Working Out vs Following a Program

October 13th, 2012 by

Is it any wonder more people regularly attending a gym … don’t look like they do? Not talking about nutrition and what happens the other 23 hours of the day here though; I’m talking about the training.

(Before any of those who like to complain for the sake of complaining, post, yes it’s great that people are in the gym exercising, trying to better themselves and not sitting at home bathing in ice cream. That’s not the context here.)

Now with that out of the way …

Why DO people go to the gym? Yes to feel better, etc. of course but lets be real here, most people go to the gym to over time look better. For guys this invariably means more muscle, for girls it’s sometimes more muscle but obviously less fat (which applies to both genders of course).

But let’s be real here. Exercising and having a plan/following a program are NOT the same thing.

I’m training this morning and b/w sets overhear two guys next too me, saying, “so what do you want to train today?”

I’m sorry, but what?!

“Shoulders? Ok. What do you want to do first?”

What?

Again, let’s keep the context in check here – people go to the gym to improve and in the case of weight training, it’s to generally build muscle (or maintain it if dieting).

And yet, most people come into the gym with no plan whatsoever. They’re just ‘working out’ and hoping for the best.

(I won’t even go into the rest of what I heard one of these lads advising another gym member on how to train, how to get big, etc … all while honestly, not looking like he trains).

Listen, a workout is not supposed to be a simple random collection of exercises for a given body part. To add to that a PROGRAM is not just a random collection of workouts strung together in a week. Workouts are not separate entities – they’re supposed to flow together with a purpose, each a part of a greater whole.

In a PROGRAM, there is an objective TO the program and a design BEHIND the program. A program is about exercise selection and exercise sequence, about rep schemes and rep ranges, but not any one of those in isolation, rather, in the context of the training variables.

The focus of the program is also supposed to be greater than the focus of the individual workout.

Is it any wonder more people don’t progress or look much different over time? THIS strategy does not work and for every person who claims it does work for them, there are 99 for whom it obviously does not (look around the gym). And I’d put good money on the fact that the one for whom it does “work” for would have monumentally better progress having a plan of attack.

There are no magic exercises. Any exercise is only as vital as the context within which it is applied. PROGRAMMING is everything.