I get this question all the time. The answer is really personalized. You’ve gotta ask yourself a few questions, then the answer will be clear.
- Am I training for a specific event?
- Do I want to put on more muscle mass/gain strength?
- Looking to gain weight?
- Wanting to lose weight?
- Lose bodyfat?
- Do I want to increase my flexibility?
Start here. Now, we’ll look at the questions, then give answers that will help guide you.
TRAINING FOR A SPECIFIC EVENT?
If you have an athletic event coming up, you’ll need to engage in a combined strength and conditioning program, with focus on specific activities to enhance your strength, endurance, power, and stamina for that event. You’ll be following a periodized program. For this, you’ll likely want to consult a certified strength and conditioning specialist.
If it’s preparation for a social event (wedding, reunion, etc), you’ll want to focus more on aesthetics. This would be full body strength training 2-3 times/week, coupled with 2-3 sessions/week of traditional cardio and metabolic style HIIT. For training like this, you’ll want to consult a certified personal trainer who specializes in preparation for specific events with time frames in mind.
DO I WANT TO PUT ON MORE MUSCLE MASS/GAIN STRENGTH?
The answer is generally yes for all things! That said, you’ll need to consider your basic goals. If overall strength and body change is the goal, then 2-3 days of full body strength training, coupled with 1-2 sessions/week of HIIT is the route you’ll want to go. You’ll want to consult a certified personal trainer who specializes in strength training and muscle gain.
LOOKING TO GAIN WEIGHT?
Believe it or not, this is a pretty common goal. This falls under the need to add muscle mass/strength gain category, but is a bit more specialized. Weight gain requires some specific dietary attention, as well as 2-3 sessions/week of strength training. You’ll want to keep your HIIT work to a minimum, with 1 session/week. Since gaining mass requires lots of recovery, this is really a less is more type of training. You’ll focus on basic strength moves that provide a lot of bang for the buck. For this type of training, you’ll consult a certified personal trainer who has experience with powerlifting and bodybuilding.
AM I LOOKING TO LOSE WEIGHT?
This is the most common goal, but it’s usually losing fat that you’re really after. You’ll want to have a core of full body strength training 2 sessions/week, with 2 sessions of LSD (long-steady distance) and HIIT training/week. While losing weight is an important marker for those who are clinically obese, you’ll be more focused on creating healthy habits, learning proper intermittent fasting practices, and performing daily movement sessions. For this type of goal, you’ll consult a certified personal trainer who specializes in weight/fat loss and body transformation.
The answer for almost everyone is generally yes. You’ll need to focus on learning how to eat, daily movement, strength/cardio/HIIT, and habits. This is the get healthy and then get fit program that most people should actually be on. For this type of goal, you’ll consult a certified personal trainer who specializes in weight/fat loss and body transformation.
DO I WANT TO INCREASE MY FLEXIBILITY?
Almost everyone can benefit from increased range of motion. In fact, flexibility is joint and movement specific, so being flexible in certain motions is not an indication of flexibility throughout all motions. You’ll want to consult a qualified yoga instructor, a certified stretch therapist, or a certified durability instructor to create a program that is specific to your flexibility needs.
You’ll notice that there’s quite a bit of overlap between each goal, but I always encourage people to seek out coaching with a qualified instructor who can take out the guess work and guide you to where you need to be safely and effectively.
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