What is an effective workout routine?
An effective workout/training routine is one that abides by some simple principles, which we’re going to highlight in this article, but it is also important to understand the pre-requisites to a good training program first.
Things to be aware of before a workout routine/training plan
The first thing to remember is that all effective workout and training plans are goal-oriented. A training program can only be considered effective at something: if your plan is to gain muscle and lose fat, a workout and diet plan is measured by fat loss and muscle gained. This is the same for strength and athletic performance: have a goal in mind before trying to figure out how to achieve it, or you’re just wandering around in the dark.
Training plans need to be time-bound, like many other goals. It’s easy to lose track of progress and falter if you’re not working towards a time-bound goal. If you’re aiming to lose 30lbs, you need to say when that will be – otherwise, there is no urgency in your approach and there will always be a “tomorrow” or “next week”. Dedicate yourself to a goal to be achieved at a certain time, or success and failure don’t even make sense!
Workout plans are not only subject to questions of “will it work”, but also questions of opportunity cost such as “will it work more effectively than the alternatives?”. With this mentality, we have to pay serious attention to what makes a workout routine ‘work out’ for you, or anyone else. Maximum progress and success are dependent on being specific to the goals you’re trying to achieve and, whilst there are many effective workout routines and training plans, producing some results is not the same as producing optimum results.
Finally, it is important to be honest with yourself about your levels of physical fitness and abilities in the gym, on the track or on the field. Ego gets in the way of progress often, whereas humility is the best way to achieve the things that you wish you could do now. Things like training age (how long you’ve been performing a certain exercise, or exercise in general) are important, but so are physical characteristics like muscle mass, strength, body fat, heart health and so on. You need to be realistic and understand that the body doesn’t do anything fast – the best results come from a long-term change based on a realistic, but ambitious, appraisal of your current fitness!
Overload is the most important part of any training program, and it is simply the rule that you must always be working towards lifting greater weights, for more reps, or more powerfully. Simply put, training needs to aim at greater performance and always attempt some sort of improvement in capabilities. This doesn’t need to be every session, but pushing to new personal bests in some way needs to be a regular or semi-regular occurrence.
Specificity could best be described by the simple maxim: Do the thing you want to get better at, or damn-near it! Specificity is the training principle that says that you should work on movements and energy system training that is specific to your overall goal, for the best success. You wouldn’t train the 50m backstroke in preparation for a powerlifting competition, nor vice versa, because these exercise styles don’t compliment each other – there is no carryover between the two exercises.
Specificity is important, but performing the same movements for the same repetitions, at the same speed, you will always have the same strength, stamina, and speed that you have now. A focus on overload and specificity should be tempered by variation – changing exercise selection, whilst staying specific, reduces accommodation of a single type of training. This might mean changing exercises within sessions, or changing the reps and sets to target a different adaptation. We generally work from more general strengthening exercises at higher reps, to more specific, lower repetition movements.
How should I train as a beginner?: Resistance training
There are many ways to develop an effective training program – personal trainers are very hit and miss and a Strength and Conditioning coach tend to be a better bet for long-term improvements. There are many workout routines online for absolute beginners with some fantastic and awful examples, but these rely on “broscience” and a poor knowledge of strong science and coaching expertise.
The best approach to training for beginners is to follow a comprehensive full-body resistance training routine that aims at developing well-rounded strength and hypertrophy. These are fantastic ways that we can increase fat loss, metabolism, improve the physique, and keep joints and bones healthier to contribute to healthy aging.
How should I train as a beginner?: Endurance exercise
The best way to improve the physique, health, and athletic performance is to combine the aforementioned resistance training program with regular HIIT conditioning protocols. For many, this is not as structured of a concern because it is possible to increase cardio-respiratory fitness and health by simply moving more and faster. HIIT has a variety of fantastic variations, however, and we have 3 main recommendations for conditioning:
- Classical circuit training
Circuit training has a long and venerable history, with a lot of focus being placed on circuit training by conventional gym “classes”. However, circuit training is relatively easy to design for yourself and is a great way to condition after a resistance training session. Select 3-4 pieces that involve moving fast, against lighter weights, and perform 30 seconds of each with little to no rest for 8-20 minutes depending on the difficulty.
- Classical cardio HIIT
This means selecting at least one type of conditioning work (such as running, rowing, swimming, cycling and so forth) and performing a mixture of sprinting and a sustainable pace. If your goal is to lose weight, get healthier and look better, it makes a lot of sense to alternate between different types of endurance exercise to keep yourself interested and avoid accommodation.
Tabata is similar to regular circuit training but uses shorter, more intense HIIT circuits with a balance of 20s on and 10s off, for 8 rounds covering a total of 4 minutes. Intensity is the name of the game with Tabata and there are many templates available online, but this is similar to the circuit training in the sense that you can choose any variety of exercises to fill your 20 seconds, as long as they leave you gasping and exhausted!
Way to improve your workout
Nutrition plays a huge part in working out, you can workout all you want and not lose fat or gain muscle if your body isn’t getting the right nutrition. If you are putting in more calories than you are burning then you are wasting your time on trying to lose weight. The 30-Day Cleanse is a great tool to help you lose weight.
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