Q: I need help with my training program or more specifically a solution! Is there 1 way to train which is better then all of the others? There is so much confusion out there and it drives me nuts. High reps, low reps, heavy weight, super-sets etc – where does it end? I just need a program that produces results!
A: Hi I can totally empathise with where you are at. As a serious athlete you are always looking for the absolute shortest possible way to generate results and there never seems to be a clear cut solution. There are some people who generate sensational results from using heavy weights and low reps and you may be forgiven for believing that is the be all and end all, but then you witness someone also getting great results from using moderate weights and super-setting every exercise they do, which in turn will get you wondering again.
It is crazy stuff and surely there needs to be an ultimate! But you know in all honesty, I don’t believe there is one, speaking generally of course. There will be something that will work better for YOU, let’s see what we can do here.
Yes there are some people out there who will definitely respond better to one training style compared to another, but I really don’t believe that you can ‘blanket’ your answer to fit all demographics. Of course no matter what training style you follow you still need to put in the hard yards and give it your all (you cannot expect to coast and go through the motions and succeed), but I believe as an athlete you really do have more ‘freedom’ and techniques at your disposal then you once may have commonly believed.
So here I am not going to talk about set, reps and all the good stuff, I want to look at this from another angle. What I will do is cover 2 important aspects that you may not have thought of – consistency and belief.
Consistency: No matter what style of program that you follow, you need to follow it with consistency. If your program calls for 4 sessions a week, then you need to hit the gym 4 days a week, day in and day out, week in and week out. Coming into the gym for 4 days one week, 2 days the next and then 3 days the week after, you will achieve minimal results at best.
If that has been you, be hesitant before you blame your program rather blame your dedication. I have seen in more then one instance where some one will blame their inconsistency to turn up to the gym because they feel their program is inadequate. It always starts and ends with you!
Additionally, never wait for the ‘perfect program’ before you decide to go all out. An ok program followed consistently will ALWAYS produce better gains then the perfect program followed some of the time.
Belief: As we move from program to program trying to find the ultimate in workout protocols, have you ever stopped and wondered why it is that you are so unsure of what you have been doing? Or better yet, why you are even doing what you are doing?
Results also come down to belief! If you do not believe in the system that you are using then what chance do you have? I guarantee if you ask someone who has generated sensational results from an abbreviated training program that they will believe in that system heart and soul. The same will be for someone who is following a more volume-orientated approach. They won’t be turning around and giving praise for the high-load work as they are pumping their way to continual gains – they in turn have total belief in the approach they are following.
So the moral of the story, all programs can deliver big time results. There are too many people and too many styles of training with RESULTS being the proof that we cannot be convinced any other way. And you can be assured that form all the successful athletes, they were consistent in their training and also had total belief in what they were doing and what they were going to achieve.
Q: I need to lose some body-fat, but I am pretty lazy when it comes to food. Don’t get me wrong, I am careful with what I eat but I just can’t count calories. What a waste of time, please don’t tell me I need to do it?
A: Ah someone who is of my own heart! I personally think sitting there and ‘counting calories’ is the greatest waste of time any athlete can ever undertake and just isn’t for me. Hey don’t get me wrong, if you are a ‘C Style’ person with a clinical nature and love numbers then go right ahead. All I am saying is that I do not I feel that you need to sit and count every single calorie that you consume per day.
For the people who are into it do you really believe that it is THAT critical that you get an exact number of calories per day? Also how did you calculate your requirements? To throw a further spanner in the works, how is it that you calculate the calories that you are eating? To feel that a precise number of calories would make that great of a difference would mean that you need to believe that:
- the body utilises calories in the same fashion and rate that the calorie itself is determined and that every body is the same
- the body’s needs are the same everyday regardless of your activity level or energy requirements (until you are ready to change your calorie totals of course)
- the resource that you get your calorie information from is correct and is the same to every other resource available
- the food that you are eating does in fact contain the exact breakdown of macro-nutrients that you are referencing from the literature/website/book etc, and to get further critical that every piece of the same food is also exactly the same
I personally believe that the body is an incredibly adaptive and responsive unit, and it works on averages and is in constant change. I just don’t believe that every day is that exact and precise – there are far too many variables for things to be 100% exact.
Working on averages, that’s what I do.
So does this mean though that the total practice of calorie counting is to be done away with, or is there an element of truth? Yes and no.
Sitting down and counting calories of every single thing that you eat every single day; yes I just don’t buy it. But knowing what you are eating and being consistent in your resolve – that is very much needed.
But are they not kind of the same thing, bingo! I know it sounds like a contradiction but hears me out. To lose weight successfully, you will need to either consumer less energy then you need or burn more energy that you take in (the combination of both works best) so in regards to food you need to be consistent in your approach. This easily achieved in eating the same sorts of foods each day in the same rough amounts. If you eat ‘x’ amount on Monday, and then you eat that same ‘x’ amount on Tuesday, does it not stand to reason that you don’t need to count calories everyday?
Ok now weight stalls, does that mean we need to then shave off a precise number of calories to generate weight loss? Lets get technical, 1 kilogram of fat contains 7200 calories so where will the split be (in regards to greater energy usage through exercise, further energy consumed due to metabolic influences post training – that is a further discussion in itself – and eating less energy). Again I feel it is making it way too complicated. Just eat a little less and move a little harder. You will know if you are on the right track if you are starting to see results again a few days later.
Keep it simple, and use your free time to the best of your advantage. It will always be the best way.