Starting at the gym: Learn to choose the routine that best suits you based on your level and your goals
Choosing our first routine when we arrive at a gym or start training is something that although it is not easy, it can have repercussions on ourfuture performance and it is of great importance to avoid loss of time, stagnation and even demotivation and that we leave to go to the gym.
Next we will try to shed a little light on the most basic issues that can assail us when we first go to a gym: what routine should I do? , Define or make volume? and if it is necessary to change our routine every so often.
The short and quick answer is that if you are a newbie in the gym , the first routine you should perform will be, in my opinion, a basic conditioning routine to accustom the body to exercise and go degreasing muscles and joints. This general conditioning routine should be a basic full-body routinethat should last between ten and twelve weeks. After this time, we will have to weigh the different routines that exist and decide what direction we want to take.
Strength routines are routines that are based on moving large weights and performing few repetitions per series. By general rule, we will be talking about series composed of between three and six repetitions , since we will be working with loads between 75% and 90% of our 1RM (maximum repetition).
The hypertrophy routines are those that we will use to increase our muscle volume , and they are those that are composed of series of between six and twelve repetitions , so the weight we use will be significantly higher than that used in strength routines . In this case, the charges will oscillate between 60-70% of our 1RM .
Definition routines , in general, are characterized as routines with a higher number of repetitions than hypertrophy . In this case, there will be series of twelve to fifteen repetitions , and in some cases they can reach 18 repetitions per series.
Being series of high repetitions , we must reduce proportionally the weight moved, so in this case the charges will oscillate between 40-60% of our 1RM .
Volume or definition?
The normal answer, if you are newbies in the gym would be that neither. In the case of a person who starts training for the first time or after a long time in the gym , the recommendation is to perform a general conditioning routine , which is usually at least an adaptive period of about eight weeks (two months ), being able to be superior. Once past this period, it is time to see our state of form and future objectives, so we will raise the question here: volume or definition ?
Once this adaptive period, which is mandatory for any newbie, unless we present a picture of overweight or obesity that make it necessary to continue losing weight, it would be normal to start with a volume phase with the objective of gaining muscle mass, since if We did it the other way around, we could destroy muscle mass in our definition phase and we would neither be doing something efficient nor achieve optimal results.
But we must specify that more important than the routine to follow will be the diet. Without proper nutrition it will be impossible for our routine to work , apart from the fact that we will lose energy if we do not receive the nutrients in their proper amounts and of the necessary quality.
Volume phase: routine + diet
As we have mentioned before, for a volume phase , our routine will be composed by series of between six and twelve repetitions (around 60-75% of our 1RMthe weight used). But what about the diet ?
For a volume phase to work, we must adjust our diet and perform a hypercaloric diet , but being careful not to increase the calories to ingest exorbitant, because this would mean accumulating excess fat and then having to go through a phase of definition too long . For this, the recommendation is that the increase of calories to be consumed in our diet is not higher than 10-15% (there are those who point out that it could reach an increase of 20% of the calories to be consumed).
Definition phase: routine + diet
All right. Let’s suppose that we have already finished our volume phase and now we want to carry out a definition phase . How should we do it correctly?
The first step would be to adjust the diet , and for this, just as in the volume phase we had to calculate in an adjusted way the calories to be consumed, in this case we should do the same but in reverse, that is, with a hypocaloric diet . For this, the reduction of calories to be consumed may not exceed 10-15% of the total, otherwise we could suffer a remarkable loss of energy and could not work properly with our routine.
And as for the routine, as we have seen previously, these are routines with a number of repetitions noticeably superior to the volume routines: for this type of routines, our series will be composed of between twelve and fifteen repetitions(being able to reach the 18 repetitions per series). For the definition routine we will use a weight that is between 40-60% of our 1RM .
Do I have to change my training routine every few minutes?
This is a question whose answer is a bit complex. Of tickets, I would say that you do not have to change the routine every so often , because if you do it your body will never adapt to the stimulus that involves performing a routine. Let me explain: when you start a routine, your body receives an external stimulus and tries to adapt to it. This phase of adaptation to the routine usually lasts between six and twelve weeks at most (that is, between a month and a half and three months).
If we made routine changes every eight weeks or less , as many people do, we would not be letting enough time pass for our body to adapt to the stimulus that is our routine and therefore we would not be effective. Still, this does not mean that you have to change the entire routine after that time.
Sometimes, simply varying a parameter of our training we can achieve surprising results: increasing repetitions and decreasing series, varying the intensity of our training, changing the execution angles of certain exercises or the types of grabs … We have multiple factors with which play so you do not have to change the whole routine.