There are a million workouts programs on a million different fitness websites that claim that this approved workout is the best workout for all fitness levels and goals. Great, but really? There is nothing wrong with scouring the internet and reading articles or blogs to help improve fitness and a workout regimen. But it can be hard tell that and particular routine is correct for a particular goals. Some websites clarify who and what a particular routine is designed for but most do a one size fits all workout routine for their publication to cast the widest net for eyes and readership (Six week six pack anyone?). Here are some tips to determine when selecting a particular workout program.
1. What is the goal?
I feel that this is one of the most important categories when choosing a workout program. An honest appraisal of what the results look like. When I asked a client what his goal was he replied, “I just want people to look at me when I take my shirt off at the pool.” Some might roll their eyes at this comment as being vain or shallow but at least it is honest. More importantly, it is focused. When a goal is undefined or to general, the goal has a tendency not to be reached. The, “I just want to feel healthy.” is not specific enough. Really fine tune on what “feeling healthy” is. That was it is easier to set up a goal. If “feeling healthy” means losing 10 pounds, then say it. “I want to feel healthy by losing 10 pounds.” Own the goal no matter how superficial it may seem. Be specific, be honest and be focused.
2. What is the time frame?
This is another be honest and be focused moment. “I want to lose 15 pounds in 10 days for XYZ event.” might be a stretch. Possible, yes. A challenge for the general population? Absolutely. Finely tuned athletes and fitness competitors have mastered this type of weight loss. Usually competitors who have to be at a certain weight for some sort of weight restricted sport or event. For the rest of us, BE REASONABLE! “I want to lose 2.5% body fat in a month.” Great. Having a specific measurable number allows adjustments in order to achieve the goal. This increases the likelihood of success. Having an end date keeps the goal in focus.
3. What is my fitness level?
Here are some tests to help determine a fitness level at any given time. These can be done periodically during any regimen to help make adjustments in training.
Body weight squat test:
Perform as many body weight squats as possible in one minute.
· BEGINNER: less than 20
· INTERMEDIATE: 20 to 40
· ADVANCED: more than 40
Push up Test:
Perform as many push ups as possible in one minute.
· BEGINNER: less than 15
· INTERMEDIATE: 16-24
· ADVANCED: more than 25
· BEGINNER: 25 or fewer
· INTERMEDIATE: 26-39
· ADVANCED: 40 or more
Hold the plank for as long as possible.
· BEGINNER: less than 60 seconds.
· INTERMEDIATE: 60 to 120 seconds
· ADVANCED: more than 120 seconds
One mile test:
Jump on a treadmill and walk/run a miles as quickly and as safely as possible.
Having a fitness level will help determine which particular program to choose. There is a possibility that fitness levels vary depending on the exercise, (i.e. intermediate in squats and beginner in push ups) but having an overall idea on what needs to improve can help select the correct exercises by fitness level to help achieve any fitness goal.
I Have a Goal, Now What?
We have a goal, a time frame and our fitness level, great. Now it is time to figure out what type of routine is best. Rep ranges and rest are key to help determine fitness goals. To build muscle endurance and shed some extra weight, low weight and high reps with little rest would be the best option. To add some weight and build muscle, the opposite (high weight, lower reps with more rest in between) is true but choosing the right program is once again determined by the goals and fitness level. When searching for a workout program, combine all the information that was gathered in the previous tips. This allows for specificity when searching through magazine articles and blogs. For example, just typing beginner workout program into Google brings up millions of possible pages for you search. A better way to search would be to type in “beginner workout program for women for 10 pounds of weight loss in 60 days”. Refined and focused. This will produce results that are specific to a goal that will help maximize the time spent in the gym or at home working out. Remember, by knowing the goal, the time frame, and fitness level, this ensures that success is right around the corner for any workout program.