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The Secret to Achieving Maximum Results in the Gym – Legally!

Anyone who’s interested in developing a better physique will know that it takes time, as well as a lot of sweat and hard work. So naturally, we’re always on the lookout for easier and better ways of achieving it.

Some people go as far as resorting to illegal, performance-enhancing drugs to accelerate their progress and level of development. Although these are extremely effective, they’re something I personally don’t recommend however, as they can often have serious short-term and long-term side-effects on your health.

Unfortunately, there’s just no getting around the fact that if you want results in the gym, you have to work for them. At the end of the day, there are no short-cuts.

There are however, ways of maximizing the effectiveness of your workouts so that you get the very best possible results for the work that you’re able to put in. And of course, you should always be doing your best to find these.

The first and most obvious way is to simply play around with all the usual variables in your workout program to see what works best for you personally. This is basically a process of customizing or personalizing your program over time to best fit your body, and is something that anyone who’s interested in optimizing their results, such as competition athletes for example, commonly do. It’s also something that any good personal trainer should be doing for you.

Another technique often used is called periodization. This is the process of changing the focus of your workout program at regular intervals. For example, you can focus on muscle growth by using sets of 8-12 reps for a block of four weeks, then focus on muscle strength with sets of 3-6 reps for a block of four weeks, and then focus on muscle endurance with sets of 15-18 reps for a block of four weeks.

A highly effective technique that in a way is an extension of periodization is to change your workout program altogether, I mean totally, at longer-term intervals. This is something that very few people even think to try, but is nevertheless a great strategy for getting maximal results from your program.

It may seem counterintuitive at first to do this. After all, once you’ve developed a program that’s working well for you, why would you want to change it?

Well, there are two main reasons.

Firstly, because any program you undertake constantly over an extended period of time, regardless of how effectively it works for you, will slowly lose its effectiveness. That’s because your body gradually adapts to it over time in order to be able to cope with it more efficiently. This means the results you experience from that program will ultimately plateau, or at least diminish.

And secondly, you would change it simply to take advantage of what I call the “shock factor” of introducing your body to a totally new workout regime.

Think about any time in your life when you’ve either started a new diet, or started working out for the first time or after a long layoff. The initial period of your new regime is when you would have experienced the most rapid results, whether it was fat loss, muscle growth, strength improvement, or whatever.

That’s the benefit of the shock factor – the dramatic results you get when you expose your body to something it’s not accustomed to. Each time you do this with a totally new workout protocol, you can expect a similar surge in your results. Do it on a regular basis and you can expect numerous surges over time.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to change programs too frequently to experience surges in your results every few weeks with this strategy, however. After all, your body needs time to get comfortable with each new program before moving on to another.

The appropriate length of time to spend on each program would vary for each individual and also depend on other factors, though as a general baseline I would suggest a minimum of about 8 to 12 weeks. By experimenting you can determine what works best for you.

There are a wide variety of different workout protocols available to choose from that you can alternate between. Some examples are German Volume Training, Westside Barbell, Layne Norton’s PHAT approach, Diminishing Set Training, Hany Rambod’s FST-7, HIT (High Intensity Training), and so on.

The approach that I recommend to take is to alternate between your own baseline program and one of any other style of program of your choosing. A typical sequence might therefore look something like this:

  • Baseline Program – 12 weeks
  • Westside Barbell Program – 12 weeks
  • Baseline Program – 12 weeks
  • FST-7 Program – 12 weeks
  • Baseline Program – 12 weeks
  • Diminishing Set Training – 12 weeks

. . . and so on.

With this approach you would be spending the majority of your time on your baseline program, which you’ve already optimized and you know works very effectively for you.

Each time you change from one protocol to another you should really feel the effects after your workouts as your body is taken out of its comfort zone. This is a sign that change is happening, which is precisely what you want.

Regardless of your fitness goals, you should try implementing this strategy, you’ll certainly get some impressive results in doing so.

IFBB Figure Pro Ava Cowan actually wrote about using this principle herself late last year in the 12th edition of her Journey Back to Strength blog series on the Fitness Rx For Women magazine website. As Ava says in her blog post,

“shocking the body is a superior way to make rapid changes”.

Give it a try for yourself!

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Fabian

Fabian

Fabian Colussi is a women's Bikini and Figure competition coach for natural athletes, certified personal trainer and gym instructor, and women's fitness consultant. He also has a background in martial arts, is an NLP Master Practitioner, and has a certification in Hypnotherapy. Fabian is a co-owner and co-founder of Million Dollar Baby Fitness.

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