Dave Donaldson is a celebrity personal trainer and a Discount Supplements Ambassador. Here he writes EXCLUSIVELY for our Blog about How to Win Your Body with a Winners Routine.
All too often people don't realise that one of the main reasons they fail to achieve results, or even noticeable ones, is because they fail to keep a routine. They've been up and down more times than a yo-yo and on and off their diet so many times that their head is spinning.
When it comes to training, human nature is to fight it a little. We find excuses to not go to the gym and of course procrastinate. But having a routine and building one that works, is the most crucial weapon in your exercise arsenal. Routine is everything to make big changes to your body, but also alter your mind set too. It's only when you have seamless consistency in your training that real results can actually happen.
#1 Be a planner... a proper planner
It sounds obvious, but mapping out your training periodically is important. If you're the kind of person who just shows up and wings it a couple of times a week... then that's not enough to make any noticeable changes. The same way you will have action plans for work, it's the same way you need to approach your training. A 7 day break down that cycles through 4 weeks, is simple organising but it will keep you constantly progressing. Opposed to the latter choice, many people just 'aim' to do a couple of sessions a week.
One of the most basic and well suited training plans for anyone to adopt is the 5 day, 3 and 2 split. On this routine you will be doing 3 weight training sessions and 2 dedicated cardio sessions each week, for example:
Monday - Legs and Abs. Wednesday - Chest and Arms. Friday - Back and Shoulders. Bridged with Tuesday & Thursday cardio sessions. It's simple, effective but more importantly organised. If you're not planning your training, you're not involved enough in your training for it to pay off properly.
Having a plan always promotes muscle memory.
#2 Simple works
Being creative with your food is great. Lots of fun and keeps the variation too. However, if you're trying to maximise fat burning i.e, really trying to get your body fat down and bring out real results, you have to fuel your body with foods which work.However, foods are simple and regular.
As you diet, your stomach becomes more sensitive to what you put in. This is partially to do with your stomach decreasing in size as you produce more of a calorie deficit i.e stop eating as much. By constantly eating different foods every day, even if they're still healthy, you run the risk of effecting blood sugar levels from different food types all the time. Constantly switching up your food can lead to poor digestion cycles and even produce stress hormones too.
Optimum fat burning will take place when your body knows what to expect next. Foods which are simple to your body and timed routinely, will tell your body when to break down enzymes in preparation to digest your food. Variables like this are why, even when you're eating healthily, your results don't follow the speed of your hard efforts. Too much variation can be counter intuitive if you want faster results, or personal bests aesthetically.
#3 Active rest days
We all know the benefits of exercise, but how much exercise is too much? Active rest days are simply days you take fully off training. The reason for resting is to allow your body a well deserved break, but more importantly to get ample time to recharge.
A lot of people say you "can't out train a bad diet". But what we also need to remember is, you 'can' out train your results. Sleeping and general rest help your muscles grow. During exercise we rip and tear thousands of muscle fibres and if not rested properly they may not get a chance to heal 100% - preventing optimum growth.
Active rest days should be scheduled in weekly. There are a few ways people do them, but ultimately it's trial and error to see which works for you. Some people will train 5 days on and two days off. Alternatively, 3 days on, one day off. From exercise you will be able to gauge your own energy levels during the month and build the perfect routine for this. We always recommend you get at least 1 full rest day per week.
#4 Don't build your ultimate playlist, build 7
Music and motivation go hand in hand. Having an awesome playlist with all your favourite tunes on stand by is a must. But how can you get more from your music to benefit your training?
Well, your music should revolve around the types of training you have planned.
Typically most people will make 1 play list with 30 of their favourites and go. But we've found, over a monthly period, it's actually more beneficial to have several. A playlist should be on hand for every occasion and type of training. Think big and think variety for this too.
Weight training, running tracks and even..lark. pre training music. Yes, getting, 'into the zone' is as important as training itself, you should always choose music that focuses you and separates your thoughts .. engage, and leave the world at the door.
Luckily in 2016 we have access to great music apps like Deeza and Spotify. If you don't know already, these apps can create customised playlists around you. They take your likes and generate favourites in one place. Even though these apps do cost for a premium service, they do all the leg work for you, with thousands of choices too. Which is priceless for getting up and going.
The power of some old school classics pumping, will be the difference when doing those reps and sets. Have music lists for every occasion and update them regularly.
#5 Be a lark or an owl
One of our common expressions is, "are you are lark or an owl?" meaning, do you come to life at night time like an owl, or in the morning like a lark. It's important to know how you work, as this will allow you to gauge your energy levels and sleeping patterns properly.
Some people like staying up late and catching a bit of TV. Some people like an early night and early rise. Equally some of us don't have the choice too choose... long working hours can also dictate what patterns your body will take. Being on top of this and anticipating life style variables is crucial to keeping continuity in training. Your body works wonders in a routine, and rewards you back with real results.
But If you're under-rested, this can affect your stress levels leading to higher body fat levels. Whereas with continual and uninterrupted rest, your body need not stress and will do the functions you want it to do: burn fat, grow muscle and get stronger. Choosing a block of the year where you can be more serious about training is a wise thing to do. If you're caught up in wedding or party season, you might want to reconsider what your objectives are for that time.
Apply these steps and get ahead on your training, but more importantly get results.
You can always be the best version of yourself, you just have to want it bad enough. Get in your zone, be humble and be happy. Focus on yourself, get a little selfish sometimes and get the best results of your life. It's that simple - David Donaldson