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The 3 Key Pillars You MUST HAVE In Order To Have An Effective Training Plan


This is one of the most important posts I will write about the topic of training. It will save you A LOT of time and money if you actually listen to what I'm about to say. The reason being that most people train in a completely incorrect and inefficient way for their personalized goals.

But before that, I'll share with you my story from time-waster to strong and lean!

The health and fitness industry is fantastic at lying to you all of the time. Whether that's personal trainers, advertised products on the web, magazines, fat-loss pills and waist-trainers that 'target your abs.'

I fell into this trap myself.

Whether it's cardio for getting lean, or weird circuit style routines for getting strong. Did this 'till I was blue in the face and found out very quickly you get little reward for a lot of effort.

Not to say that they don't have any place in our training; they might well do if you are severely limited in the things you can do or you actually like feeling crap after training. But I know that having an effective training career MUST have these three things in order give you a strong and lean physique:

1) Your training needs to be fun

It's as simple as that. If you don't enjoy what you do you'll never stick it for a long period of time.

I used to run all of the time because I thought it would get me six pack. I also used to do A LOT of circuit classes because I thought it would get me jacked.

I wasn't really enjoying them when I trained. It was a means to an end.

Now if you DO like doing them then that's fine. Go crack on and get a sweat on! But if you are being 100% honest with yourself and DEEP DEEP down you know that your time could be spent doing other things to get you the body you've always wanted stating back at you in the mirror, then re-assess whether it's in your schedule because you ACTUALLY enjoy it.

2) It needs to be realistic

If you can't stick to your plan 80-90% of the time, then it's probably not right for you.

And this was totally me a few years ago...

I would look up '12 weeks to shredded' exercises plans which usually meant I needed to be in the gym 5-6 times per week for up to two hours at a time. The BIG problem with this...?

I didn't want to be in the gym 5-6 time per week for two hours. It wasn't fun to spend all of my time in there I thought to myself. I have things to do and a life to live!

This is one of the main factors I find out when I create a tailored plan with my online clients because if it's a 5 day split and I know they can only realistically train 3 times per week they won't stick to it and won’t make any progress.

So have a look at your week and be honest:

  • How many days in the week can I realistically train?

  • How long have I got per session?

  • Does my current stress levels and lifestyle allow me the luxury to train x amount of days for x amount of time?

This will ultimately change depending on your particular set of circumstances. Whether you are a full-time business owner who works 80 hour weeks, or an office worker with no current commitments or restrictions e.g. a young family or a 2 hour commute.

In all honesty, people over-estimate their dedicated time to train in the week, whether it's too little dedication or too much.

EVERYONE has at least 2 hours in the week to consistently train. I'd love to find someone who hasn't - please, test me as I'd love to see where the other hours are going!

On the flip-side of this, some people spend WAY TOO MUCH time in the gym and need to re-assess their training. I promise you that no-one needs to train everyday, and I'd go as far to say that 5 times per week is the maximum needed for the majority of people.

I myself, train 4 times per week and this suits me best.

What will work for YOU?

3) It needs to serve a purpose

If you are reading this post then you are serious about getting leaner and stronger.

When a client come to me who is currently not doing ANY training and wants guidance on what to do, I leap for the stars.

I won’t have to completely up-haul their training and change their current perceptions on what is right and what is very, very wrong for their goals.

The plan will usually be a progressive resistance training programme with a daily 20-30 minute walk. If a client wants to add cardio, we’ll sub out a walking session and add in a couple of 20 minute runs. Easy.

What you’ll notice is that it’s not 2x spin classes, 3x boot camps, 10 k runs and Boxfit 9000. I want my client to actually SEE progression with their training, e.g. getting stronger by lifting more each week.

How can you measure progress if your spin class consists of:

Week 1 of hills

Week 2 of sprints

Week 3 of both.

Week 4 different hills.

Week 5 differnt sprints.

And so on.

Instead, we incorporate resistance training to either build or retain muscle and improve markers of strength.

“I did an extra 5 kgs on the bench press today!”

instead of “I think I’m getting better at spin...? I definitely feel tired after the session!”

Oh, and if someone tells you that they got big and jacked doing classes alone they are LYING to you. They lifted weights and got stronger. Probably in a gym where you should be if you take this seriously.

So to summarise, your training needs to be:

1) Fun

2) Realistic

3) Serve a purpose.

Use these principles to create a productive and progressive plan that will get you stronger and leaner in no time at all.

For more pillars of training success head over to:

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