If you often visit the gym without a plan, you’re probably not making the most of your time or energy. A structured exercise program could make a significant difference to your fitness progress – add a personal trainer and you’ll likely see your best results yet.
Don’t wing your workouts
Does this sound like you? “I’ll do a few reps here and there, maybe tackle the cardio machines for a bit, and that should be good for today.”
While getting a sweat going during your workout is certainly better than doing nothing at all, there’s a good chance that your “routine” is holding you back. In fact, if you are stepping foot into the gym without a plan already in hand, you’re likely not making the most of your time and effort. As a result, your progress will suffer.
Here are some signs that you could benefit from a structured exercise program:
- You complete most of the same exercises every time you are in the gym
- You have hit a plateau and there hasn’t been a noticeable change in your stamina, strength, weight or physique
- You are feeling bored, unmotivated, or unfulfilled with your workout
- You are not sure what exercises will give you the results you want
If you have a busy schedule, you only have a limited amount of time each week to fit in a workout, so you want to get the best results from your efforts.
That’s where a structured exercise program comes into play.
A structured exercise program helps you save time, allows you to try new exercises, creates more balanced results and, most importantly, supports noticeable progress in strength, muscle size, movement, posture and cardiovascular capacity.
Structured exercise program example
Take Heather. Heather wants to exercise using resistance training in a gym three days per week and has a goal of creating lean muscle, losing fat and maintaining general health, strength and cardiovascular fitness. Now that we know her goals and time commitment, it becomes clear how her program should be structured.
Heather’s Kinesiologist developed a four week, three day exercise program that includes all the essentials of a well-designed workout that will yield the results she’s looking for, including:
- A thorough dynamic warm-up to prep her joints and muscles
- A mix of upper body, lower body, and core exercises
- A variety of exercise circuits
- A mix of pressing and pulling exercises
- A mix of single limb and double limb exercises
- A gradual progression in exercise difficulty, whether it’s load, speed, less rest, sets, repetitions or movement complexity
In about four weeks, Heather will get a refreshed program from her Kinesiologist to avoid hitting a plateau.
Avoiding fitness plateaus
If you have stuck to the same resistance exercises for more than a month, chances are you have hit a plateau and may even be developing strength imbalances by not giving other muscles attention.
These strength imbalances and asymmetries can often lead to injury if not properly addressed. The same can be said for an aerobic-based exercise program. If you are training with the same running speed, distance and intervals in week one as you are in week five, chances are your progress is going to be a lot slower than someone who is changing their training week to week or every few weeks.
Need additional motivation? Try a personalized program
If you’re not sure where to start or want the support and motivation that comes with a structured exercise plan, don’t sweat it (pun intended), we can help. Copeman Healthcare offers Integrated Personal Training in one-on-one or semi-private sessions at each of our clinics.
We’ve recently launched a new Movement and Strength Lab, offering structured, personalized exercise programs with a minimum 8 week commitment to help you get your exercise plan kick-started. This is a great option if you’re looking to get some guidance and coaching on your training and fitness goals.