Picking A Program
Now it’s time for the really fun stuff. It’s time to choose a program. I’m going to go through what I consider to be the most important things to keep in mind when you are picking a program as a beginner. These are things I wish I had thought about when I was just getting started.
Fun! This often gets taken for granted, but the program you are running should be fun and enjoyable. This is probably the #1 most crucial aspect of a program. If it’s enjoyable, you are more likely to stick with it, and more likely to have a positive outlook going into each session which will lead to better sessions and better results!
Goals: Pick a program that fits your goals. If you want to gain a bunch of strength and build muscle, don’t choose a program that’s aimed at fat loss. If you want to get really good at squatting and benching, choose a program that has you doing those lifts (and ideally, choose one that has you practicing those lifts multiple times a week).
Belief: Pick a program you believe in. Over the years I have observed that in general, people who believe in their program (and as a result give it everything they have) tend to get better results than those who lack this belief (which can lead to programming hopping, or just not giving maximal effort in the gym).
Be Realistic: Think about your schedule and commitment, don’t choose a program that is 6 days a week if you only have 3 days to work out. Conversely, don’t choose a program that is 3 days if you want to be lifting 5 days a week. Don’t choose a program that relies heavily on bands, chains, specialty bars, etc, if you don’t have access to those. I could go on and on, but I think you get it.
Finally, remember that as a beginner you have so much potential and room to grow that choosing the “perfect program” should not be your goal. Choose a program that you will stick to, and then do that program with the goal of understanding it, learning how each piece of it works or doesn’t work. In the end, the best program for you is going to be one that you have a lot of input into, one that is very personalized, but it takes years of experience to learn what works for you and what doesn’t.
If you are having trouble finding a program that fits with my suggestions, we have a Beginner Program - 4 Week Free Preview out now. If that isn't your style, there are plenty of other great options out there.
Nigel, Kizen Coach
Who is Nigel?
Nigel is a coach who has been competing in powerlifting since 2012 and started directing meets in 2017. Nigel began working as a personal trainer in 2013, was a part of the Ascendant Athletics team with Omar and Silent Mike from 2015-2016, and has managed the group coaching for Kizen Training since 2017. Through this work and coaching private clients, Nigel has worked with many lifters of all skill levels and from diverse athletic backgrounds. His best lifts in competition are a 661lb/300kg squat in sleeves, a 451lb/205kg bench, and a 639lb/295kg deadlift.