The UEFP Workout Blueprint
To me, a good personal trainer is someone who can not only help get people in shape but educate them as well. Getting in shape is easy – it’s staying in shape that’s the tough part. As they say, teach a person to fish and they’ll eat for life. Well, I’m about to teach you how to train so you can keep those abs no matter what life throws at you.
Sure, I would love to have more clients (well, a couple more. I’ve actually been pretty busy lately). But the reality is, I can’t train everyone and some people have some sort of roadblock that prevents them from working with me.
They live too far. The work too far. They hate my 80’s rock music obsession. They don’t like my hair.
Fair enough. But more people in shape means better things for all of us. And while I can’t have an infinite list of clients, I want people to live healthy and mobile lives. I’m flattered that some consider me for their source of all things fitness related, so I thought it would be cool to share some of the concepts I’ve found works with my clients.
Now here’s my disclaimer: if you remember your high school statistics class, there’s this thing called the bell shaped curve. This means that most people – about 70% – will respond to this stuff….assuming you do it correctly. But there’s outliers. Not everyone responds perfectly to these concepts, and part of my duties as a personal trainer is to figure out each client’s unique response to training. Since you’re not my client – and you get to miss out on all my classic rock- your job will be to fine tune things for you own needs.
Oh, and here’s my second disclaimer. I tend to read a lot of peer reviewed research. It’s how I rock my Saturday nights. But this is training, and it’s rare to find long term strength and conditioning studies done that feature drop sets, sprints, and sled pushes. Most volunteers for studies don’t enjoy torturing themselves like that. So this stuff is considered anecdotal, as is most of the info in strength and conditioning. Just because you can’t read a study about it doesn’t mean it won’t work.
Okay. Rant over. Let’s talk training.
1. 4 hours a week. The clients that have the most success train at 4 hours a week. Sure, sometimes more works. And sometimes less does the trick. But a good rule of thumb is four good, hard workouts a week. Some people think “is that really enough?” but keep in mind that consistency is key. So it’s four hours each and every week. Being consistent will work far better than any 30 day extreme boot camp. Plus, you need time to recover, which is an often overlooked element in training.
2. Total Volume. To start, you’re going to want around 125 total reps per session. Less than that doesn’t seem to cause much of a metabolic disturbance, but keep in mind that clients are training about 3 body parts per workout. So a workout could look like this:
A1. V Bar Dip – 3 x 15, rest 60 sec
A2. Wide Grip Pull Up – 3 x 15, rest 60 sec
B1. Flat DB Fly – 2 x 20, rest 60 sec
B2. Low Row with Rope to Neck- 2 x 20, rest 60 sec
Again, that’s per workout. Not per muscle group.
3. Less Than 8 reps isn’t needed. Unless you’re some sort of extended set method, less than 8 reps isn’t needed. People with superior genetics do better with less reps. These lucky folks hit the genetic lottery and usual don’t need a trainer. So think 8,10,12 and even 15 reps per set. Some of these cool muscle building techniques will work.
4. Energy system work should last more than 10 minutes. I use to try shorter periods of conditioning in hopes that less time spent with the heart rate elevated meant clients would train harder. You know, kind of short and to the point. But that didn’t work. If you plan on rowing, doing intervals, jump rope, etc, start at 10 minutes and build from there.
So there you have it. This isn’t the complete means to developing the world’s greatest workout, but these principles will do a great job of elevating your fitness to its upper echelon. Whenever you veer of track, revisit these four things to make sure you’re not only getting in shape, but staying in shape as well.