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There must be consistency in direction.

May 8, 2013

Does it feel like you live at the gym throughout the week, every session lasting up to 2 hours, doing the same routine but without any results or improvements in either reaching goals like running a set distance under a set amount of time or bench pressing your body weight a certain amount of repetitions?

In addition to this you also run a pretty decent healthy diet but still standing there stomping at the same point?

Something very important in training and getting the results you’d like, no matter what they are, is Progressive Overload which I have been speaking about a bit before.

Even if you go the gym and improve in different areas from time to time, it should not take very long time if you are doing the actual exercise with correct technique.

Here are four areas to think about changing to more easily reach those goals of yours!


Sometimes the Frequency is too often or not enough – the first is usually the problem for most people.

Look into your current exercise programme and look into it, is it really efficient in terms of how many days you train in relation to how many exercises/how long you train each time?

Let us take an example, a very common one:

Guy is going to the gym 5 times a week, using a split programme which divides the body’s muscle groups into different days. He also does low intensity long duration cardio after each workout for 1-2 hours and on the 5th workout he will be doing jogging for 1 hour instead of the walking.

Guy does not really get any real solid improvements in terms of either strength and muscles or loss of body fat he is also struggling to increase his pace whilst jogging.

  • What’s the first thoughts about this setup?

To me it’s simple, Guy is putting way too much overload in terms of frequency on his body and different systems which will not allow his body to properly recover and make any necessary adaptations to be able to handle all the stress placed upon it – (Stress = training)

If Guy would strip this programme down, to something similar:

Strength training – 

  • 3 sessions per week – a basic 3-split with a focus on the big lifts such as Deadlifts, bench press, Squats, Over-head press
  • Stick to 3-4 sets of 6-12 repetitions
  • Rest around 1-2 minutes between sets and exercises

Cardiovascular training

  • 2 sessions per week in total
  • 1 session focusing on speed but with a shorter duration and distance – working closer to the lactate levels
  • 1 session focusing on distance but with a bit slower speed to enable him to go a bit further both in distance and duration of the run.

Most probably this will benefit Guy much more than what he was doing from start, notice that all the long duration slow-paced cardio sessions are gone with only 2 cardiovascular sessions each targeting a different “main energy system”

Then keeping the strength training regime a bit more simple and cutting down on the amount of sets and deleting any unnecessary exercises that does not really do any good for a regular person – such as Triceps kickbacks with dumbbells…


Give the last few weeks of workouts a thought, have you been remotely close to near maximum performance? Pushing yourself to complete those last repetitions or finishing those 5 KM’s under those 22 minutes?

If you’re rarely close to go outside your own comfort zone, this is when exercise actually starts feeling challenging and pretty hard on you – and if you would like to improve your body, this is where you want to put yourself.

Nothing is going to happen if you’re having a splendid time at the gym feeling pretty.

Intensity is controlled by changing all the other variables spoken of here, of course it won’t be intense if you use 35% of what you actually are able to lift and then are chatting to your friend for 6 minutes between each and every set.


You can always change this variable up, either by just slashing the time you have to complete your workout – i.e.  from giving yourself 60 minutes, try finish it up in 45 minutes without compromising too much on the weights and technique.

Or increase the Time each set lasts for, or for how long you run continuously/increase Sprint durations


This variable is not the most important one if you ask me, as I like to stick to the same type of workouts and exercises making up those workouts.

What you can do, is to change let’s say Continuous running to High intensity Intervals or that leg press to Barbell Back Squats, which will increase the intensity of the workout in a pretty darn good way.


Now give take 5-10 minutes and reflect over the current programme you are using, and take a look on these 4 variables. I promise you that is at least one thing you can change to spice your workouts up and get some of those results/ reach any goals a bit quicker!



From → Training

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