What’s in your fitness program?

Posted on 18. May, 2009 by in Fitness, Muscle Building


Too many times people have asked me to critique their fitness program only to have me rip it apart from top to bottom. I don’t like to be negative, but as a professional, I have to be honest when I see things that are missing or things that should not be there.

When programming your training regiment, you must make sure you are covering the important things, keeping the crap out and figuring out how to balance it all. If not, you are not going to make gains the way you should, and you will probably get injured.

Strength Training

This sounds basic, but many people do not have a strength training component in their program at all. Some programs consist of stretching, basic movements, yoga, or something similar, but no progressive resistance training. I have written about the importance of strength many times before, but to reiterate, you need to get stronger. I don’t care who you are, how old you are, what you are into, or what your goals are, being strong is necessary on so many levels.

Core Training

No I am not going to mention crunches or work on the Bosu ball. I am talking about doing things that strengthen the core muscles in the right way. Performing 1000s of crunches on a stability ball is not necessarily working the core in the right way. See my prior article on the Men’s Fitness Core training. It will answer your questions about effective core training.

Cardiovascular Component – Now, don’t jump to conclusions here. This does not mean you have to run, or ride the bike for an hour each day. If you read my article on HIIT, you know that there are other ways to get the heart healthy. However, some people like to run and like to ride the bike, and that is OK and good too. Whatever your method, make sure you have some kind of cardiovascular component to your training. It can even be hidden in your weight training routine if done correctly.

Mobility and Flexibility – Even though joint mobility and muscular flexibility are not the same, I include them at the same time, because many people can put them in the same routine and work on them together. Just for clarification, mobility is the range of motion around a given joint. All of the muscles are involved in this motion and some muscles need to be turned on to pull, and some need to be relaxed to allow the pulling. Activation and relaxation help to develop proper mobility. Flexibility is the range of motion that a specific muscle or muscle tendon has. It’s applicable to one muscle.

Nutritional Counseling ­– If you aren’t putting the right stuff in your mouth, you are not going to get where you want to go. If you are putting the wrong stuff in your mouth, you are not going to get where you want to go. Bottom line is that you need to know what, how and when to eat. Any program or plan is incomplete without the basics of nutrition.

Recovery Plan Part of your plan must include a recovery plan. Sounds redundant, but it actually needs to be scheduled into your routine. Whether that is taking a week or a few days off, or if it is toning down the program, recovery time is a must for programs or plans.

Corrective Exercise ­– When things are broken they need to be fixed. I feel that this aspect is one of the most neglected of all of the components in plans. You can’t and wont get very far unless things in your physical body is balanced, and in correct form both while working out and doing daily aspects of life. The two areas that jump out and need to be focused on the most are the hips and shoulder girdle.

Pre-workout Evaluation – In reference to getting corrective exercise in your program, you need to find out what you need to work on first. Where are your weaknesses, strengths…where are you tight, and where are you too loose? You need to know what needs work. Don’t start a program with guess work. This is why generic programs don’t work. Cookie cutter programs are worthless in the long run.

The next time you want to start a program or someone makes you a workout plan, make sure the plan has the above components included. If it doesn’t, question the person that made the plan about them. If he/she doesn’t know about them or worse, doesn’t think any of the above are important, dump that guy/girl and find someone with a clue!!

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