The perfect workout?
No such thing.
BUT there are certainly things you can do to optimize the time you spend in the gym based on your ultimate fitness goals.
Rather than just throwing 💩 against the wall to see what sticks or just trying really, REALLY hard to crush your soul (and your body), there is a formula we follow here at First Guess Fitness that will benefit most general fitness goals. You know, like health, weight loss, strength, and doing cool shit on the weekends.
In fact, the formula we follow not only serves a wide range of fitness goals, it also optimizes how our bodies adapt to the demands of exercise and includes things that fill other buckets, too. That way, while you’re working on, let’s say, weight loss and improving your strength, you’ll also be improving your posture, movement quality, mobility, reflexes, and overall baddass-ness. Neat!
1. A Lil’ Soft Tissue Love
We like to sneak this in before you warm-up and workout since it:
Bridges the gap from doing zero to doing all the exercise.
Acts as a simple way to decrease a bit of (neural) tension in your muscles.
There’s no magic to foam rolling and it doesn’t smash up scar tissue or knead your muscles out like dough. The applied pressure will just help release some of the natural tension that we accumulate from sitting too much OR being too active. Yup, damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
Check out more information on some foam rolling and technique HERE.
2. ‘Functional’ Warm-Up
The addition of ‘functional’ here simply means that it serves a purpose (other than just warming you up). An efficient warm up will not only warm-up your core body temperature and prepare you for battle (aka fitness-ing) but it can also help you work on improving:
improve breathing dynamics
functional movement patterns
power and explosiveness
develop sick ninja skills and athleticism
Doing many of these exercises when your body and focus are fresh will allow you to really tune in to the movements that will help you function better as a human. It’s a complete bonus that they also will prepare you for exercise in about the same amount of time it would take to walk on the treadmill to get your core temperature up. Win-win!
Learn more about warm-up stuff and find a few drills and exercises HERE
3. Strength Training (The Meat and Potatoes)
This is what most people consider the workout portion which typically will last from 30-40 minutes. It’s SUPER important to note that a focused 30 minutes of training is a good amount of training for most bodies at a moderate to high intensity. More isn’t necessary for stellar results and I would even argue that you could accomplish more in even less time. Food for thought.
Typically, in our programming, we’ll include a strength exercise for each main movement pattern (squat, hinge, push, pull) and depending on an individual’s goals we’ll sprinkle in core, performance, bodybuilding stuff (aka arms), injury prevention, and other things to help people move better.
Why full body strength?
Most research (and our experience) points towards strength training as providing the most bang-for-your-buck when it comes to MOST training and physique goals. Basically everything I mentioned above can be accomplished primarily with an 80% strength focus with a side dish of other exercises.
We also tend to lean towards full body since it allows people to recover faster, requires less time in the gym, helps people move faster through their workout, and has less risk than crushing a body part for a whole workout (eg leg day).
A Happy Ending (Optional Finisher)
While these aren’t in EVERY workout, they can be a useful tool for those who like to give themselves a little push at the end of a workout towards their goals in the form of extra work.
These come in the form of a cardiovascular finisher to get your heart rate up, some extra pump work to build the guns or specific body part, or even a more gentle mobility flow.
These are always optional but I will say it’s always a good release to test your mettle. Plus it’s always fun to grab a medball and slam it. 😉
The Recipe is Simple
This is my best crack at making expert programming as simple AF so you can take these tools and go forth to plan some of your workouts. There’s always a little more nuance but these are the main ingredients.
Have a specific training or programming question? I’m ALWAYS happy to answer these directly so don’t hesitate to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Onward to training glory!
P.S. If ‘knowing’ isn’t quite enough to get you to ‘doing’ we’d love to help you kickstart your fitness goals with 4 person training sessions for $49!