How to tell if your workout program is good for you?
The results of a workout are never immediately visible. Speaking of results, I don’t mean fatigue or muscle soreness but changes in body composition, increased endurance, the development of certain muscle groups and, of course – weight loss.
And that’s why you probably have questions about how to evaluate your training program:
- Is the current workout program effective enough, and will you be able to achieve your fitness goals with it?
- To what extent is the existing training program suitable for you?
- What should, perhaps, be changed/improved so that you reach your goals faster?
Then, let’s talk about it.
First, training programs must be individualized
A workout program designed for someone else may not suit you – no matter how good that someone else’s results were.
First of all, this applies to all fitness bloggers’ videos on YouTube (including mine), because there simply isn’t a universal workout program for everyone.
It does not exist because how and how effectively any particular training program works depends on factors such as:
- Your age.
- Your fitness experience.
- Body composition (ratio of body fat and muscle mass).
- Overall health.
- Stress level.
- The quality and duration of sleep.
That is, we may have different goals, and we ourselves are also very different, therefore, what suits one may not suit everyone else.
So how to assess whether a training program is right for you or not?
Are you getting closer to your goals?
The exercise program as a whole can be very well designed, but this does not mean it is suitable for your specific goals.
For example, 10,000 steps a day is a great program to maintain overall physical condition, but it’s not the best choice if your goal is, for example, strengthening deep muscles, etc.
- Am I training for a specific event, sport or wellness?
- What types of exercise do I like the most, and which ones I don’t like at all?
- Are there any specific moves that I like to perform?
- If the goal is weight loss, maintenance or gain – what weight do I want to reach/maintain?
- When would I like to achieve this goal?
When choosing or developing an exercise program, the first step is always to determine your abilities and goals. Then choose a program tailored to these specific goals, or discuss them with your coach and together choose the one that best suits your abilities and goals.
Regularly (but not more often than once a week -😊) measure the results – both weight and circumferences, sensations (do you feel lightness, a burst of energy, etc.) and health indicators (total and LDL cholesterol levels, blood sugar and insulin levels, blood pressure changes, etc.).
Don’t fool yourself and your coach
If you work with a personal trainer, remember that the trainer’s task is to help you achieve the set goal.
He cannot do this if you do not provide him with all the necessary information, including:
- How often do you work out/go to the gym?
- How do you feel after a workout? What do you like/dislike about the training program?
- Do you always perform all the exercises provided in the workout? If not, why not?
- What, when and how often do you eat?
- When would I like to achieve this goal?
Your relationship with your coach should be based on mutual trust. If you cannot fully trust your coach and/or you are worried about his possible reaction (which makes you feel guilty, unworthy, etc.) – it is best to find another coach.
You become faster, stronger, and more flexible …
When starting any exercise program – you will most likely feel the changes at first.
If the progress stops after 2 to 4 weeks – this is a sign that the program is not working or it is not suitable for you.
Signs that the exercise program suits you and works:
- The same workouts seem to get easier over time.
- You can train harder and/or longer.
- Your body recovers more and more quickly after training.
- Movements that were very difficult at first can be performed more and more easily.
- You experience a surge of energy, an improvement in mood and, as a rule, feel better after training.
- Your state of health and general well-being improves.
- You look forward to the next workout.
Post-workout muscle soreness is NOT an indicator of training effectiveness
Severe muscle pain after a workout is not always a sign that your training program is good.
The purpose of training is to achieve a specific result, not to make you disabled for the next 2-4 days.
The main prerequisites for the effectiveness of training programs are consistency and regularity. If the current workout knocks you out of the rhythm so much that the next one has to be postponed, or you are not able to train 100% – this program will not be very effective.
When starting a new workout program during the first few weeks after an intense workout, the muscles are likely to hurt. However, after your body adjusts to the new style of exercise, muscle soreness should decrease significantly.
Figuratively speaking – during training, you have to turn on the “alarm signal” so that the body starts to adapt to the new situation (load), but you certainly do not have to “destroy” it.
It should be added here that it is necessary to distinguish between:
- Muscle soreness which is mainly caused by microscopic damage to muscle fibers during physical activity. This soreness is a normal sign of muscle adaptation/growth that usually occurs 24 to 48 hours after exercise.
- Pain which is caused by injuries, which occur as a result of excessive exertion or improper execution of exercises.
The difference between muscle soreness and injury-induced pain.
Usually starts the day after exercise and disappears within 24-72 hours.
Lasts more than a week.
It hurts when you move but doesn’t hurt when you don’t.
It hurts when you are still and hurts even more when you move.
General, dull, tight pain and stiffness.
Stinging, burning, sharp, stabbing pain.
How long does it take to figure out whether the training program works or not?
Good question 🙃
Summarizing the most common comments found on the Internet (Instagram, TikTok …), the answer may be something like this: “It takes 2 weeks to feel the results, 4 weeks to see the results, and 8 weeks for others to see the results.”
In fact, this is not quite true because:
- Beginners are likely to feel the results much faster.
- Visual changes are prioritized in this assessment, but changes such as improved mood, increased confidence and improved health markers are not even mentioned.
- It is also difficult to determine when exactly the results of the training will become visible and felt because the result only partially depends on the exercise program itself – a lot is also determined by what you do and eat when you are not in the gym.
However, if you don’t see or feel results after 4 to 6 weeks of consistent work – something in your training program needs to change.
What if you train hard, but there are no results?
The results of your workout are made up of:
- Your lifestyle (stress level, sleep quality, etc.).
- Your eating habits (what, when and how much you eat).
- Your genetics and health status.
- The training program (read more about the specifics of training for women HERE).
You may have the best exercise program ever created, but if the first two items don’t support it, you won’t get the results you want.
Therefore, if you train hard, but do not get the expected results, reconsider your eating habits, because at least 80% of success is achieved in the kitchen.
Or seek help from a nutritionist – you will achieve optimal results faster.
Enjoy your workouts, and be healthy!
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