Exercise, Health & Fitness

The 3 Golden rules of weight training consistency: How to stick to your program

Shawn Dodd is an accredited personal trainer and Youtuber from the UK. His passion for fitness led him to start up his own personal training business, which has allowed him to lend his knowledge to many clients around the UK – myself included.

He has been kind enough to talk about what the three golden rules are for finding consistency in your workout endeavours. Take it away Shawn.


Health and fitness is a marathon. In fact, achieving ones fitness goals can be likened to running a marathon through an obstacle course. Life is full of challenges whether that be work demands, education, family responsibilities, and other troublesome events that surface as we progress through existence.

That being said, this begs the question “how can we optimise the time we spend in the gym?” or more importantly “How can I optimise the time I spend in the gym?”. This is where careful programming comes in to play.

Training programs have been around years – whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced lifter, having a structured approach through programming is an essential tool in your kit. You may be wondering, “What is the best program” or “How do I know what program is right for me?”. In this post we will consider three points that you can use when deciding what type of program is best for you.

Consistency/Adherence

Adherence – attachment or commitment to a person, cause, or belief.

Consistency – consistent behaviour or treatment.

Before you start any program, this is the most important question to ask yourself. Can I consistently run and stick to this program for a long period of time? No matter how good a program is, if you cannot stick to it consistently for an extended duration if not indefinitely, forget it and move on.

If your schedule only allows you to get to the gym 4 days a week, what good is a program that requires you to train 6 days a week?. The simplest illustration that comes to my mind is regarding work. In the short term, working 7 days a week would result in a higher income, perhaps completing your work load quicker. But how long could you stick to working 7 days a week? Overtime fatigue would set in, tiredness, lack of motivation – you could not continue to do so consistently, in fact your work itself would begin to suffer.

The relationship between this and programming is extremely similar. You might start a program that in the short term produces quicker ‘gains’ from training 6-7 days a week, but if you cannot stick to the program consistently. Ultimately that program is useless to you. That is why consistency is at the top of our list, and is the main factor to be considered when choosing how to structure your training.

Progressive Overload

The gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training. 

Though this term may be unfamiliar, there is nothing new with the principal of progressive overload. As you can see from the definition at the beginning, progressive overload requires gradual stress on the body over time, the body adapts and requires new stimulus over time in order to continue changing.

That is why this point is so important and we have years of research and data to back this up. When it comes to building your physique, the simplest way to do this via programming is by either increasing the weights used, sets performed or repetitions completed overtime. Yes there are other methods such as decreasing rest time between exercises, but the ones listed above are in my opinion the most simple and convenient to track and follow.

So when choosing a program to follow, ensure it has simple progressive intensities pointed out through the list above. Does this advice apply to just building muscle? Absolutely not. Whether your goal I to lose fat, build your endurance, etc – in order to continue getting better you need to slowly add more physical stress to the body overtime.

Is it enjoyable?

Although listed last, this is just as important as the other factors mentioned. No matter how structured, detailed, or advanced a program might be – if you do not enjoy it, your progress will be seriously hindered in the long run. This all links back to consistency and adherence.

What program will you find it easier to adhere to: The one that it most ‘optimal’ and challenging, but you do not enjoy? Or the program that still has the foundations in place listed above, but you actually enjoy using for extended periods of time? I guarantee you will be able to train for longer and with far more consistency on the program you enjoy doing. Longevity is the basis of continual progress.

Summary

To summarise – when choosing a program, it is essential to consider whether it involves these three points mentioned, it could make or break your progress.


Don’t forget to subscribe to Shawn’s Youtube channel and get in touch with him on Doddshawn7@gmail.com for any enquiries regarding coaching, program design and nutrition.

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