How A Personal Trainer Changes Their Training Plan
How I improve my fitness and nutrition.
Over the past week I’ve been lucky enough to get some quality feedback from my trial clients. Seeing their progress and development over the six-week period got me thinking about what I could do to change my personal fitness and nutrition plans.
As a result, I have decided to road test my own program. Over the next 12 weeks, I will be completing the Integrated Fitness & Nutrition Body Recomposition Program.
Just like all my clients, I need a to select a goal/s that I want to achieve. From there, it’s a matter of selecting the right strategy to develop a program to achieve these goals.
My goals are less about specific fat loss or muscle achievements, and more about improving what I am doing now. Once I have nailed down these three goals, then I will tailor my program to emphasis body recomposition (I’d say after a month or so).
GOAL ONE: Variety.
This sounds pretty basic, but nutritional variety is something that I can certainly improve on. It’s very easy to eat the same basic meals, especially when you know they fit your nutritional structure and goals well. Eggs, chicken, tuna, rice, etc are all great, but adding some other foods and recipes to the mix can only be a good thing!
The mind and body need variety. I would't do the same training program for three months, so why eat the same foods? I will be including at least one new breakfast, lunch and dinner option every week. They won’t be culinary masterpieces (I'll probably burn a few), but it will be enough to add some variety to my current regime and keep everything fresh.
GOAL TWO: Run.
Yes, that’s right. I will be running…
I can’t remember the last time a form of cardio had a place in my fitness plan. I’m really not sure where my cardio fitness is at (assuming it exists at all) and I look forward to finding out this Wednesday on my first run. In terms of running goals, working my way to a respectable 5km time will be my aim.
I had two separate conversations last week about how many people who look ‘fit’, but have no cardiovascular fitness at all. I don't have a problem with this, but it is interesting to contemplate that many people who promote fitness, aren't actually that fit. My old excuses of ‘cardio killing gains’, ‘making you small’ or 'running sucks' will be put to the test!
I will only be running once per week, as my main goals will be strength-based and will be achieved in the gym. It will be interesting to see if running has any crossover benefits to the resistance training, possibly by allowing greater work capacity as fitness improves. Alternatively, running might kill all my gains and I will never bench press again (unlikely, but please don’t).
I am not particularly looking forward to the first run, because I will lack fitness and it be uncomfortable (and I also don’t like being bad at things). However, I am sure this is the same feeling my clients get when embarking on a new fitness plan. So it will be a matter of sucking it up, getting it done and posting a picture.
GOAL THREE: Train harder.
Self-assessment led me to acknowledge the fact that I don’t always train that hard in the gym. I often waste time between sets writing back to emails or texts, talking to other people or waiting for the breakdown of a song. From now on, phone is on airplane mode in the gym (still need music, gym tracker app and Instagram #gym#selfie#jokes) and the headphones are in! This should improve both intensity and efficiency during gym sessions.
My resistance training will be aimed at strength and hypertrophy. I will be looking to progress on the heavy compound movements like squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, pull ups and dips. The rest of my training will focus on hypertrophy and getting a sweet pump towards the end of each session.
How will it work?
Training will consist of five gym sessions and one run per week. My gym split will include two chest/back sessions, two leg sessions and one shoulders/arms session. I enjoy training these muscle groups twice per week and find my body (and many clients) respond well to this style of training.
Running training will be fairly simple to begin with - just run. Once I can gauge my non-existent fitness, then I will incorporate some more advanced training methods to fast-track my 5km time progress. I will also add a couple of very short conditioning sessions (rower, bike, etc) onto my gym workouts to facilitate fitness development.
The nutrition plan is nothing too complex. I will be eating around 3000kcals (don’t try this at home) on training days and less on rest days. I don’t want to get too hung up on exact macronutrients, but I will be eating a ratio of roughly 3:2:1 carbohydrates, protein and fats over each day. I will be doing some cool things with nutrient timing depending training loads and times, but I won’t tell you about that just yet!
Coffee – one coffee per day before workout. This might be hard, especially when working long days or having café meetings. However, I didn't usually drink more than two coffees per day until now, so this should not be too challenging overall.
Green tea – one per day, probably in the morning. Green tea is a popular coffee substitute, due to the caffeine content without the calories. I’ve had people tell me they got over their caffeine addiction by replacing coffee with green tea, but it doesn’t work like that...
Water – aiming for 2L of H2O per day. I find this fairly easy to do in the warmer months and should have no issues achieving this.
Everyone loves supplements and often ask me what I am taking. I will be keeping it very simple to begin with, and then maybe expanding later on. Please don’t use these supplements because I am, get some advice as to what suits you and your needs before spending money on nutritional supplementation.
Protein powder – I will be taking one serve of whey protein isolate during an intra/post-workout shake. I may also consume a shake on rest days, depending on hunger feelings through the day. However, I don’t like consuming protein shakes on an empty stomach, as I’d prefer to eat a meal.
Glutamine – I will be taking 5g of glutamine in the morning, with lunch, and post-workout. Glutamine has been promoted as an anti-catabolic amino acid, however now it is being used to aid gut health and digestive functions. I will be using glutamine for the digestive benefits and have previously found it to be useful for someone eating high volumes of food.
Creatine – I will be taking one serving of creatine twice per day (in the morning and pre-workout). Creatine is a well-researched and proven nutrition supplement for strength. Creatine can also cause water retention, which is an important consideration. Somone might lose 1kg of fat but gain 1kg of water weight from the training, leading to no weight change. Alternatively, someone looking to gain weight might put on 1kg from water retention and mistake this for new muscle mass. Either way, just remember that water can be retained, although it is lost quickly once supplementation ceases.
Fish oil – I will consume one fish oil tablet three times per day (with meals). For a big male doing resistance training five times per week and one run, fish oil may be beneficial to maintaining joint health under this heavy load. Fish oil also contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.
This plan will require some effort on my behalf, but there is nothing extreme about it. I am looking forward to implementing these changes and monitoring my response. This will allow me to further identify what strategies work for me in terms of training, nutrition and supplementation.
I will keep anyone who is interested updated on the blog, with a weekly summary and any relevant updates. If you like pictures, I will be on Instagram @integratedfitnessnutrition and using the hashtag #IFNbodyrecomp. If you like words, but no more than 160 characters, I will also be on Twitter using the same hashtag.
Wish me luck and I look forward to sharing updates soon!