One of the key principles of progression in the gym is to change your programme often. Changing up your programme will cause sustained adaptation in the body. So let’s say you have been on a hypertrophy programme for the past 6 weeks with your average rep range of 10-12, what you can now do it move onto a functional hypertrophy programme of 6-8 reps for 4-6 weeks. You don’t need to throw out the baby with the bathwater and abandon everything, certain key predictor lifts can remain on the program which will ensure that you can track progress between phases.
Taking a week off training will allow your body to repair and rebuild and you will come back stronger and have much more training drive to push yourself harder through your workouts. On your de-load week you don’t have to stop training all together but in fact just reduce your intensity by 30-40%. Every time that I have a taken planned rest I always feel like I am much stronger when I lift heavy again.
3. Reduce your calories
So for the past 8 weeks since you started your programme, you have been on the same calorie plan. At first your body fat % was coming down nicely but now it seems to have slowed down. Now what I find works with myself and my clients is to drop your calories by 20%. This normally kick starts the fat burning response and gets things going again, after this phase I will reassess and might look to add food back in strategically to support intense training.
4. Re – evaluate your goals
Around the middle of a transformation or towards the last 4 weeks I normally find that some of my clients lose sight of their end goal and tend to go off track a bit, missing training sessions and cheating on their diet. Therefore what I normally find works is to sit down with them, reevaluate their goals and discuss why the goal was important for them in the first place and what it will mean to them to achieve it.
5. Strongman training or HIIT
If you are starting to get a bit bored of your weights programmes, what you can do is add in some strongman training or HIIT. Strongman training incorporates all of your major muscles groups and is a great tool for fat loss. The same goes for HIIT. This type of training can be very challenging but also is a great tool to enable you to push yourself beyond your comfort zones. Strongman training and HIIT are something that I don’t start out with initially with most clients as they are too demanding. Most clients need to learn basic exercise form first and many overweight clients would benefit more from steady state, low impact cardio or longer less intense intervals during the early stages of the their training.
UP Hong Kong Trainer, Adam Milner