We are now approaching the end of January.Stats say this is now the time of the year we start to see new year goals slowly drift away.A lot of these goals are health and fitness related.From working in the commercial gyms for years I seen this trend happen quite a lot.Suddenly the packed January gym floor with lots of new faces goes back to normality.Its down to lots of reasons.Boredom,lack of accountability,not knowing what to do,little to no progress or purely just having little to no enjoyment with your new fitness regime.I have said before that whatever path you go down you need to enjoy it.Perhaps you took the wrong path joined the gym hoping that was going to set you up for 2017.You got your free intro,where shown around the facility and got your program from the trainer.Or maybe you didn’t even get a program and are now clueless and bored of the same routine you have been doing 3 times a week the past month. That’s pretty normal to be honest.Doing the same thing all the time and expecting different results wont happen and can only lead to loss of interest.
So what I have decided to do this week is give you some assistance on mapping out your session.If you are an individual looking for some structure and want to improve your overall health,fitness,look a little leaner and stronger,move better and in general just get some great use of your gym session then this is for you.
I have broken this article up in the same structure I would like you to approach your 45-60 minute session.This isn’t exactly a program for you but at least it will give you an idea on some structure.If you are looking for a specific program my advice here is to seek advice from a personal trainer.I have worked with clients in the past that have come into myself for as little as 10 1-1 sessions.In those 10 sessions they get to learn how to train themselves the right way and then get great use out of their gym membership following on from that.A lot of the time I would recommend people to work on their limiting factors.For a lot of people that is mobility/flexibility,strength work,core work following with their fitness/conditioning work.Adding that in I would ask them to question their current training regime.A lot of the time I get people to ask themselves “Is the current type of training they are doing right now something they can still see themselves doing in 20 years time?”To me longevity is a big thing.Fitness isn’t something I do for a summer holiday next year nor for a certain special event in my life in the future.What I am doing now is something I still want to be able to do 20 years from now and something that will benefit my health/lifestyle 20 years from now.
Warm up 10-15mins
In my opinion this is an important portion of your session.I have gotten to see many different approaches here from over the years of working on the gym floor.From the non warmer upper,the 10 min nearest cross trainer option to the 15 minute foam rolling warm up session.They all may not be solely the best of options.The goal of your warm up is to set aside 10-15 minutes structure of getting warm,loose,working on some mobility/flexibility work along with activating/stretching the muscles while prepping you up for your session ahead.Bringing some structure from raising your body temperature,adding some joint movement while adding in plenty of stretches is where you should start.Having access to tools like resistance bands,foam rollers,lacrosse balls and plenty of other mobility tools will also help.I have included a pretty standard warm up video below that might just help you on and give you some tips on what to do.
Strength work 20-25mins
I am a big believer of having some sort of emphasis on improving your strength.No matter what age,gender,training level etc I feel strength training is a must for anyone’s workout program.Generally speaking I would encourage people to pick movements here that will give them the best benefit and work on the areas that they need to work on the most.Working on compound movements like squats and deadlifts are 2 movements I would focus on along with plenty of pulling,pressing and some core drills thrown in here.I have included 5 of the best exercises here you need in your gym program and you can bring all these 5 into your strength portion of your session.If you where to have 3 days a week where you can cover these 5 movements spread out you are doing well.I have mentioned “mechanics,consistency,intensity” before and this is where you need to scale the movement relative to yourself.For some people it might mean basic technique of the air squat first then progressing on or for others it could be working on five sets of five reps of back squats.You can see some good video examples of the right technique for those movements in the article above.When it comes to reps,sets,tempos,volume and all that gym jargon I would suggest you go relativity heavy here or go work off a 4-6 week program that works off % format relative to your own level.Again if you are not sure on what program to do then go source a trainer that can assist you here.As I have said before “if you are not assessing then your really only guessing”A program I have used in the past with some clients is the Wendler 5/3/1 program and we have gotten some great results when it came to retesting their strength 6 weeks later Again,if you are really only new to the movements or strength training there is no need just yet to go down certain % programs just yet.My advice is just to keep working on the movement while slowly making progressions.Air squat,goblet squat,back squat being a good example.
Accessory work/Conditioning/Extra work
I have decided to put this all together even though they really can be all a very different approach.In my opinion you have already gotten a good chunk of the work done above getting a good warm up in,working on areas of your mobility along with bringing in some strength and core work.This portion of the session is where I feel you can make a few alterations and generally can go by feel and base this part of the workout on where you need work the most.For some people it might mean doing some aerobic work/anaerobic work or for others it might mean they need some accessory work with some extra weight training or then again you may need to go do some yoga/extra mobility work.It really comes down to what is needed most and how you are feeling on the day.If on the day you find yourself already burnt out from a long day at work and possibly didn’t even sleep well the night before well then this is a time I wouldn’t suggest hammering yourself in a anaerobic conditioning piece.Perhaps what is needed here is to be happy on what you have done and leave your session on that or go work on some extra work that wont be too taxing.This could be anything like some yoga,resistant band work,core work or even just going for a light jog.The complete opposite to that if you are feeling good and rearing to go well this is certainly a time I would suggest pushing yourself and getting out of your comfort zone.This more than likely will mean hitting up an anaerobic piece getting the heart rate high and bringing in some intensity.Things like rowing,sprints,kettlebell swings,battle ropes,box jumps and the dreaded burpee can all be thrown in here.At the same time don’t just throw them all together and do random movements.A smart approach here is going with a couplet or triplet of exercises here for a numbers of rounds.Setting aside 10 mins and getting through a 400m run with some kettlebell swings and push ups is a good example.Generally when I work with clients on a 1-1 basis at this stage of the session I give what I feel is best for the client at that present moment.Some times its calling it a day,another time is to just bring in some extra accessory work working on some upper body and core work or another session it means we need to push hard and get uncomfortable for those 10 minutes.
I have included a video here below on a rough guide on a workout structure.
I hope you’ve found this information useful and if you need any more advice you can pop me a direct message from the links below.
You can also see some of his previous articles here.