By Naomi Rabon, NW Fitness Team Trainer
What is it about the human mind that automatically thinks if something is good, then more of it must be better? Aren’t we smarter than that? 🤨 If cardio is good, then more of it must be better! If working your glutes twice per week will give you a nice, firm, round, defined booty, 3-4 times per week must give you a phenomenal booty!
Maybe. But maybe not.
As with everything, there has to be a balance that works with your body. Too much of anything, even exercise, can turn into a bad thing. Over-training, overuse-injury, such as running (believe me I know first-hand about this one), being in too drastic of a caloric deficit for too long resulting in metabolic issues, even eating super-clean all the time isn’t always ideal. An occasional cheat or re-feed meal may cause a certain “positive” body composition reaction, but we all know what one too many of these cheat meals can do.
So, with regards to strength-training, cardio and nutrition, how do you know when to increase or decrease something, what to incorporate, what to take out, and how to put it all together – in the right amount – to work for you? Then how do you know when and how to adjust it so that you can continue seeing progress? This is where you become your own lab rat and start conducting experiments by tweaking various aspects of your fitness program. Or you hire a trainer or coach and you become their lab rat, Mua-ah-ah 😈.
WHERE TO START?
“It is always best to start at the beginning.” ~ Glinda, the Good Witch, The Wizard of Oz. 🧙♀️
Whenever I take on a new client, I give them a structured strength-training, cardio and nutrition program as their starting point. After a few weeks and a few check-ins, I am able to really hone in on how someone’s body is (or isn’t) responding. From their, I slowly (emphasis on slowly) add to or take out cardio, calories and adjust macros based on how I see their physique changing to the program. I also may change their workouts from heavy, low reps, high sets to moderate weight, higher reps and various amounts of sets.
One of the biggest factors, though, is making small, steady changes if and/or when they are needed. That way you can have a better grasp on what kind of changes produce results. If you drastically change your workouts, cardio and your nutrition, and your physique starts to change within a week or two, you don’t know which one of those factors caused the changes.
If you’ve ever done any of Nicole’s Transformation Challenges, 💪 then you have experienced what it’s like to tweak your workouts and nutrition. Phase 1 of any Challenge is the starting point, setting a baseline. The subsequent phases that follow are the slow, gradual tweaks that inch you closer to your goals.
After each Challenge, Nicole recommends you either work with one of the trainers on her team (Maureen or myself) to help you continue your fitness journey, or fine-tune your program on a more personalized level, or follow her Reverse Dieting 101 protocol.
HOW TO ADJUST YOUR FITNESS PROGRAM
1. Create A Baseline This means you need to have a consistent structured weekly program – strength-training, cardio and nutrition – already in place to use as your baseline.
2. Tweak A Little Bit Depending on what your short-term focus is, either body fat loss or muscle gain, you will adjust your fitness program and see what happens over the course of the next 2-4 weeks. See how your body adjust to small changes, then assess if further adjustments need to be made. I don’t always adjust my clients workouts or nutrition if they are continuing to make changes. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Keep going unless you 1) Get bored with your workouts/nutrition; 2) Start to plateau.
3. Take A Step Back If you stop seeing progress, but are already maxing out on your workouts and nutrition, you may be overdoing it. If your goal is to build muscle and you are eating more food than you ever have before, are lifting as heavy as you can, and you’ve eliminated cardio but have stopped seeing progress, you have no place else to go. You’ve maxed out on what you can do and your body is saying “no more!” so it stops responding to anything. ☹️
We often think that we can just keep going and keep pushing and take our bodies to the brink … and then push a little more. But too much of a good thing won’t always work and can often come back to bite you. Sometimes we need to back off, take a step back, breathe for a second and adjust our fitness program back to a level that is right for our bodies. You’ll know when it’s right, because your body will thank you by starting to respond again. 😁
ABOUT NAOMI RABON
One of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.