• Chris Kelly

Starting a Training Program Vs. Just working out - Part 1

Holy crap….its a new decade and I have been working in the fitness industry for almost three decades now.

I often say the best move (and at the time, worst) move I ever made was getting a $125,000 unsecured loan to buy a gym called Peak Fitness and move back to Lakeland from NYC. In the course of a year, the economy crashed, the bank that loaned me the money ceased to exist and the gym lost 2/3ds of it’s clients.

But I didn’t quit. I stuck with it, at first because I had to pay back the loan, but as I went along I found that I developed a passion for and deeper understanding of what I was doing. I put my life in to becoming the best trainer I could be, but my business still suffered. So I hired a business coach and over the last few years, my gym actually resembles a business versus just a collection of people doing burpees.

My point in mentioning all of these things is not to toot my own horn, but to let you know how similar my journey has been to the way most successful people find and flourish in fitness. Beginning in a place of complete ignorance, they sign up for a gym, literally do anything and see progress because they are so new to fitness. If we view fitness progress as a pyramid, I consider this level 1.

Over time however, plateaus inevitable occur as the body adapts to random exercises and requires more concentrated stress. So they hire a trainer and/or sign up for Orange Theory, Crossfit or group classes. This offers a lot more structure and professional coaching which should include learning fundamental moves like squats, deadlifts, pushing and pulling.

I consider this phase Level 2 and I view it as a fitness incubator in which young padawans (trainees) sample structured training and pick the style they enjoy—bodybuilding, metabolic conditioning, athletic based training, etc.

This level works for a lot of people but it will also inevitably plateau due to scheduling around classes and outgrowing the programming of the gym or class. I see this happen a lot with group fitness classes.

Breaking down your workout:

When I am thinking about training, I try to break it down in to general units of what I will be doing that day. These units represent the essential components of what I want to get in during the week in a holistic fitness program. They consist of:

Strength training- This usually consists of a workout program centered around the big movements like squats, deadlifting, bench press and chin ups to drive strength. After performing a main lift, we can insert exercises that work on areas of your choosing.

Low intensity conditioning- Think biking, jogging or circuit training at a 5-6/10 intensity.

Recovery- This includes foam rolling, stretching, kinstretch and light aerobic work.

High Intensity Conditioning- This includes sprinting or any high intensity activities which is 7-10/10.


Putting it together:

The trick with the categories above is understanding how and when to combine the above categories. One of the major errors in a fitness program (And why I am so down on things like Orange Theory) is exposure to a mix of the above at once.

For me, this is sort of like drinking a Bloody Mary. I love bacon and tomatoes and I can tolerate Worcestershire sauce but when you combine these elements with alcohol you create a recipe for disaster. The ideal scenario is we perform each element on separate days. If this is not possible, the next best option is blocking together higher intensity work in to one day followed by lower intensity work the next day. My preferred weekly split for a beginner looks something like this: Weekly schedule

Workout element

Monday LIFT + HIGH INTENSITY CONDITIONING

Tuesday LOW INTENSITY CONDITIONING + RECOVERY

Wednesday LIFT + HIGH INTENSITY CONDITIONING

Thursday LOW INTENSITY CONDITIONING + RECOVERY

Friday LIFT + HIGH INTENSITY CONDITIONING

Saturda yLOW INTENSITY CONDITIONING + RECOVERY

Sunday Rest

I have seen people make progress on this schedule for up to two years before we need to add an additional lifting or conditioning day. Once plateaus in results occur, adding an additional day is exactly what I recommend. A four day split may look something like this:

Weekly schedule

Workout element

Monday LIFT + HIGH INTENSITY CONDITIONING

Tuesday LOW INTENSITY CONDITIONING + RECOVERY

Wednesday LIFT + HIGH INTENSITY CONDITIONING

Thursday LOW INTENSITY CONDITIONING + RECOVERY

Friday LIFT + HIGH INTENSITY CONDITIONING

Saturday LOW INTENSITY CONDITIONING + RECOVERY

Sunday Rest


Wrap up:

Following a workout schedule consistently is truly the key to long term success. Every year, we resolve to stick to something and half or more of us end up falling apart. My advice would be to use this information to plan a schedule that works for you BEFORE choosing any fitness activities and then plug those activities in the above categories to what they most resemble.

Next week, I will delve in to a few examples of actual plans for clients ranging from those seeking to lose bodyfat to those seeking to get back in to exercise after a long incidence of back pain.

I truly hope this info helps you to start your year off the right way and I will talk to you next week.

Sincerely,

Coach Chris

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6030 South Florida Ave

Lakeland, FL 33812

863-670-3820

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