The following pieces of information will hopefully provide a tremendous amount of value to anyone actively looking to change their physique, or continue on with a healthy lifestyle. As fitness professionals and personal trainers this information is what we get paid to execute on. You might ask, “Why?” Why give this info for free to anyone willing to listen? The answer is simple-HELP. We want to help as many people as possible get to their desired body form, as effectively as possible. In our realm of expertise (sub athletic performance advancement), when someone comes to us, they want one of three desired outcomes.
3. General Conditioning/Maintenance/”Get in shape”
Each part of the “Create Your Own Fitness Routine” 5 part blog series, is designed to pinpoint where you specifically need help and give strategies and tips to set you up for success. We sincerely hope you enjoy this and use it to your advantage! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. With that said, please enjoy Part One of Create Your Own Fitness Routine: Programming.
Creating Your Own Fitness Routine Part 1: Programming (Reps)
Putting together a workout routine is not as difficult as one may imagine. One of the very important factors that comes into play when designing a workout routine is the rep scheme at which one will work at for a given period of time. Rep schemes are chosen based on an individual’s specific goals; and as the subject begins to make improvements rep schemes can be modified or changed.
The time period in which a specific rep scheme is being utilized (from beginning to end) is called a mesocycle. Mesocycles typically range from 3-8 weeks (one and a half months on average), and dictate the individual’s goal during the time of training.
The mesocycle is one of three units of time used to put together a Periodized Training Program. The other two units of periodization are Microcycles (typically a 7 day period consisting of specific exercises on certain days) and the Macrocycle (which represents the overall duration of the training program from start to finish, usually 1-2 years).
Programming rep schemes are done during the planning of a mesocycle. Certain rep schemes are utilized to achieve specific goals. Below are three goals with rep schemes accommodated to reach each one.
Resistance Training Rep Scheme: 12-15 repetitions (low-moderate weight)
Simply put, weight loss is achieved when one burns more calories than he/she consumes. It is important to understand that weight loss is most effectively met through combining cardio with resistance training, rather than the typical approach most people take: just doing cardio. High repetitions (12-15) are performed when weight-loss is the main goal of the mesocycle at hand.
Goal: Weight-gain/ Building Mass
Resistance Training Rep Scheme: 5-10 repetitions (moderate-heavy weight)
Contrary to the above method, weight-gain is achieved when one consumes more calories than he/she burns. Building lean mass is best achieved through moderate-heavy resistance training at 5-10 repetitions. Heavy lifting is necessary when the subject’s goal is to build size/muscle. The heavier the weight lifted (with proper form), the more muscle fibers are recruited, which results in a more effective increase in strength. One important thing to note when lifting heavy is that the lower your reps are (and heavier the weight lifted), the more of a shift towards strength gains you will have rather than size. In other words, if one lifts very heavy for 5 repetitions, with the weight being too heavy to do any more reps, there wont be much of an increase in size as there is in strength. This means that building lean muscle mass should incorporate sets higher than 5 but no higher than 10, with occasional heavier sets (5-6 reps) to induce both strength and weight-gain.
Goal: Maintenance/ General Conditioning
Resistance Training Rep Scheme: 8-12 repetitions (moderate)
Sets of 8-12 repetitions at moderate weight are ideal when one’s goal is to maintain their current level of fitness. Resistance training at the maintenance phase involves lifting at a moderate intensity. Moderate intensity at 8-12 reps can be understood as a weight where slightly more than 8-12 reps are achievable, but the subject stays within the given rep scheme. Since the person training is not failing at 8-12 reps, there is no over-stimulation of the muscle fibers being recruited (like there is during the weight-gain phase, where heavy weight is being utilized). Maintenance phase mesocycles are especially effective for athletes who are training for a short period of time prior to a big event that they need to be able to perform optimally for.