5 Ways To Get The Program Right
5 Ways To Get The Program Right
By Myprotein Writer Francesca Calvert
Training has become a revolutionary, Post-Olympic fitness regime in gyms all over the world.
The all-round fitness concept consists of not only the exercises you plan on doing on a day-to-day basis but also a variety of other factors, including your diet, sleep, frequency of training and recovery.
In this article I have narrowed these down to 5 areas, briefly outlining how to perfect your training program, no matter where you are at in your journey.
The training program will vary greatly at every gym and for every athlete with individual goals. However, every athlete should be performing high-intensity functional movements that are constantly varied in every training session – it is a simple vision with phenomenal results.
A typical programme for a athlete would look something like this:
(How much you do on a daily basis will differ, depending on the level of athlete – this also may or may not be split into multiple sessions):
Strength (usually a type of squat or press)
:Back squat 5 x 5
Skill practice (gymnastic based movements)
2 Muscle Ups and 5 toes to bar – on the minute, every minute for 10 minutes
:Snatch or Clean and Jerk drills
WOD (Workouts of the Day)
5 rounds for time of:
– 10 thrusters (40kg/60kg)
– 300m Row
Each movement will vary from day to day, but the basic content will remain the same in terms of strength (squat/press), skill, Olympic lifting and some sort of WOD.
Some coaches/athletes may overcomplicate the program, especially the WODs, and this is where programs are going wrong.
The main aim of WOD’s is to keep the intensity high, as without intensity there are no advances, therefore it is important to keep a high percentage of your WOD’s simple.
For example, perform couplets (2 movements) or triplets (three movements) and focus on good movement, as strength work and skill practice can take place before or after the WOD.
With these simple program foundations put in place, athletes can then work their goals and preferences around them.
Diets will vary in athletes depending on their training goals – whether it is strength, weight loss or training for better health.
For a athlete, no matter what the general goal is, your diet should always fuel your training.
A general diet applies the simple rule that what you consume should be tailored to fuel your training.
Staple foods include:
– Lean meat
– Nuts and seeds
– Little starch
– Very minimal sugar
To summarise, lean protein, low-glycemic carbohydrates and good fats should be the base of a athlete’s nutrition.
A lot of athletes may prefer this diet as it avoids excessive consumption of high-glycemic carbohydrates, as these are known to spike your blood sugar levels.
Some athletes, however, will chose to add a little sugar into their diet, through protein snacks/shakes and also add pasta, potatoes and even bread as they feel this helps maintain their energy levels and calorie intake.
Athletes can easily fall into a calorie deficit in result of volume and intensity of training, therefore ensuring these calories are present in your daily diet is crucial.
As a competitive athlete, my daily diet looks something like this:
Protein pancakes with added strawberries, blueberries and a large glass of whole milk. (With this I will also take Omega 3 capsules)
– Myprotein Protein Cookie (chocolate orange flavour)
– A large glass of whole milk.
– Bacon, eggs and 1 slice of wholemeal bread.
– Myprotein Impact Whey Protein (chocolate flavour) shake mixed with
– 1tbs of Myprotein Creapure Creatine with water and
Steak with vegetables and sweet potato.
– An apple with peanut butter
– Myprotein ZMA capsules to aid sleep and recovery
The secret to a good diet is keep it to simple!
You don’t have to be a fantastic chef or be highly knowledgeable on food groups – my diet (above) is very easy!
Eat good quality foods and ensure your diet is keeping up with your training.
Not consuming enough good calories in comparison to training, can increase an athlete’s chances of being in the state of over-training. (See next, point 3.)
Feeling of fatigue, soreness and very slow recovery, aside from too much volume in training, could be the effects of a calorie deficit.
3) Are you over/under training?
The more of a competitive athlete you are, the harder it is to identify whether you are over-training or even under-training.
Does muscle soreness mean you’re over-training? Does lack of PB’s mean you’re under-training?
The human body is very adaptable to the stress and change you put on it, either physically or psychologically.
It has the ability to maintain balance and stability and this ability is known as homoeostasis.
Therefore, during training, whilst you’re putting different levels of stress on your body, it is fighting to maintain homoeostasis.
Under and over-training, in simple terms, is a performance decrease or performance block. How much or how little stress you put on your body determines the performance block.
This model shows a simple explanation of where optimal training lies between under and over-training. (Nackoul, 2015)
This next model show how the U-curve changes with the more experienced and competitive you become during your CrossFit journey. (Nackoul, 2015)
As this model shows, it becomes more and more difficult to identify whether you are in the optimal range. There is no secret to knowing, this comes with experience and patience and understanding your body. Listening to the needs of your body is one of the key factors to getting the program right.
High intensity exercise includes practising and training a wide variety of loads, movements and skills, therefore it is necessary to ensure that all the extras in addition to diet and lifestyle have a slot in your program.
The most important of these is sleep; this is when your body does its main recovery. I have experienced myself that lack of sleep hugely affects my performance and concentration.
Every athlete will come to realise that they need more or even less sleep than their training partner, which is because everyone is different. Again, this comes with understanding your body, take the time to have a strong 8 hour sleep, maybe even 9 and test how this affects your training.
These are very beneficial! Ensure that you are making time for active recovery – for example, yoga or light swimming – ideally something that is active but not putting too much stress on your body.
This could come in the form of a de-load week, which many athletes have every 6-8 weeks.
De-load weeks involve stripping back to light, basic workouts and increased focus of movement, especially gymnastic movements.
This will give the body time to fully recover, ready to hit training again.
Some athletes will feel they do not need any form of support accessories, which is completely acceptable as everybody is different.
However, these can prove invaluable to add additional physical support in certain areas.
Don’t be reluctant to reach out and try products such as:
– Knee sleeves
– Wrist straps
There is a reason these are used by top sportsmen and women.
Take home message
‘Ride the wave’
Throughout the journey, whether a coach or athlete, you will experience not only personal bests, new love of movements and new found talents but also progression slumps and training fatigue to name a few.
This is the training wave, and everyone will ride it.
Like any sport, there will be ups and downs, proud moments and disappointments, but that is training.
So ride the wave and enjoy the experience!