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How to Design Effective Training and Nutritional Programs for Optimal Results

Multi-ethnic group of men and women working out

Recently, I posted a video called "Weightlifting is Not Just Lifting Weights". In the video, I refer to the thought and planning that goes behind any successful training plan. While it is true that a person can just "go throw weights around in the gym" this will not lead to the same level of success that a structured training plan will. The same idea applies to the nutritional strategy that a person pairs with said training program.

How to Navigate the Complexities of Creating Training and Nutritional Programs

When considering a training program a person must consider a number of things, including goals, current physical ability and limitations, exercise experience, and life responsibilities. Any one of these things can, and often do, get lost in the mental process for the average gym goer. He or she often does not consider relevant programming details and therefore suffers limited progress and potentially frustration, undue aches and pain, and quite possibly other negatives, such as injury.

Let us consider the work responsibilities of two people as they relate to creating a training program. For a moment, consider that all other things are equal, meaning that work type is the only difference. For example, if we are considering two 170-pound males, we assume that both are equal body fat, equal ability, and that all other things in life are equal as well. This is never the case but for this example we will assume this. All other things being equal, a person who works a labor-intensive job will need to be more careful in the level of exercise he takes on compared to the another man who works at an office job (non-labor-intensive). Why you ask? Isn't it obvious? Well for some people it is not, so the simple answer is the man who engages in heavy manual labor will need to be more concerned about overworking his body and the potential for fatigue or injury, which can exhibit themselves in both physical and mental ways.

There are ways to counter the heavy manual labor factor and allow that man to get in quality workouts. That is not the scope of this brief article. The point is that many people do not consider other physical efforts enough, if at all, when creating a training program for themselves. The same is true for other factors as well, again including variables such as exercise experience, current physical ability, etc.

Balancing Act: Designing Effective Training and Nutritional Programs for Optimal Results

I find all too often that client do not understand the importance of moderating the level of exercise. This can go in two directions: too much or too little. Some clients want to do minimal exercise or have minimal intensity, not understanding that this will not allow them to reach their goals in a timely manner. They often think that losing 30 pounds in 30 days is achievable with a couple of light workouts each week. This is false in any healthy context. Other client are all-in at the beginning, wanting to workout six times a week for two hours a day, not understanding that this can, and most likely will, lead to physical and mental fatigue, especially if this person does not follow a sound nutritional strategy and get plenty of rest. This is also one of the quickest ways to experience an injury.

Many things need to be factored in when creating a training program. The same is true for a nutritional program. Many people think they know what lifting weights consists of and think they know what healthy eating is, yet often they have no real basis for their thoughts and so-called "facts".

Let us look at nutrition. In this day and age many people understand that eating a well-balance diet of lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains while avoiding process foods is advantageous to health. Unfortunately, that is where the knowledge stops for most people. These folks often do not consider the importance of caloric need, portion control, macronutrient intake, micronutrient intake, nutrient (meal) timing, and hydration. Other factors weigh in as well.

Let us consider the diets of two women. All other things between the women are equal. Let us assume that the caloric intake is also the same, with the ladies consuming 1,250 calories per day. Now at a glance it might seem that these ladies should be the same weight and body composition, all other things being equal. However, they may not be the case. If the first women consumes half of her daily calories from fat while the other only consume a quarter of her daily calories from fat, then the second woman will likely be leaner than the first. This is a simple, yet apt, example.

Consider the same two women but imagine that their fat consumption, and diet composition overall, is the same. Now consider that the first woman consumes all of her calories in two meals, breakfast at 8:00 am and dinner at 6:00 pm, while the other woman spreads the calories appropriately through the day. What will likely happen? The first woman will likely retain more fat and suffer energy peaks and valleys, if again all other things are equal between the ladies.

Misconceptions in creating training and nutritional strategies abound. These can lead to a number of issues. Now, this might see intimidating and might put some people off two the planning process, but it should not. Individuals can create solid programs by themselves or with the help of an experienced program creator. Obviously this can be with a personal trainer, but it can also be with another member of them gym who has a solid experience level or through the use of a training and nutritional manual laid out by an educated and experienced personal trainer or coach.

How Can You Simplify Creating Effective Training and Nutritional Programs for Yourself?

If you are just starting out, have been working out for a while but are not achieving results, or if you are not moving forward in your training endeavors for some reason unknown to you, you probably do not know enough about what you are doing. You need help and there is no shame is asking for it. While ego can sometimes get in the way of people, putting the ego aside and getting quality help can allow you to achieve the results you want. Money may be an issue as well, but spending the money now may lead to a happier healthier life down the road.

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