One of the first steps towards achieving your fitness goals is to layout a plan of how you’re going to do it.
There are almost limitless numbers of stock regimes that claim to plot the path to weight loss or strength gains but the best way to ensure you’ll stick to your plans is to design one personally to your own preferences and lifestyle.
Here, Built for Athletes looks at some of the core principles to follow when building your own training programme.
Note Your Starting Point
Take some time to sit down and honestly appraise how much training you’ve been doing over the last weeks and months as well as the quality of the training.
By doing this you can work out your starting point and how to build your first few weeks. Obviously if you haven’t picked up a weight in six months you don’t want to start your first session by deadlifting 150kg so it’s important to be realistic.
Pick Achievable & Tangible Goals
Once you’ve got your starting point, work out your end point. Make a goal you think you can achieve and that you can measure. It can be as ambitious or as cautious as you like - what’s important is that it motivates you and will be rewarding when it’s achieved.
Decide How Much You Can Commit
Now it’s time to plot out how you’re going to get to your goal, and the first question to ask yourself is how much time you are willing to dedicate. How many times a week can you train and when are you going to do it? Being realistic about when you can fit training around work and seeing friends or family is key to following through on your plan.
Build Up Slowly
There’s very little point in rushing into training. If you decide to set volume and intensity too high, there’s a good chance your body won’t absorb the training properly during the recovery process.
The worst-case scenario is that you get injured or over fatigued and are forced to take time out. Fitness is built through consistency, not one spectacular week or month.
Break Training Into Blocks
Depending on your goal, it’s likely you’ll need different layers of fitness to achieve it.
Some people compare a good training plan to a recipe - several different ingredients go into them and it’s worth dedicating a set amount of time to specific areas. For example, if your goal is to increase your bench press one-rep max by 10kg, you’re likely to need to spend some time improving muscular endurance before focussing on power.