Own your training - how to design a great training program


At HAUS No3 we have a goal to foster independence in the people we train. We call this owning your training.

From experience, this allows for better and faster results since being self-going is usually more productive. Therefore, instead of simply telling people what to do for the sake of burning calories, our role as a personal trainer and coach at HAUS No3 becomes more to offer support, advice, accountability and to continue to teach and educate our guests on their journey.

This blog post outlines and explain some main points and principles of program design (for the gym, mixing strength and endurance) that we utilize and recommend at HAUS No3.

Our approach here is general and broad, but it will stick to the basic and keep things simple. That alone - keeping it simple - is a good start for a balanced and effective training program.

WHY DESIGNING YOUR OWN TRAINING PROGRAM CAN BE USEFUL

In our opinion, being independent and able to take care of yourself is not only attractive, it’s also often very useful.

No matter if you are training with a personal trainer or on your own, knowing how to design your own training program when needed can be handy.

This scenario can happen every now and then when life gets in the way of your regular training schedule, work and family commitments demands you to be flexible and creative in order to get your workout done and perhaps you are traveling which puts you in a new environment with different equipment to work with.

When this happens, it calls for some level of experience, knowledge and independence or you risk leaving the faith of your own fitness and health in the hands of others.

PROGRAMMING FOR WHO?

Before delving deeper in to our program design strategies it’s important to mention that the advice isn’t necessarily for professional athletes or those who invest tons of time and effort in preparing for a specific competition. For those people (a minority), the training plan allows for a lot less wiggle room and more non-negotiables. In these cases, training takes priority over almost everything, sometimes even your family and health.

But most likely you are 30+, your might make it to the gym 3-4 times per week, you have family, a career, maybe you have other hobbies on the side and you realize that you won’t live forever, so you prioritize your health and are interested in taking care of your fitness.

If any of the above description fits in to you, this post will be relevant and hopefully useful since is written to demystify and simplify a thought process of designing training programs for fitness enthusiasts and people who simply want to “be fit and healthy”.

Another important point to make is that this template doesn’t take in to account any potential movement dysfunctions or health problems that you might have (yes, most people have some areas that needs special attention and work). This is why we do the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) with all our guests and why we emphasize on the importance of awareness.

Knowing your weaknesses, what you need to work on and how to perform maintenance on your own body is crucial. By doing a Functional Movement Screen we find your weakest link and in that way what patterns you can condition with load and what movement patterns that needs corrective work.

Book your Functional Movement Screen at HAUS No3 - a personal training studio and boutique gym in Bangkok, Thailand.

DAILY READINESS

We are fans of technology and data collection at HAUS No3 and we use it on a daily basis. But with that said we are also big proponents of having awareness and knowing yourself and your body.

This is why perhaps the most important aspect to control when designing your own training program is your daily readiness.

As the name hints, your daily readiness fluctuates from day to day, week to week and month to month. Therefore, no coach in the entire world can pre-write you the perfect training program, simply because it’s impossible to predict the future and how you will feel and function on a given day. This highlights the importance of being flexible and able to modify and change your training program when needed.

Daily readiness can be objectively measured and screened in several ways; using HRV, resting HR or vertical jump. But at the end of the day we believe one of the best ways (at least for now) to check your daily form is to subjectively ask yourself the following questions;

How was your sleep? Recovery? Nutrition and hydration? Training load previous days? Any other additional stress (from work, relationships, etc)?

Based on your answer to these questions you can set the intensity level of your session (easy, moderate or hard).

STRENGTH TRAINING

Exercise selection during strength training can be done in many ways. We suggest to stay away from the cherry picking method (choosing only exercises you are good at) and to instead follow the simple guide below:

Step 1: know what movement patterns you loaded/trained last.

Step 2: train opposite movement patterns.

The actual exercises we recommend to separate in to groups of some kind. How you chose to do this matters less, as long as it follows a logic structure.

We like to group exercises in following movement categories:

Surely, you can simplify this a lot more when needed but this is an example of the structure and thought process we use as coaches at HAUS No3.

From from the exercise selection structure (movement categories), we like to pick 4 main lifts, two of which we group together in a superset, with an additional 2-4 core or accessory exercises (direct core work or more isolated movements training smaller muscle groups such as biceps curls, etc).

The time format we often recommend for this simple program template is called a 3EMOM. This means that you perform lift A at the start of minute 1, followed by lift B. Usually this lift (B) is completed by the end of the 2nd minute, leaving you with 1 minutes rest before the start of superset round number 2.

Reps and sets can be 3x12 (hypertrophy bias = muscle building) or 5x5 (strength bias) - depending on how much strength versus hypertrophy training stimulus you prefer.

ENDURANCE TRAINING

Whatever you chose to call it (endurance, ESD, metcon or cardio), it’s clear that you need some sort of cardiovascular training for a well balanced training plan.

You might not do it every time you step in to the gym but if you get less than a handful of sessions per week your body will do good from elevating your heart rate significantly.

As with previous, it’s impossible to give a guideline set in stone when it comes to programming your endurance training since there are too many external factors in play (see “Daily readiness” above). With that said, you can take following points in to account and consideration;

  • Only increase volume with 10% per week (distance, duration)

  • Aim for 2 high intensity sessions per week (with heart rate at 85-95% of max)

  • Low intensity endurance training is good for you, in fact it can increase the quality and prolong your life. Walk as much as possible (+10,000 steps per day), run home from work or to the grocery store and accumulate activity at low to moderate intensities (heart rates between 60-80%).

With many of our recommendation above based on heart rate zones it’s no secret that we promote and recommend heart rate monitored training at HAUS No3.