by Daniel Lucas

One of the biggest mistakes people make with regards to their training program is that they don’t have one. As the new year begins, many people just head to the gym and do the same thing over and over again, or randomly try something different every visit. Committing to exercise is great—it’s a lot better than doing nothing–but without a plan, you’re much more likely to get bored, hit plateaus, maybe get injured, and ultimately not reach your goal.

Training, as opposed to just exercise, is about having a clear plan to make progress towards a specific goal. What’s your goal? Your goal may be to build muscle, increase running or biking speed, prepare your body for a new sport, recover from an injury or to simply get strong enough to climb stairs without getting winded. So the goal dictates the plan, and that plan should be for a specific period of time, which will affect your training variables. There are many variables that can affect your program: Intensity, volume, load, stability, duration, rest, intention and type of movement.

Having a program gives you the benefit of scheduled rest, properly paced load and intensity gains, and knowing the desired effect your work will have on your body. It will also allow you to clearly measure your progress. If you’re going to put in the time to exercise, invest some of that time to creating a plan for yourself. Execute the plan for a limited period of time—say 4-6 weeks–and then assess the results that it delivered. Shifting your mindset from someone who just does more of the same old thing to someone who trains towards a goal will produce better results, help you in taking focused rest, raise your level of health and exercise knowledge and keep you focused on short-term goals while having the ultimate “big-picture” goals always in mind.

There are plenty of resources out there so start your research today. At Nimble Fitness, for example, we offer a thorough, complimentary assessment session with one of our owners. It is a great tool to use to build your program, with the help of a really knowledgeable professional. After the session, you’ll know where you currently stand with regards to programming, alignment, strength, flexibility and energy. You’ll also have a much clearer idea of how to get to your goals.

This year, have a plan!