In my experience, following a program always gets you better results than just going to the gym and doing whatever you feel like. I’m not saying you need to buy a program though. You can just make one up yourself – make sure you write it out and stick to it :) You will get better results.
But how do you know if a program is not right for you?
1. You’re Not Getting Any Results
This one’s a given. I would say that you need to give any program 4-8 weeks to see if it’s giving you the results that you’re after. But one thing you also need to keep in mind is that weight loss is 70% diet so the workout plan may no be the issue (if your goal is weight loss and you’re not achieving it). You may also need to look at your diet.
Make sure you track your results! And not just physical results (although I highly recommend tracking these too!). If you have started lifting and your goal is strength, keep a record of how heavy you could lift for an exercise and compare that after 8 weeks. If your goal is running, time how fast you can run 5km and then compare again after 8 weeks. If your goal is just to feel happy and energetic, write this down in a journal and keep track of it!
If you’re not seeing any improvement in the areas that you want to improve, it’s time to quit and find a program that better suits you.
2. You’re Not Getting The Results You Want
Any program can give you results. But are these the results that you want???
I see SO many girls who tell me their goal is to lean out their legs and reduce some of the bulk, but they are doing heavy leg days twice per week. This isn’t going to get you the results you’re want. If your goal is lean legs and your program is making your legs bigger or more muscular, it might be not the best suited program.
If your goal is to get really strong and you’re doing cardio and barre classes, this isn’t going to get the same results as heavy lifting will. There are better ways of exercising to reach this type of goal.
It’s important to have a goal. When I first started exercising, I didn’t know what I was doing. I just tried a few different things, did what everyone else was doing and what other people told me to do. I didn’t think about my goals or the fact that my training was not helping me reach these goals.
If your training is NOT giving you the type of results you are after, then you need to try something else.
3. You Don’t Like It
If you don’t enjoy the workouts you’re doing, then don’t do them! Maybe you’re only doing the workout because your friend is or because it’s popular. It’s so easy to get peer pressured into working out a certain way these days.
If you don’t like working out at the gym and you’re following a gym based weights program, then don’t do it. If you are following a program with running and you hate running, you don’t need to do it! If you have an active job and you prefer lighter workouts like yoga rather than something really intense, do that!
You need to actually like the workouts you’re doing, otherwise you won’t be able to commit to it.
It is OK to quit. This doesn’t make you a quitter. It means you have realised that the workout plan isn’t for you and that it’s time to try something else. I think this is smart! You need to do what works for YOU.
I don’t think there is any one workout plan that is better than the rest. Even though I would love to say that my workout plan is the best, I know that it will not suit everyone. The best workout plan is the one that works for you! What works for one person may not be the best thing for you, and that’s OK!