Are you tired of going to the gym and not getting results? I know this is an over-used marketing tag line. But the truth is many people do go to the gym day after day, week after week, year after year and see little change with their progress….and I was one of them!
So let’s cut to the chase..
When you first start working out in the gym you often see some great gains..but then at some point we will all eventually arrive at that frustrating plateau, where nothing seems to change for the better. Whether it’s aesthetics or strength/performance you are focusing on..or both, in my opinion there are five key elements to every great training program that will help ensure that you continue to produce results over time! They are in no specific order:
This needs to be dialed in, meals need to be consumed with the right frequency and quantity and with the right mix of protein fats and carbs for your individual needs i.e.: fitness goals, activity level and metabolism. If your lunch is a bready sandwich with a few slivers of meat or just a salad…your muscle gains will be limited. You need to base your diet around whole foods, healthy protein sources, lots of vegetables, some fruits and regular consumption of non-saturated fats (in small quantities). You will need to drink 2-4 litres of water as well. Remember “You can’t out train a bad diet!”
The Right Exercises
You need to consider foundational and accessory lifts, the most important part of the program will be your foundational lifts. These are not fancy trendy movements that you will pick up from the latest fitness magazine. These movements are tried tested and true! They will increase your muscle mass, bone density, athletic performance, testosterone levels, strength and power.
Whether you are a man or a woman..these exercises will produce distinct positive changes in your body. The foundational exercise that I am talking about are the Four Powerlifting movements: Weighted Barbell Squat, Deadlift, Bench press and Press (standing overhead press).. These exercises are the building blocks of any great muscle building and/or strength training program as well as a fat loss and muscle toning. Depending on your training goals, the program’s weights and reps can be manipulated so you can derive the most benefit out of these exercises.
Let’s focus primarily on the powerlifting movements: Squat and Deadlift, these power movements will be the cornerstone of your program. Which muscles do they work? Well….Everything! What if you want to increase your bench press…Squat and deadlift..what if you want to increase your press..Squat and Deadlift…what if you want to lose fat..I think you get the idea. Of course, you will need to do the exercises themselves ie: perform the Bench press in order to increase it, however if you do not Squat and Deadlift you will greatly decrease the amount of muscle building testosterone in your body which is responsible for muscle growth everywhere. Now if your primary goal is not to get to “too bulky” then you can train for strength with lower reps, or if you want toning and muscle endurance you can do higher reps such as the “Widowmaker” (20 rep squats).
The Right Program
There are many techniques that do produce results, and in the beginning everything seems to produce results to some degree..However after 3-6 months in the game (or sooner) you will need to focus on some form of “periodization” in your program which is defined as: “strategic implementation of specific training phases. The Phases are based on increasing/decreasing volume (sets/reps) and intensity (load)” There are many great powerlifting programs out there: Wendler’s 5/3/1, The Texas method and others. The key to any program is whether it is suited for you.. Are you a beginner lifter….intermediate or advanced. Your program will need to include more than just the power lifting exercises, there will be accessory lifts that can be selected, sequenced based on your goals. For example if you are looking to bulk up we may include some body building exercises with slower tempo (muscle time under tension). Or if explosive power is your focus then you can incorporate the Olympic lifts or plyometrics into the program. Other considerations are your actual age and also your training age (how long you have been lifting). I have trained with people in their mid-fifties that are squatting over 400lbs. I wouldn’t expect the average 55 year man to be capable of that. However, I have learned over the years that with determination, training and dedication you can’t always rule that out.
The Right Coaching
There are many exercises that provide great benefits, however when done incorrectly can cause pain and undue “wear and tear” to your body and eventually injury. If you are sitting on the sidelines not training, then you are not getting results. You want to train with a coach that knows the exercises inside and out, someone who trains regularly themselves is ideal. The coach needs to be able to determine how to help motivate, and assess when to push and when to back off for each individual. The coach need to know when and how to give cues (and not too many at once). Education is important, training knowledge and lifting experience are key. For example: cuing the right muscles are important, you don’t want to deadlift with your quads. You need to learn how to activate your rear extensors, Hamstrings, glutes as the primary movers and Core and upper back is needed to stabilize the lift. On the Squat you need to activate glutes and adductors as well as have rock solid stability through your CORE. With the powerlifting barbell movements, it is vital that the lifter lifts the right weight with the correct form not only for injury prevention but also to maximize correct muscle recruitment and your results.
Speaking of results…this is the phase where you get them. You break your body down in the gym and your rest between workouts will determine how those workouts translate into anatomical and physiological changes. The ideal sleep schedule is between 10am-6pm, physical/hormonal repair happens between 10pm-2am and mental recovery from 2am-6am. If your hormones are out of whack this can be very problematic in a lot of areas of your life, you amy experience some moodiness, fatigue, depression and never really feeling rested and rejuvenated. Other stressors such as alcohol, drugs and bad food choices will slow down your metabolism even further. The effect of this, is your body over activates your immune system and expends a lot of needless energy ridding your body of these toxins, instead of a physical repair. This in turn takes away from your body’s recovery and ultimately your desired fitness results, not to mention slower muscle growth and decreased metabolism of body fat.
Lastly, I should add the obvious, that consistency of these 5 factors is very important!
We hope you got some useful information from this brief article, if you are looking to take your training to the next level, we do have what we feel is a great option for you.. Precision Athletics Inc. has been in the fitness business for close to 20 years. We are a personal training company that currently operates out of downtown Vancouver. The company is owned by myself, Pepe Picco and my business partner Craig Boyd.
Over our time in the fitness business, and about 10 years of weight training experience prior to that, we feel we have had the opportunity to learn a few things..there are methods that we have found ineffective but alternately there are also many training styles that work…and then there are ones the that work better. We have taken the five Key elements that I touched on and combined them into our “Powerlifting Vancouver” program. The program is called Operation Alpha and we currently offer this powerlifting program at our gym on Beatty Street in the Yaletown area of Vancouver. If you are looking to get stronger, lean out and put on some muscle then this is the program for you. We run Operation Alpha in a small semi-private personal training session with a maximum of four people and the weekly cost is less than that of one regular personal training session. These sessions are instructed by Craig and myself, and it is our favorite program to teach plus it is scaled for all levels of fitness.. The results from this program have been amazing and we are happy offer a free week trial if you are interested. Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions and are looking to get results!
Written by: Pepe Picco
Pepe Picco is one of Vancouver’s leading fitness experts and personal trainers. With almost twenty years experience as a personal trainer. On this blog shares his knowledge gained from a lifetime spent in the health and fitness field.
Posts will be on nutrition, powerlifting Vancouver, personal training vancouver, weight training, sport specific training, bootcamp, powerlifting and client success stories.
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