How to plan and program your week
Why do we plan?
We plan to keep on track with our goals, we plan to keep ourselves accountable, we plan to measure our growth, we plan to make sure we are progressing, we plan to stay focused. The list is endless.
I'll be honest and tell you that when it comes to training I have major OCD. Everything is planned at the beginning of the week for that week. It's in a diary, its quick and easy for me to look at, I can look back to the previous weeks and see what workouts I did, what exercises I did, the weights I lifted all the way down to timings.
Now personally if I don't do this I fail, I fail to stay on track. Everyone has their own way of planning. Now ask yourself how many times have you tried to plan your schedule and ended up failing to stick at it, do you know the reason why?
Could it be any of the following?
You never stuck to it to turn it into a habit.
You overcomplicated the situation.
You didn't have a clear goal of what you wanted.
Now let's break each point down.
Chances are if you do something once you're most likely never going to stick to it. It's not as if I woke up one day and thought to myself I'm going to spend the night before my work week writing down each and every workout that I'm going to do and just so happen to do it all the time. No, I had to keep on doing it consistently every week. Creating a habit doesn't happen overnight, It takes time and at times you're not going to want to do it. Your workout may not look as good one week, or you may not workout that much as you would like some weeks what's important is that you wrote it down, you went to the gym and you followed it it through, you were consistent and you did the whole thing all over again the following week. We all have time for the things we want to do in our lives, but sometimes if you don't don't fit it in to your schedule you won't make time for it. So, even if your plan or program may not look amazing from the start. Stick at it, each week you're going to improve and get better.
Majority of the time we like to think that we can do an awful lot in one week, I know I do. We get excited and cram in 2 training sessions a day, a mobility session, a stretch session or endless amounts of "accessory work" thinking that we will be able to sustain this amount of physical exercise alongside our busy lifestyles. If you haven't got a clear goal or direction in which you are heading towards you will end up overtraining and overcomplicating each workout, without realizing you will end up burning out and before you know it, you're back to square one which can look like... "I've taken some time off from training, I'll plan my week next week". Thats because you went at it at 100mph and then crashed. Simplicity is key when it comes to training, otherwise you will end up running around in circles and aimlessly spending hours on training, never reaching your goals. Next time you are writing out your program or weeks plan ask yourself, do I really need to do all of this? Is there a workout here that makes no sense that I could probably change for something else or give it a miss? I understand that programing is hard, not everyone can do it, especially if you haven't got a background in training or have a coach. However that doesn't mean that you can't try or plan your week. It can be something so simple as picking out a day and time in your week and allocating that time to stretch, or train your legs, or run, lift weights or whatever the goal might be. There is your starting point! Keep It simple, effective and measurable. This moves me on to my third point.
What's your GOAL? when it comes to programming, you have to keep things as simple as possible. Yes you can chase multiple goals at the same time but you have to understand that the process for you may take a little longer than it would if you had your mind focused on one. Especially if the goals you have in mind each contradict each other. for instance trying to get the front splits whilst wanting to increase leg mass and size. The goal has to be SUPER CLEAR so it can be broken down into small micro goals which can be planned over certain duration. I have written a blog on goal setting and I highly recommend that you read it if you are struggling to set yourself clear goals. Let me give you an example. Let's say you want to do the front splits. 1. It is Specific (It's very clear) 2. It is Measurable (You can clearly measure it and see when you're in the front splits) 3. It is attainable (You can most likely achieve this) 4. It is Relevant (Remember anything is relevant if it's your goal and you WANT IT) 5. It can Time Based (You can set yourself a time period of when you want to achieve this goal. The amount of effort you put in to achieving it is down to YOU. No trainer, no coach is going to get you there but yourself, you equally have to work as hard) Once you have your goal then: 1. Find your starting point. How far are you off the ground are you at the moment? 2. Find what areas need to be worked on for you to go lower. 3. Put it into your plan! It could look something as simple as this. Week 1: Stretch 2x per week. Focus on my hamstrings. Week 2: Stretch 2x Per week. Focus on my hips and quads. Week 3: Stretch 2x Per week. Try getting lower Week 4: Stretch 2x Per week. Whilst actively looking for exercises that could help benefit me and get me into the splits.
Focus, keep it consistent, don't give up.
"An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing" - Dale Carnegie