Which training program is best for me? This is a question that is always asked from the new gym goers and those who have some experience in the gym.
Let’s face it, there is no “one program fits all” that will help Joe 1 and help Joe 2 achieve the same results.
Everyone is built differently and will respond to stresses (exercise) in their own way. Some training programs are more effective than others thanks to scientific research that provides information to prove why the said program is better.
To provide the program, we must see what are your goals:
- Do you want to increase your cardio?
- Build muscle?
- Get strong?
- Be more powerful?
- Improve general fitness?
These are some questions you should ask yourself before consulting with a trainer. Depending on your goals, trainers can provide several different programs that can cater towards your end game and produce the results you want.
In a Powerlifting gym, for example, most of the members are looking to get stronger to produce a bigger total in competition. If they start a program that increases cardiovascular fitness and hypertrophy (muscle building), they will not have the results they want.
A more efficient training program for them to use would be either a linear, undulating, or nonlinear program. What are they?
A linear program is a simple progressive plan that gradually increases intensity and decreases volume as the weeks pass.
An undulating program is a little more of a flexible program for those who are either training in sports or can only meet with a Trainer for a set number of days per week. The trainer will focus on having various microcycles within the macrocycle to continue working with the client; This will help the client avoid hitting a plateau or become too fatigued due to working multiple compound lifts every session.
Finally, a nonlinear program is written for advanced level athletes because of its focus in various energy systems.
Each training day will focus on a single energy system; this is where it is crucial to figure out what are the goals of the athlete/client and what they want to achieve. For example, an advanced powerlifter would need to focus on hypertrophy and strength; on their first training day of the week, they will hit a volume microcycle (hypertrophy) where they will hit a lot of reps at a prescribed percentage of their 1RM (rep max). In the following session or third session (depending on days of training), they will hit a strength microcycle where the reps will be few but their prescribed weight will be at a higher percentage of their 1RM.
Is there a training program that can meet your goals?
Yes! but in reality, there are a lot of programs available that can suit your needs, but there will be some that will be more efficient than others. Do not be afraid to ask what kind of programs are available for you, do not simply accept the trainer’s program just because he/she is certified for it. Ask questions! Why is this program good for me? How will I benefit from it? See if the trainer really knows his/her art and is not giving you rubbish in exchange for your money*.
Educate yourself! Question the program, but above all, be active!
*not every trainer is out to get you for your money, most are dedicated in their profession and are passionate in learning, teaching, and helping others become healthier or more athletic but in every profession, there is always a snake in the grass.