscles with a different stimulus. Our bodies are quick to adapt to new stimuli; thus, making changes every 4-6 weeks will help with breaking through those plateaus.
“Am I in love with my workout plan? Does it excite me and keep me interested?“
If so, great! There is nothing more effective than a workout plan that you get excited about and are confident in carrying out. If this does not describe your workout plan, think about the activities that you do love to do. Is it walking, lifting weights, or yoga? Initially, start with an activity you enjoy doing to promote exercise consistency and engagement, especially if you are new to fitness. Remember, no matter how “perfect” a workout plan seems, if you don’t want to do it, how perfect is it really? (Answer: not perfect at all.)
Also, think about the environment that you feel would promote the best success. Are you confident working out alone? Do you need the guidance of a personal trainer? Or would you feel best in a small group personal training environment? Refining all of these factors to match your preferences can provide benefits and results. Ultimately, it is just about what works for you.
“Can I recover from my workouts in a timely manner?”
Are you finding that it is taking you too long to recover from your workouts? A fundamental question to ask is, does your workout plan even allow time between training days to rest and recover? Too much of a good thing isn’t always good. If you are feeling run down, sore for multiple days after your workout, are experiencing changes in mood, or are having trouble sleeping, this could be a sign that you are overtraining, under-recovered, or that the exercises within your workout plan aren’t the right ones for your body right now.
People often think that they need to work out more days per week to get to their goals faster. This myth is misleading; just 2 to 4 days a week should be sufficient to achieve significant change. When you are ready to advance your workouts and make progressions, try increasing the intensity or the load resistance before increasing the volume. Also, allow days within your workout plan for active recovery and time spent relaxing.
“Is your workout plan bringing joy to your life or is it becoming a stressor?”
If your workout plan is becoming overwhelming with too many variables, it might be time to simplify. In other words, your workout plan doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. Try implementing more compound movements into your routine. These are movements that involve multiple joints, work larger muscle groups, and burn more calories, thus getting more bang for your buck. Examples of compound movements include bench press, squats, pull ups, and deadlifts.
When it comes to stress, there is a fine line between good stress and bad stress. Good stress promotes adaptation and positive changes. For example, muscles need to experience some sort of stress or load in order for them to grow.” Bad stress promotes a spike in cortisol levels. If the stress is continuous in nature, then this consistent elevation of cortisol levels will make it extremely frustrating to lose weight and/or gain muscle. Exercise is supposed to promote good vibes and energy. However, if you don’t find that to be true for you, it is time to reevaluate some things and your workout plan.
“Would you benefit from having an individualized workout plan made for you so that you wouldn’t have to think about what to do at the gym?”
If so, you are in luck! Get in touch with one of our personal trainers in order to figure out what kind of individualized workout plan is right for your body, your lifestyle, and your goals! Everyone’s body and lifestyles are unique – let us take you through our Performance Assessment to help identify any lifestyle or movement restrictions that may be hindering your progress. After gathering the necessary data and insight, we will then design a custom workout plan that works with you instead of against you.
No more guessing. No more trial and error. Let us remove the stress of having to THINK in the gym so that you can get back to living your best life!