How to Plan for the Gym
Okay. You got your gym membership. You have been going to the gym consistently a few times per week, but you are not seeing the results you wanted. It's time for a change this year. No more going through the motions. In 2019, we are going to create a game plan. As my high school coaches used to say, "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail". With that being said, let's start with step one. Figure out the plan that makes sense
Step 1: Assess what kind of workout fits your lifestyle
- I have 1-2 days to workout a week
- Try using a classic Upper/Lower Split
- This type of workout regimen requires two days out of the week. The first day requires all upper body exercises, mainly focusing on compound movements. Compound movements are exercises that engage several muscle groups (ie. Bench, Squats, Deadlift, etc.) In order to work efficiently, work pushing and pulling motions in either the first or second half of the workout for less fatigue. The second day is a complete leg workout mainly focusing on exercises such as barbell back squat, sumo deadlifts and barbell lunges.
- I have 3 days to workout a week
- Try using the Push/Pull/Legs Split otherwise known as PPL
- This type of workout regimen requires 3 days of either pushing exercises (Bench press, Tricep rope pushdown, Shoulder Press, etc.), pulling exercises (Barbell Back Row, Bicep Curl, etc.) and finally another day for legs. This type of split will allow for muscle groups to get isolated and hit more effectively while also letting the other groups to recover more effectively. To maximize the amount of recovery for muscles, try allocating one rest day in between each working day.
- I have 4+ days to workout
- Try using a complete or modified complete isolation split
- This type of workout regimen allows you hit each individual muscle group and maximize efforts into one specific day. There are different variations for a complete isolation regimen such as Arms, Legs, Back, Chest and Shoulders or Biceps, Triceps, Legs, Back, Chest and Shoulders. This regimen will usually leave you with the least amount of rest days but is more for someone who ideally has a lot of time to kill in the gym. An added benefit is that a lot of accessory work can be done for each muscle group as opposed to working just larger compound movements.
Step 2: Know how to plan these workouts during busy hours
- A proper workout should always start with the bigger movements first, then accessory work second. The bigger movements or compound movements, for example would be Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press, Shoulder Press, Barbell Back Rows, etc. Accessory movements are smaller exercises that isolate muscles, such as tricep rope push down or the lat pull down. Whichever workout you decide, make sure you do the compound exercises first and do them at 4-6 reps for 3-4 sets. If someone is using the last bench during the peak hours of the gym, try moving onto a similar exercise either with dumbbells or a machine. Compound exercises are made to make muscle groups stronger. Becoming stronger is synonymous with gaining muscle mass. If an individual focuses on becoming stronger in these compound exercises each week (With proper form and handling of course) the muscle gain will come.
- Accessory work should always be done last. Accessory work or isolated muscle group exercises should be done in the 10-12 rep range for 4-5 sets. These types of exercises really dig down and tear muscle fibers away, so it is vital that you take it slow and really focus on form and the amount of reps. Strength with these exercises will come in time, but gaining strength in compound movements are what triggers the most mTor (natural growth hormone in the body).
Step 3: Get Adequate Recovery/Manage Social Life
- Always give your body enough time to rest and adapt. We suggest planning your rest days ahead of time so you can find proper work/social life balance and continue to enjoy the things your normally do. By following these steps, you should be able to hack the gym and maximize your efforts! Results shall come.
- Make the correct protocols to recover properly
- - Stretch, Foam Roll, Get 8-10 hours of sleep, Actively recover (light aerobic exercises on recovery day to recover more efficiently).
Recapping Main Points
- Assess which workout fits your schedule
- Upper/Lower (2 days)
- PPL (3 days)
- Complete/Modified Isolation (4+ days)
- Plan ahead of time
- Compound movements first
- Have interchangeable exercises in case gym is busy
- Work on getting stronger 4-6 reps
- Accessory work second
- Focus on form 10-12 reps
- Give your body rest
- Adequate rest time is vital for physical growth and mental sanity
- Plan your social life in accordance to your rest days