There are a million different workout plans and they all promise great results.
How can you know if a plan you’re considering is any good?
Many details go into a great plan, but I can give you a few ideas about what to look for in a general fitness program, without making you take a class in biomechanics.
A 5-Year-Old’s Metaphor
My son made a target for his toy bow and arrow. It kind of looks like the logo for Target stores. He made each ring of the target worth a certain amount of points.
The bullseye is worth 1,000 points. The next ring is worth 300. The outer ring is worth 108.
Then there’s the rest of the giant piece of cardboard. The massive brown area that isn’t painted. If you hit here, you’re essentially missing the target completely.
Wanna know what hitting that part is worth?
Of course, he assigned the points randomly. Still, I can’t help but think he was subconsciously making a metaphor about the fitness industry. (He’s profound like that.)
So much of what people sell you misses the mark completely when it comes to helping you achieve your goals. But they market their ideas as being the most valuable tool you could come across.
“Lose 40 pounds in 20 days.”
“Get ripped in 8 1/2 minutes a day.”
Or the opposite approach but same idea, “Try this crazy, insane, military training program and look like a supermodel in a month.”
Don’t be fooled.
What A Good Plan Is Not
If a plan offers results that sound unnaturally quick and easy, stay away.
That’s not to say it definitely won’t work. You might even know someone who’s tried something drastic and lost a boatload of weight in a short time. The problem is, a quick fix almost never lasts, and can even damage your metabolism.
On the flip side, a plan shouldn’t be overly difficult.
Yes, you’ll have to work hard. But a workout that leaves you curled up on the floor, dry-heaving from the intensity, does not mean it’s an effective workout.
Being sore does not mean you are getting closer to your goals.
There might be times where you do push yourself to your limits, and you’ll almost certainly get sore from time to time. They just aren’t good indicators of an effective workout plan.
Elements Of A Good Plan
First and foremost, a good plan helps you reach your goals.
Anything said after that should be flexible and specific to the reason you’re working out in the first place.
Short of an individualized plan like I do for my online coaching clients, you can follow a generic plan and get results if you have the discipline to see it through.
For general health and fitness, here are a few things to look for:
First decide how much time you can commit to working out each day, and each week, and what you’re physically ready for.
Shoot for 30-60 minutes per workout, at 3-5 days per week.
Don’t overlook this aspect of a plan.
If a plan takes more time than you can commit to, or starts at a level too advanced for you, or even if it’s too inconvenient based on your gym setup/layout, you should find something else.
There’s no use starting something you won’t be able to finish.
You need to be lifting weights 2-4 times a week on average. It is one of the best things you can do for most aspects of your health. Women: no, it will not make you bulky. It will make you toned and defined.
Bodyweight exercises (pushups, pull-ups, squats, etc.) count as resistance training. I recommend using weights to some extent, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with bodyweight resistance training.
This can be as simple as using a treadmill, bike, rower, etc. Or it can be a little more outside the box, such as prowler pushes, hill sprints, or a workout involving a form of martial arts.
Certain styles of weightlifting can even count as cardio. The goal is to get your heart rate up consistently throughout the workout.
Regardless, you should be doing some kind of conditioning at least 2 times a week. It can be in the same workout as your resistance training, or on a different day.
To Be Clear...
Just because a workout plan isn’t set up exactly as I described does not make it a bad plan.
As I said before, everything can change based on your specific goals.
I can’t break down every single plan that exists on the internet. Some are good and some are bad.
But many good plans will be designed similar to what I laid out. So if you just aren’t sure, find something that resembles these ideas and that’s a good place to start.
Back To The Metaphor
When you are going for a certain target, the important thing is to keep trying.
You might start out only getting 108 points. But work at it awhile, and soon enough you’ll be hitting the 300 point mark. Eventually you’ll get a bullseye.
That’s not as exciting as telling you there’s a “million point quick fix.”
But in the real world, missing the target doesn’t count for squat. You know it, and so does everyone else.
I don’t make convoluted workout and nutrition programs that look sexy but don’t deliver results. I create simple programs that get you results through hard work, done consistently over time (with my help).
I’d rather you look sexy than just have a sexy looking program.
Even if you don’t sign up for my online coaching, make sure whatever you do to get in shape isn’t promising results too good to be true. Find something simple, and it will likely be more effective.
Any questions, please ask! I’ll always answer honestly and without conditions.
In the meantime, have fun hitting your targets!