Starting your fitness journey on the right footing is probably the single most important thing that you can do to set yourself up for success in terms of both physical and mental health.
But how the hell are you meant to know what to do?!
The internet is filled with more bad programs than good. Everyone has a conflicting opinion. And, while you have instantaneous access to some of the greatest minds in strength and conditioning, you probably have absolutely no business attempting to run their programming.
So how do you go about choosing the right program for you as a beginner? Well, I believe there are three main points to consider:
- Movement capacity:
Be honest and truthful about what limitations you have physically. If you can’t squat, let alone squat pain free, then you have no business jumping into a squat dominant powerlifting cycle.
Your number one priority should be looking for a program thats going to focus on developing your movement capacity by working you towards achieving full range of motion in the fundamental movement patterns i.e. the deadlift, squat, lunge, vertical press, and horizontal pull.
*I recommend looking for a program that runs a unilateral phase, followed by a bilateral phase.
Always remember that greater ranges of motion mean more muscles recruited for a longer period of time. This will always result in fuller strength and muscle gains!
2. Is it progressive :
No matter what physical attribute you are trying to achieve, never forget that your body is an evolutionary machine that is designed to learn how to do more with less. The body constantly adapts to the stimulus that you give it. So to force the body to constantly adapt in regards to either strength, muscularity, or fat loss, you need to make sure you are increasing the demands placed on your body week by week.
Practically put, if you swing a 16kg kettlebell for 5 x 20 in week one of your programme, then the following week you would be looking to swing a heavier kettlebell in order to drive continuous adaptation.
You can progressively overload the body in a number of ways but my favourite ways are –
i. Increasing weight lifted per exercise
ii. Increasing total number of sets done per week
iii. Increasing time under tension per rep
Obviously there is an element of ‘going by feel’ when you first begin training. But the more advanced you get, the more dialled in your overload parameters become. Right now, I would suggest just focusing on increasing the weight moved per exercise, and when then plateaus then starting worrying about increasing total volume.
3. Is it fun? :
If you love constantly varied, high intensity workouts, then Crossfit is for you. If you love linear progression and picking up heavy stuff, then powerlifting is for you. If either of the above don’t sound like your jam… then pick literally anything else!
There is no ‘one way’ to be fit. But there are plenty of ways to sabotage your own success by doing something you hate, just because you think its expected. If you love running, then get a ‘couch to 5k ‘program. If you just want to dance the night away, join a zumba or salsa class. I promise you you will get far better results doing something you enjoy rather than trying to stick out something you hate.
If you want more help in starting your fitness journey, and putting together a progressive plan bespoke to you please fill out the form below.
Please respect that I value your commitment, so please value my time. This is not a form for time wasters, or individuals who lack commitment. Only if you are serious about change, should you fill out this form.