The importance of consistency

Written by Mark Coles - Follow on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter

We can't stress enough the importance of following a set structure and remaining consistent when it comes to programming for physique development. We often have people asking us to design their nutrition programmes or provide diets, and they say that they want to do their own type of training.

The problem here, is that these people are often very inexperienced in the gym, and they jump between training styles based on how they feel each day.

It’s a very different story when someone sends you their training programme, and you can see the amount of training that they’ll be doing each day, the frequency, exercises and overall training volume. It’s very rare that we work with someone who follows their own training, but it is possible if the person has extensive experience lifting weights, and we know the level at which they train.

The type of person we're aiming this article at, is the person who really doesn’t know what they’re doing in the gym. They see the gym as somewhere to go to get motivation, and to participate in workouts that are designed simply around fun. Their days are very unstructured and inconsistent, however they think they know best when it comes to what they need to do in the gym to get results.

 

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Let’s look at an example for a female who goes to the gym every week, and she’s very inconsistent with her training set up. This will give you an idea of how this type of variety can be very difficult for a coach to work with.

Week A

  Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday Sunday 
Week 1 Zumba Swimming Pilates Free weights and cardio Pilates Day Off Day Off
Week 2 Spin Zumba Spin Weights circuits class Day Off 1 hour cycle with children Day Off
Week 3 Children cycling 1 hour Day Off Pilates Day Off Free weightrs Swimming Day Off
Week 4 Weights circuit class  Zumba Day Off Spinning Free weights Swimming  Children cycle 1 hour

Now lets’ have a look at how a 4 week plan might be designed if I was coaching this person, and if we were in control of all the training design and variables.

Week B

  Monday Tuesday  Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Week 1 Lower body weights Upper body weights Day Off Swimming (something that they enjoy) Lower body weights  upper body weights  Day Off 
Week 2 Lower body weights Upper body weights Day Off Swimming (something that they enjoy) Lower body weights Upper body weights Day Off
Week 3 Lower body weights Upper body weights Day Off Interval training
8 x 20 secs on, 120 secs rest 
Lower body weights Upper body weights Day Off
Week 4 Lower body weights Upper body weights Day Off Interval training
10 x 20 secs on, 120 secs rest 
Lower body weights Upper body weights Day Off

When the client reaches the end of week 4, a new training programme will be designed.

Immediately you should be able to see a very big difference in the structure of week A, each week has a different activity almost every day. On top of this, every day has a completely different level of energy expenditure, some are aerobic (cardio style), some are free weights based, some are very intense, and some are a very low level of intensity (Pilates). This means that the level of energy expenditure in week 1 will be very different to week 2. Week 3 has an extra day off training, which more than likely won’t have been factored in.

When someone hires a coach for results, they’re expecting to see changes to their physique week by week. With the set of up of training in week A, a good coach cannot guarantee the results at the end of each week. This is one of the reasons why so many people fail to make progress.

Now skip forward and review the training set up in week B. Each and every day is laid out, in a set format that runs through the whole 4 week period. Half way through, the intensity of the cardio is switched from swimming to interval training. The lower body and upper body workouts will have been sent to the client, and the coach will know exactly what they’re supposed to be doing, and can be very confident with the results at the end of each week. Put the training set up together with a detailed diet plan, and not only is the coach in control of the variables, he can change and adapt it to ensure results remain consistent each week. Training volume might be kept as it is, and a small diet change introduced, or this could be the other way round. If you tried to apply nutrition changes to week A, with the huge variability of training styles, you won’t be able to guarantee the physique changes.

If all you want to do is train to maintain, enjoy yourself, lose a few pounds or try different styles of workouts, be my guest and stick to the format in week A. If you’re honestly interested in results, you need to be looking at a similar set up to the one I have showed you in week B. You need a plan that is consistent, not only with your training, but with your diet set up as well. 

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