Pillar #5 – Listen To Your Body, Evolve Your Training & Diet Based On Needs
Have you ever noticed that no two experienced lifters train the same way? Why is that? The simple, but obvious answer is that each lifter is unique.
Over the years, successful lifters have learned to evolve their training style based on needs. They didn’t follow a cookie cutter template, but rather made changes based on body feedback and results.
Some trainees find that using a higher volume is too much to handle, while others made faster progress using a higher volume of sets. Some trainees make rapid progress using slightly higher rep ranges, while others find their progress groove after lowering the number of reps per set.
Instead of jumping from program to program to program, most seasoned iron vets have molded a program to fit their physical and mental needs. Part of this, believe it or not, involves enjoyment.
You might find rest-pause training to be a perfect fit, while another lifter enjoys training with a high volume of low rep sets using an extended period of rest in between. Or perhaps leg presses bore the living snot out of you, but walking lunges fit your bone structure better.
Each of us is a completely unique physiological package. We have different sleeping patterns, work demands, stress levels, coping mechanisms, recovery abilities, body types, bone structures, etc. It is far better to evolve your training based on what works and doesn’t work; what feels good and doesn’t feel good, then to just blindly try to follow some program designed by Lifter X.
Programs are a starting point. It’s ok to try programs, but you do not have to remain chained to them. Take what works from each program, discard what doesn’t.
Click over to any weight training forum and you’re likely to find several lifters remarking: “I have decided to use Smolov/the Texas Method/Doggcrapp/whatever.” One to two weeks later you typically hear: “I decided to dump (whatever workout system) because it was not right for me.”
Instead of trying to intelligently morph these programs to fit their specific needs, the lifter attempted to blindly follow the workout protocol, hoping everything would feel perfect. This is insanity.
Instead of dumping the program, our lifter should have assessed what about the program wasn’t working, and made changes. This is called training evolution.
Program hoppers continue to hope and dream of finding the perfect program. The “perfect” program doesn’t exist. Your needs are always changing. Instead of seeking perfection, learn to make adjustments.
If 4 sets of an exercise feels like it is too much, try 3. If six reps on the bench press feels uncomfortable, try 8. If 30 second rest-pause work feels impossible, try 45 seconds. If you can’t recover from the 10×10 protocol of German Volume Training, reduce it to an 8×8 and see how that feels.
Understand that I am not telling you to avoid trying new programs. Not at all. But if these programs don’t feel right, instead of dumping them after 2 days, try making minor changes. Evolve the program based on your unique needs.
Learning to evolve your workouts will help maximize gains and minimize injuries.