Has your gym program got any method to the madness?

In last weeks article I showed you the 5 most common mistakes in and around the gym floor .In point no 5 I talked about dialing in the basics when it comes to your nutrition and getting that right first before you start to get specific with certain supplements.

Today I am going to stay with the basics with regard to your training.If you are a person who finds themselves exercising purely for health/mindset benefits every now and then out walking,hiking,swimming,doing some classes and the odd visit to the gym floor that’s great too but this article is more catered for the individual who is working off a certain program and is questioning whether or not they are on the right track.

A lot of the time I get asked by people to look at their gym programs they are currently undergoing.I have seen all kinds of programs from strength,sport specific,bodybuilding right down to weight loss and gain programs. The list is endless.Programming is vital. A good place to start with is a basic gym program template is one that features specific mobility work, has some emphasis on strength work and a variation of conditioning workouts.Your program should be catered to your goal, your body, your training age, your strengths and your weaknesses.

First of all its great that you are following a program or template when it comes to improving your fitness goal but my point is make sure whatever goal your working on matches well with the training.The training should compliment the goal and secondly that the program is tailored towards your level.Time and time I have seen people on certain programs that really doesn’t match up what they are after and overall doesn’t even link well with their level or even their lifestyle.A lot of the time the program is far too advanced for the individual,they haven’t mastered the basics before starting this program and to be honest overall they don’t have enough time in the week to be doing the program correctly and other lifestyle factors like sleep,food,recovery just aren’t matching up either.To be quite honest sometimes the individual has no right doing that program and they would get far more benefits seeking out advice from the right trainer putting them on the right path.The overall message here is do the basics first and get really good at them before moving on and sometimes you may never need to move too far away from the basics.I have been designing programs almost 10 years now and it always comes back to the basics.They cant be beaten and the results I have seen really speak for themselves.Sometimes the fitness industry can be blamed for this.I have always said this industry rarely sells patience and its all about youth and intensity and really quite vain.A quick search on Instagram and you will come across many points I am talking about.A lot of people buy into it and are searching for “Getting shredded in 4 weeks” programs”Six pack in 6 weeks” and some people think that perhaps beating themselves up in a all out intensity workout is the way forward towards achieving that look they want for the summer beach body.There really is a lot more smarter ways you can go about your goal.The big thing that might be lacking here is education.A sign of a good trainer is someone who isn’t just training their clients but more importantly educating them the right way on how to get after their health and fitness goals.

Common mistakes I have seen with regard to a training program

Endurance athletes having little to no strength work in their program along with no mobility/recovery protocols in place in and around their training.I have worked with a number of runners who have come into me with a lot of niggles and knocks and quite frankly its been down to not looking after the body the right way and really relying on a relatively weak body to get them through their training and race day.Tweaks in your approach like a basic strength program and a basic 15 min daily body maintenance program will really go a long way here.

-Advanced strength programs you really haven’t mastered the basic compound movements like deadlifts and squats in order to start working off a advanced specific % format yet.On top of that you might not have the basic mobility to be able to get into some of the positions and you might just be better off working on that first before you start to put your body into these positions a couple of times a week with heavy load.

-CrossFit workouts I think CrossFit is both good and bad.I don’t mention the C word here too much as every time it gets mentioned there is quite an uproar.All I am going to say here make sure whatever your doing movement wise that its right for your level.A lot of the time this is not down to the CrossFit progam itself but more importantly the coach that is delegating you the work.Every CrossFit gym is different.There are some fantastic CrossFit coaches in Ireland.

-Sport specific programs If you play a sport you should be work on areas in the gym that will compliment your performance.Over the years I have been lucky to have trained along side many professional soccer players,county gaa players,pro golfers to even shadowing some sessions at the infamous FSU university in Florida that produces some of Americas finest athletes..Any athlete I have worked with has the basics nailed down first,has good range of mobility,very good body awareness and has the ability to work through the gears pushing themselves into certain zones of training.There really is no point in getting all specific until you have shown a good level with the basics and quite frankly you are ready for that certain specific program.A good place to start would be having the ability to squat well,have a basic level of strength and are able to chip through a couple of basic mobility/flexibility standard tests that I have mentioned before in previous articles.

-Bodybuilding split programs.These programs are great but you really have to be all in when you’ve a real goal here changing your physique This route may not be for everyone but it certainly has its place.Too many people give this a try doing split programs that are catered for people looking to increase mass,size and put on some muscle and overall they really aren’t spending enough time in the gym,not eating enough food and generally “switch off” at the weekend .

-Weightloss programs The myth of lifting weights,dramatically cutting carbs and hammering lots of “cardio” is still around in order to achieve this goal.A lot of people who are chasing weightloss tend to stay away from the weight room,hammer the spin class and literally cut carbs for a few days before they crash again.From the experience I have with 2 clients both who lost 63kg and 40kg  over the last year both were training 2-3 times a week,on a structured weight training plan,did some cardio every now and then and relied on carbs to get them through certain workouts and days.


Its great that you have a a goal in mind and that your working off training template or program.The best advice here is to assess and not guess.Assess your goal and where you need to work on instead of just guessing and picking programs that might not be the best for you.Lock down the basics first and then make sure your training regime matches up with your goal.If you are unsure the best thing is to source a trainer or coach who is particular about technique, has a good pedigree and has a proven track record of getting results.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.




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