When I examine their current regiment, I often find they are using a program that looks like it was designed for the exact opposite of the desired results.
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Whether they got the program from the latest edition of Muscle and Fiction or from a friend who got it from the Internet, it's just not the right program for their level of experience, ability or current goals.
While there are a few magazines and websites that put out some decent training programs, most of what you'll find from these sources are designed for a fictional client who may or may not look anything like you — or even have the same goals and lifestyle.
I've known guys who have used the "workout of the month" by a top pro-bodybuilder, and got nothing but injured during the program. This program might work for a professional bodybuilder who uses steroids and has all day to rest and recover, but for the average drug-free Joe who has a career, and family demands, and barely gets seven hours of sleep at night, it's just a bad idea.
If you really want to get consistent results from a training program, you have to gain an understanding of basic exercise science. I know that studying exercise and fitness sounds about as entertaining as listening to Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino on the podium at a celebrity roast, but you'll find that the more you understand, the more empowered you'll be to get the results you want whenever you want to.
There are a number of resources that will get you on the road to an understanding for what you want to accomplish.
1. Certified personal trainer course from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (www.nasm.org) is one of the most complete and up-to-date PT courses available today. At the end of the course, you will have gained a thorough understanding of the NASM's proprietary Optimum Performance Training method or OPT for short. Even if you never go into the personal training field, you will know what kind of program to draw up for what goal and most importantly why that program works. Plus you can impress your friends with all kinds of new vocabulary.
2. Effective Strength Training by Douglas Brooks. This is one of the best "nut and bolts" strength-training program design manuals ever written. Douglas Brooks is one of the most educated and respected fitness professionals in the world. I've had the opportunity to participate in some his workshops, and I ended up getting all of his books (I know I'm a nerd). You can find this book on www.humankinetics.com, or www.amazon.com.
3. Essence of Program Design by J.C. Santana. One of my early influences, and innovator of what we call "functional strength training," Juan Carlos Santana lays out the training methods used at his famous IHP Training Center in Florida. I've adapted some of his methods and systems into my own with outstanding results. This book is especially useful for athletes looking for a competitive edge in their sport. You can get it at www.performbetter.com, or on J.C.'s site www.ihpfit.com
4."New Rules of Lifting" by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove. One of the books that has changed the way many men think about strength training. It, you'll learn why traditional strength training is ineffective for most men, and what exercises are the ones that will get you the most bang for your buck. "New Rules of Lifting" for women is also available. Find it in the store at www.alwyncosgrove.com.
Get one or all of these resources, study up, and start getting the results you want faster than ever, and with fewer training "hiccups" along the way. The more you know the easier it gets to make things happen. So get reading, and get results!
Chad Smith offers ways to get off that couch and get fit and healthy. He is co-owner of Home Team Fitness, LLC, a Hagerstown Personal Training company. For information, visit www.hometeamfitness.net, or find him on Facebook www.facebook.com/hometeamfitness.