Are You Training Without a Plan?

Don’t just guess

As a general rule, successful people don’t just shoot from the hip. They know exactly what they should be doing and when it needs to happen. They have goals, they have deadlines, and they follow a blueprint to a T. If they fall short, they’re often still better off than someone who just guessed their way through. Plans are what separate hopes & dreams from reality, and those who understand that fact are some of the most successful and influential figures the world has known. As you can probably imagine, planning applies to fitness as much as it does business, finances, or education. Do you have big dreams? Do you aspire to look like Arnold, or to perform like Hercules? Well my friend, you’ll need a plan for that.

Avoid the trap

It might not seem like it, but if you rely on your instincts and just feel it out every time you hit the gym, you’ll likely gravitate to the same few exercises over and over like a trap. After a while, training like that can lead to some serious imbalances and injuries (unless you know exactly which exercises to compliment with each other). Hurting yourself will set you right back to the beginning, and after a lot of hard work it’s just not worth the risk. Do yourself a favor, and find yourself a solid plan.

Track your progress

There is a little jewel of wisdom that asks, How can you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been? I’m sure you’ve heard it, and it’s certainly applicable to fitness. Having a training plan and recording each workout is crucial for knowing where your limits are. When it comes to exercise, knowing your limits is the entire basis for making progress. When you make a habit of recording your workouts, you’ll be able to watch your progression know exactly which areas are up to par, and which are lacking. You can also begin to make safe progression, which leads to the next point; the principles of resistance exercise.

The principles

The principle of overload states that in order to change, the body must be challenged beyond its current ability. A well designed plan will prescribe just the right stimulus in order to overload the body without overdoing it. Again, it’s easier than you think to push it too hard and hurt yourself. Maybe you’ve experienced that yourself. You should always do the least amount of work possible to achieve your desired results. The body will quickly adapt to the new training stimuli, and when it does it will require an even greater impetus in order to cause change. For you, that means new personal records in your power, strength, endurance, flexibility, and body composition. This is what the principle of progression is all about. It states that in order to continually see results, the body must be subjected to continual and progressive overload. By following an exercise program that includes a safe pace of progression, you will continue to get better indefinitely — or until you reach your genetic potential (and let me say; if you reach your genetic potential, hats off to you my friend. You’re way past beast mode, and you probably hold a world record or two.)

There are probably a thousand other reasons to follow a fitness plan, but I hope that now you’ve got a better idea of why you should be using one. So for your safety, for your sanity, and for your gains; if you’re not following a workout plan now, you should definitely get on one and stick with it.