Training with a Friend

Our friends are always the ones we spend time with on weekends, in the evenings and even at the office, so why not bring that relationship into the gym and both benefit?  Training with a friend always brings out a higher level of accountability as well as an added edge of competitiveness!  This can serve as the perfect source of motivation to begin the fitness journey and have a lot of fun while you’re at it!

Who’s Your BFF?

Who’s your Best-Fitness-Friend?  What about your best friend who’s been telling you he/she needs to get to the gym?  A co-worker?  A family member?  Couples can have great success training together as well.  Bear in mind, just because you’re friends doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make great training partners.  When choosing a training partner, it’s important to find a person who has similar fitness goals as yourself and is at a similar fitness level.  This will allow the training sessions to flow better, making them more efficient, and you’ll get more from your one hour.

Sync Your Schedules and Goals

Making a plan of attack on times to meet, as well as coordinate your specific fitness goals is in my opinion, just as important as the work out itself. The work out schedule needs to be convenient for both parties so that there are no excuses.  Sit down together and plan out a schedule; put it in your calendar just like any other appointment, and then stick to it.  Make a pact to help each other stick to it.

Take some time to individually identify some SMART goals and then review them together to ensure they are in sync. And here’s the best part about training with a friend:  use the buddy system to hold one another accountable and push each other to reach those goals.  This is a proven recipe for success!

Dare To Suck!

What I mean by “dare to suck” is this:  you will always be what you’ve always been if you always do what you’ve always done.  Step out of your comfort zone and use each other to get fired up and complete your mission. Don’t be afraid to challenge each other and dare to suck while doing it!  The important thing is that you’re daring to go beyond your limitations, and this is when the magic happens.  In terms of fitness, this is how you get results!

Study after study show that support is the key to success in anything we do!  Getting healthy is no different.  Here are some of the many benefits of training with a friend…

  • Extra motivation and accountability
  • Fosters friendly competition – to make each other work harder!!!
  • Fun and enjoyment
  • Saves money OR allows them to train more regularly
  • Encouragement and support
  • Improves relationships
  • Increases chances of success and gets results!
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Periodize Your Weight Loss for Maximum Results

Starting a new exercise program can be an exciting prospect.  It’s a step towards taking  responsibility for your health and well-being.  You’re all revved up with the expectations of this new dream body that you’re going to achieve.  However, after a few weeks into this program, do you find that your initial enthusiasm fizzles a bit?  Do you find the predictability of doing the same routine and the same 10-12 reps for weeks or months on end boring?

Well not only are you bored, but, by this point your body is experiencing adaptation to the exercises and is no longer feeling challenged.  In other words, you’ve reached a plateau and you’re no longer receiving any benefits from your current exercise regime, continuing with this program would be like spinning your wheels, a waste of effort.  This is a very common draw back of a traditional non-periodized program.

Most pre-designed generic programs you find online or in magazines lack any variability, they are simply cookie-cutter programs, a one-size-fits-all solution.  The only way to have success using a generic program is to customize it and periodize it to fit your particular goals.  This is where the help of a certified fitness professional familiar with periodized program design comes in handy.

Periodization 101

To understand how periodized programs differ from other programs, you will need to have some basic knowledge of the structure and how it works.  Periodization refers to the breaking up of a long-term plan into smaller cycles or periods of time in order to manipulate volume and intensity.

The entire long-term plan is called the macrocycle (usually 6-12 months), which is then broken down into a series of smaller mesocycles (1-4 months).  The mesocycles are further sub-divided into microcycles (1-4 weeks).  It is at the microcycle level that all the exercise programming occurs and program variables (reps, sets, intensity, volume) are altered.  Each cycle has its own particular goals (conditioning, strength, hypertrophy, rest ) and the program variables are manipulated to accomplish those goals.

How is Periodization Different?

For the purpose of this article, we’ll look at 3 characteristics that set apart the periodized program from its traditional counterparts:  (1) regular program changes, (2) a systematic variation of program factors, (3) and the use of active rest periods where training workload is reduced.  All three characteristics are a form of variation, which are uncommon in non-periodized programs.  By changing up your routine in cycles, you’re facilitating continual adaptation and preventing plateaus, which leads to optimal health and fitness results in far less time.

Why is Periodization Better?

Periodization is not a new technique by any means.  It was developed in Eastern Europe in the 1950’s to train their Olympic athletes who, as a result, out performed their competition.  Since periodization is not a new technique, there is ample research to prove its effectiveness.  Today, periodization is used all over the world, however, it still seems to be a technique reserved for elite athletes and bodybuilders.  Much of the information available on periodization seems to be in reference to athletic competition and bodybuilding.

The question then remains, if this techique is good enough for elite athletes, then why is not used for everyone?  Why should a program with the potential to deliver such superior results be kept exclusive?

One reason could be that, although periodization programs are not particularly complicated to design, they are technical and time consuming and, perhaps, that’s one of the reasons why they are used for athletes.

The general population, however, could greatly benefit from the principles of periodization, when applied in a more simplified form.  This is exactly what seems to be the trend lately.  Certain principles of periodization (such as variation in training, active rest periods, continual adaptation) are finding their way into general fitness programs to offer people a chance to optimize their fitness results.  The periodization program design has proven to elicit superior results in body mass increases, body fat reduction, and strength gains as compared to traditional non-periodized programs.  Variation in an exercise program is the key to successful weight loss. The periodization method adds variation in a cyclical manner, making these programs interesting more enjoyable, whereby, the individual is more likely to follow through to a successful outcome.