Things to consider before you start your next training cycle.
This is a very cut and dry approach to the things that you need to consider before you get too deep into your new training plan. This could also be used as a checklist for your new plan.
This content has two justifications behind it.
1) For you to actually have a program that provides you with positive change.
2) For that positive change not detrimental in the long run.
Reverse engineering training programs is a common practice in the fitness and coaching world, working backward from competitions or events to create the best starting point.
In my personal opinion, as a coach that doesn't make money from coaching professional athletes, a significant portion of this END in mind MUST be considered death.
I understand that is a slightly morbid thought, but one of my motivations for training is to have a better quality of life for longer. I don't want to die at 75 because I fell over trying to pick up my joint pills and couldn't get up again. I want to be a 75-year old dude that trains every day, is strong, useful, and can still enjoy life.
Anyone with a PT qualification can take you into the gym and destroy you in 45 minutes, but not many will provide you with an education that keeps you active into your 60’s and 70’s and potentially increases your lifespan.
With that in mind here are my check-lists for you to consider with your new training plan.
1) Progress is tracked subjectively and objectively. I think objective measures like bodyweight, kilos lifted, reps, sets, etc should be combined with subjective measurements like how much energy you have or how heavy/ hard something feels.
2) It has an element of progressive overload. Meaning over time, your system is progressively stressed, so you HAVE to adapt in order to continue.
3) There are sufficient periodic times of rest allowing adaptation to take place. These are traditionally called a “deload” but can occur in many forms, from a week of less intense training to a week of different training altogether. Ideally, these should coincide with subjective and objective measurements of fatigue, i.e. your energy is low & you are unable to complete a training set.
4) Exercise selection should vary enough to force adaptation, but be similar enough to maintain a consistent stimulus. These principals were made popular by the conjugate training system and are derived from the biological laws of specificity and accommodation.
5) For people under the age of 30, about 20% of your training should be based on longevity. For people between the age of 30 & 50, around 40% of your training should be based on longevity. For people over the age of 50, at least 80% of your training should be based on longevity. THIS IS NOT A SCIENCE, THIS IS AN OPINION.
There are other factors to consider involving your intake and lifestyle, but they are outside of the scope of this post.
So there are my 5 ways to check if your program will be doing you good. There will be exceptions to some of these rules at specific times, especially when looking at athletic and physique based performance. So if you are on a program that doesn’t look like it follows these rules, then you should either be training for a sport or planning to step on stage.