This morning as I was going about my workout I watched another member of the gym mindlessly walk around almost every piece of equipment until he decided which one he wanted to use. I have almost never had this issue as I have always invested in a coach and always had a program to follow.
Having a plan creates purpose.
It creates consistency; and it creates a source of accountability.
Now there isn’t really a “good” or a “bad” way of programming, however, most of the popular theories about why certain training works revolve around Hans Seyle’s theory of the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). According to the GAS, training works because of the process known as the stress-recovery-adaptation response.
In essence, an outside “stress” aka “training” is applied to the body, the body rests and recovers and becomes stronger, so that next time you do the same exercise the body is strong enough to prevent further damage – this is called adaption. Once adapted to that exercise and that weight, the body is able to handle small increases in stress or more weight and the cycle continues.
So if you are coming into the gym each session and just doing whatever you feel like doing, or “mixing it up” every single time you train, then your body has nothing to adapt to, it has no reason to progress and grow. Sure you might have some small increases in muscle and you might get a little stronger, but your ‘gains’ will be limited. Many people underestimate the necessity of good programming, but in my opinion it’s essential. If you want to achieve a specific goal, why would you want to spend half of your session procrastinating and trying to decide what exercise to do, what rep range to work in, and how many reps to do?
Training progression works by a process of stress -> recovery -> adaptation. We introduce the stress, we recover, and we come back stronger again and again.
Invest in a program specific to you; and most importantly, STICK TO THE PLAN!