“The best teachers are the ones that tell you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.” — Alexandra K. Trenfor
So you want to make a change. Change your diet, change your body, change…well, you. You found your decision and you’re ready to find your time…but now you need to find your program.
In this article, I’m going to briefly go over specific types of fitness programs on how they affect your body and how it can help you achieve your goal. Spoiler alert, nearly every goal can be achieved through one specific type of training. More on that as we go further.
Programming is crucial. Why? With proper programming, you do complementary movements instead of opposing movements. Say for example Push-Pull program that packs a pushing and pulling movement into one workout. By doing one of each you cover more ground and don’t exhaust either movement so your form won’t degrade leading to either injury or over training. Moreover, by using proper programming you also make it easier to track your progress. That’s what we’re here for, after all, progress. If you did whatever you felt like, you would eventually lose track of how much or how heavy. So, what’s the right program?
For some time I did primarily in endurance training. Running specifically. I spent the better part of a year doing nothing but mastering my running form. The infamous forward lean, run with your butt, perfect cadence form. With the advice of some seasoned runners, my Hal Higdon progression program, and my Strava, I wouldn’t have known if I was getting better. The same goes for resistance training.
I’m not going to split hairs here, I’m just going to give you my opinion, you can run with it as you see fit. What I do know from experience, what fitness professionals will mostly tell you, if you are NEW to weight training, DO NOT DO A BRO SPLIT.
What is a bro split? It’s training one body part one time a week, usually adding up to six days of training. This method was made popular by Professional Bodybuilders who were juiced up on steroids and truly only needed to do just that. For the average, none genetically gifted such as myself, a Full Body 3 day per week program will do wonders. If you stay faithful and align your diet, 1 hour a day, 3 days a week will blow…your…mind. Resistance training combined with a clean diet shows most potential for long term success as well as plethora of health benefits:
• Increased bone density
• Better blood sugar regulation
• Better digestion
• Better fat metabolism
• Lower cholesterol
• Balanced hormones
• Better or repaired cognitive function
I’ve done them all: hypertrophy, PPL, PHUL, GVT, Strong Lifts, Madcow, even Sheiko (that was crazy) and the one thing that made the difference for me was hitting Compound Movements, Heavy with minimal accessory work. If I had to start someone off anywhere, I would say either Strong Lifts 5×5 or Starting Strength as it will lay a firm foundation, ignite your metabolism and replace fat with lean muscle. Once you go from rookie to novice to advanced novice to advanced novice you can get increasingly more complex splits as your body’s adaptation has begun to make it harder and harder to make gains. The same goes for running or cycling. You’ll want to start with shorter distances, focusing on form and cadence before you worry about logging long miles. Time laying groundwork will make the building way more stable. Regardless of your preferences, be aware, you want to focus on learning movements before worrying about progression. Just doing the work will add muscle and burn calories.
How to boost your metabolism along with the training? Let’s talk about food! Paleo, vegan, keto, vegetarian, carnivore. Which should you do to better assist you on your way? The studies are clear, everything listed had both positive and negative effects on your body.
For example; if you are on a standard American diet and suddenly went vegan, you would feel amazing. The nutrition you were missing with a highly-processed diet would fill in. The downside, studies show that long term vegan diets can lead to deficiencies as there are some nutrients that only come from meat sources. Does this mean veganism is bad? No. It’s just not long term sustainable. The same goes for carnivore diets. In fact, the closest long term sustainable diet is Paleo as it doesn’t exclude vegetables, nor proteins. However, it is very restrictive, can be overly dogmatic and since becoming a fad has itself become overly processed. Bummer, right?
So what to do. There is a simple solution to what seems like an overly complicated problem. Eat what’s in season.
Your body had a rhythm. Seasons have a rhythm. The foods grown in specific seasons are better suited for your body at that time. Just the breaking up the old chicken and rice constantly will be nice, the change in nutrients will be refreshing to your body. A better explanation is this: drink caffeine in excess and you lose your sensitivity. Stop for a while and you get it back. Same goes for protein, carbs, fats, etc. Even meats have seasons!
So let’s wrap it up.
• Strength train
• Train the movements first
• Balance in cardio.
• Eat seasonally not dogmatically.
Above all, keep it super simple. If it’s really hard to do, track or plan, move along. Keeping it simple makes it obtainable and more easily fits into your life. Change one thing at a time, make it a habit, then change another. Don’t overthink it. Use tools to help you along the way like My Fitness Pal or Fat secret to track your food. Strava for Map my Run for running/cycling or Personal Training Coach for weight lifting.
Remember change happens over time not overnight. Constantly be reinventing or remember you why and be flexible. Routines get interrupted but that doesn’t mean they get abandoned. Health & Wellness is a Lifestyle, not a fad.
That’s all for now. Please leave a comment and follow for more.