Why you should be using a gym program
Updated: Jan 9, 2020
Basically, you’ll get more out of going to gym and it will be much easier for you.
It’s really easy these days to find a gym and walk through the front doors but a lot of people find themselves stuck on the next step: What do I do now? Whether you’ve hit a plateau or just walked through the front door for the first time I believe everyone should have a program to follow. Here’s 5 reasons why you should be using a gym program right now:
1. The principle of progressive overload
Progressive overload, slowly increasing the load on muscles to be continually challenging, is the basis of all strength training at the gym. As your body adapts to lifting the 5kg weights you’ve been moving for the past month, you need heavier weights to continue seeing improvements. Progressive overload is really simple to include in programs; you can increase the reps or the weight or the depth or even change to a slightly more challenging exercise. Without a program most people will only go up in weight when they “feel good”, which for most of us human beings varies based on a HUGE number of factors, leading to inconsistent progress. Get a program incorporating progressive overload and you’ll be improving without even noticing it.
2. Remember your weights & reps
This one is pretty straightforward: to perform progressive overload you need to know what weights you were lifting and for how many. Too many times I see people remember a certain weight they use on an exercise… except they conveniently forgot they went heavier a week earlier. KEEP TRACK OF YOUR NUMBERS!! You don’t even need a program for this one, just write it down on a piece of paper or keep it in your notes app on your phone. Reps are just as important as weight, if you hit 15 reps on the first set but then it drops down to 10 by the last set you’re not ready to increase the weight. If you’re jumping around with weights and reps all the time you’re not going to see a steady increase in strength. The best way to write down your numbers simply is like this: Barbell Deadlifts 100kg x 6,6,5 95kg x 6, 7. This way you see the specific exercise, weight, reps and sets in detail.
3. You don’t have to think!
Thinking is good. Thinking is hard. Think once when write program. Waste not time + effort at gym. Brain thank you later!
4. Stop overdoing it or underdoing it
We’ve all done it before. Maybe it was an extra rep, an extra set, extra weight or even an extra exercise. You were feeling fine, the weight seemed to be moving itself and you thought why not? Then the next day you realise why not… You overdid it at the gym. Or maybe the opposite happened and you get to the end of four weeks and notice you didn’t complete one full workout. Feels bad man. A good program will regulate your intensity so you can get the most benefits without over or under working. Get yourself a program, trust in the process and stop the guesswork. You can still adjust the workout as you go but now you’ll have more context and structure to keep you on track.
5. Stop changing exercises. Keep things interesting.
Two seemingly conflicting statements so let me explain. Changing the exercises you do at the gym every workout can mean you’re not performing progressive overload and you won’t see any improvements. Similarly if all you’re doing at gym is bench press and bicep curls it will probably get stale very quickly meaning you’re less likely to go meaning your biceps are less likely to grow! Creating a varied program not only ensures you will get results from each exercise, but you’ll also enjoy it much more. Stick with each exercise for four to six weeks, then change things up. Switch up the bench press and bicep curls to incline press and preacher curls. It hits similar areas, has slightly different technique but will keep you more invested. The most important part of any program is the consistency with which it’s met which is why a varied program is a good program.
A well written program is there to apply progressive overload, keep track of your numbers, eliminate hesitation, monitor your workload and most importantly, keep you invested!
There are plenty of programs you can find online paid or for free but an individualised program is always going to be best for you. To get an exercise program written up for you, ask the personal trainers at your local gym or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.