How To Structure Your Training & Nutrition To Reach Your Goals (And Maintain A Social Life)
Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Structure Your Training
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is not having a training split. A training split is when your workouts throughout the week are broken up by muscle groups or body part. It’s important to know how many days you are training per week because that will impact what days you should train certain body parts. If you are only training 3x a week because you are really busy or want to include other modalities, then you should have more of a total body approach so that you train muscle groups and movement patterns multiple times a week. (Total Body/Total Body/Total Body) The more days you train in a training split, the more dedicated you can be to a certain part of the body. If you train 4 days a week you can do upper/lower body splits. (Upper/Lower/Upper/Lower) If you train 5-6 days a week you can get more defined with muscle groups or push/pull combos. (Push/Pull/Legs/Upper/Lower) or (Push/Pull/Conditioning/Push/Pull/Conditioning) But if you don’t know how many days are in your training split then you won’t know how to program variation from day to day. Another mistake I’ll see is that people get married to the idea that a training split must exist within a 7 day window. What happens if you are too busy for Day 4th, 5th or 6th day of the week? A lot of people will revert back to Day 1 and miss out on developing the muscle groups programmed in the back half of the week.
If you miss a day, it’s okay.
Just make sure the next day on your training split. Think of your training program as a ladder instead of marrying days in your program to days of the week. Both of these problems create a lack in the structure of your training program. To use an analogy. If you divert all of your forces to the West and South gates, you leave your North and East gates weakened. This creates gaps in your training and makes it more likely for you program to fall a part and for you motivation to crumble.
Structure Your Nutrition
How hard would it be to budget your money for the month if you didn’t know what rent would cost? I have $10,000 and rent might be $2,000, $6,000, or $1,200. What should I save? Who knows!? The same thing goes for food. If you take an average adult male, their Basal Metabolic Rate is ~2,000 calories. Multiply that by 7 days and you have 14,000 calories. If your body is going to burn 2,000 calories a day and your activity burns another 500 calories a day, you give yourself a budget of 17,500. To lose weight you need to eat less than 17,500 and to gain weight you need to eat more. Step 1 Track your food in MyFitnessPal for two weeks to see how many calories you consume each week and then track whether your weight goes up or down. Step 2 Create 3-4 staple breakfast, lunch, dinners and snacks. I won’t get into the specific foods in this blog, but take an 80/20 approach to foods you like vs. foods that are natural and from the earth. By creating go-to staples, you increase your familiarity of their nutritional profile and you remove the decision-fatigue of wondering what you’ll eat each meal. Step 3 Structure you meals to match your training windows. Everybody is different, but my first approach is to frame the workout with adequate fuel pre and post. Here’s three templates you can use. Morning Workout (5-11am)
40% of your calories in the am
10% 1-2 hours before and 30% after
20% for lunch
5% afternoon snack
35% pm meal
Afternoon Workout (11-4pm)
35% of your calories in the am
40% in the afternoon
10% 1-2 hours before and 30% after
25% pm meal
Evening Workout (4-8pm)
20% of your calories in the am
40% for lunch
10% afternoon snack 2 hours before
30% pm meal after
This gets even more granular with macros, supplements, and varying schedules. That’s where it’s nice to have someone to coach you through the nuances. Apply for the Down Dog Athletics Coaching Program here. Step 4 Look ahead in the week to any events that would require you deviate from your staple meals. Date night, weddings, sporting events, work dinners, etc. These are the equivalent of vacations, shoes, or a new set of golf clubs. If you do a good job budgeting your money, you’ll create space to enjoy yourself later on. If you don’t do a good job with budgeting and spend randomly, you’ll likely be over your budget.
Structure Your Time
When I played college baseball, I didn’t miss a single workout. There was one time I was 2 minutes late which earned me 60 minutes on the versa climber with the strength coach, but that was it for slip ups. What made it possible to hit each session? The training sessions were planned for a specific time. That time was burned onto the calendar and nothing else happened during that time. Your training sessions need to be like 500lb blocks on your calendar. Nothing moves them. It is your time to work on yourself and it’s the most important thing you can give yourself each day. To put it another way. If your boss put a 1:1 meeting on your calendar, would you skip it? When you put your training on your calendar for each day, it needs to be a meeting with yourself that you don’t miss. If you give yourself vague times when you’ll work out, you’ll find ways to push back the gym 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 2 hours, 2 days, and so on. Instead of training, you’ll find yourself wasting time and eventually using the excuse “I don’t have time to train.” You are the master of your calendar. Make time. Show up to the gym with a plan. Execute the plan to the best of your ability. And leave. I promised that I would show you how to create structure with your training and nutrition to reach your goals and maintain a social life. When you have a training plan, a consistent diet, and time-blocked training windows, you create space for the fun stuff. A training plan gives you off days. A consistent diet gives you the opportunity to stay on track, but live a little. A time-blocked training window ensures you don’t waste time. In short discipline equals freedom. -Paul
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