People who want to lose weight, or look more toned and muscular, have a really hard time actually deciding what exercise program to follow. With so many different options out there it can bend your brain trying to actually come up with the right program.
When, at the end of the day, there is really only one answer to this:
Any program that you will follow is the best program.
We look at it like this; Any exercise is better than no exercise, and a program (any program) that you stick to week in week out is the best there is.
This is not to say that there are not programs that are going to give better results than others, and there are certainly a million and one different approaches. But here at Lean Ape we have designed programs that are going to give sound results for everyone. And that don’t take up hours of your time. Which is important for both a hardgainer and anyone else for that matter.
Personally I have yo-yoed over decades between working out and then giving up on it. I simply seemed to find an excuse and then stopped. And any benefit I gained was lost very quickly. But things are different now, and the same goes for Alexis. We have programs that work, and work quickly. And the results mean that we stick to the schedules.
And at the heart of what we found is that each person simply must find it in themselves to continue with their exercise regime. And this means that it needs to be brief, enjoyable, and give quick results to keep motivation super high.
Define Your Goals
Our exercise programs are based around 2 things. Getting stronger and looking better. The side effects of this are that we get healthier, fitter and stay motivated. And adding some muscle then means it gets easier and easier to lose excess body weight, and the cycle continues.
It is important that you know what you want from your exercise program before you begin. There is no point running miles and miles a day if your goal is to build muscle. Conversely there is no point training with heavy weights if your goal is to run a marathon.
Our aim here is to help people to lose weight and to look good. To be lean, comfortable in your own skin, and to basically look damn great. And for this we have found that resistance training, either body weight or with weights, is by far the basis of the best exercise program to follow.
Stick With It
No program will give you great results unless you actually stick to it. This is by far the most important thing, any form of exercise is better than none, and any workout that you perform repeatedly is going to deliver optimal results. So whatever program you do decide upon it is imperative that you perform it as often as possible once you have recovered from the previous routine. But also never forgetting that training for even 5 minutes a week is better than nothing!
And this is one of the most important things people overlook.
This should never be used as an excuse to miss a workout, but many people end up ditching a workout routine due to overtraining. You should never perform your workout unless you have recovered from the previous session. Exercise puts a heavy strain on the muscles and the system as a whole. And working out again before you have recovered, and overcompensated for the effects of the exercise, is nothing but detrimental.
The criteria for this is simple, and is the approach we follow for every single workout.
If you are not improving in your exercise routine at least once a week then you are training too often. It is imperative that you try to improve at every session in every exercise that you do. It may mean an increase in the distance you walk or run. It may mean you walked faster. It may mean you have added weight to the bar in an exercise, or performed more reps, or even performed the same reps more slowly.
But progression is the name of the game for any routine that you would care to follow.
I personally now only train with weights every fifth day, any more often than that and I simply cannot improve the weight I use for my exercises. Every one is different and the longer you have been exercising for, and the heavier the weights that you use, or the longer you run etc then the less frequently you need to perform the routine.
Beginners should be performing an intense workout at least 3 times a week, and this may carry on for a year or longer. Or it may be significantly less. Everyone is different and reacts differently to exercise. This is why it is crucial that you listen to your own body and never perform a routine more often than is suitable for you. Not the guy next door, not the big Dude in the Gym who says you should training 6 times a week. Forget their advice, the best advice is the advice your own body gives you.
But at its simplest follow this advice:
If you are not making progress once a week at least then cut down the number of workouts you perform each week.
As long as you are not kidding yourself and have your nutrition sorted, and give each workout your all. I began by training 3 times a week on a full body routine and once progress halted I added in an extra rest day. When progress stalled again I added another rest day. And now I have found what is perfect for me. Training once every fifth day. And I make progress nearly every time I have a workout. And all it takes is less than half an hour. And I love it!
Keep a Workout Log
Keeping a workout log is vitally important. It allows you to gauge your progress and easily check on the goals you have to beat for your next exercise day. We write down every exercise done, what weights were used, or how long they were performed for, numbers of reps and total time taken for the routine.
It is a simple but amazing way to check how well you are doing, and it pushes you to improve each and every session.
I can’t tell you how motivating it is to look back over a years worth of training logs and seeing the amazing progress that has been made. It keeps the motivation levels very hugh, and it certainly makes you much more inclined to workout on a regular basis.
OK, I know. You don’t want to “really” see what you look like.
This is always the case if you are at the beginning of transforming your body. If you have a lot of weight to lose and are just starting out then the last thing you want to do is to stare at that big old belly of yours.
We felt the same way.
We took photos of each other and it was scary.
Where the hell did that come from? I am talking about the big wobbly bellies in front of our eyes.
But it was a hell of a motivator. Seeing what you actually look like really is the best possible way to make you transform yourself. To finally decide tochange what you eat daily, not go on a diet. And looking in the mirror is simply not the same as actually seeing yourself in your underwear in a photograph.
Although not great to look at before you have begun a program of exercise and dieting, it is a fantastic thing to look back on. We would take them weekly to begin with, and it keeps you excited. You can literally see the weight falling off you. You can see your muscles begin to look a little more toned. And it makes you want it even more.
So, take the photos, or better yet get someone to take then for you, and then begin the transformation.
And whatever program of exercise you do begin to follow, ours or anyone else’s, the most important thing is that it becomes a part of who you are. Not a chore that has to be performed, but something that you look forward to.
It is a way to challenge yourself, transform how you look, make yourself healthier, happier and full of pride that you can actually stick to something. And in no time at all?
You will look good naked!