Choosing the Right Training Program


Where to Begin

Choosing the right training program can be overwhelming. There is SO much out there to choose from! Powerlifting, bodybuilding, circuits, bootcamps, “at-home” bodyweight regimens. Which one works the best? Maybe you’ve bounced back and forth between a few different programs with limited results. So how do you decide?

Well, the first question you have to ask yourself is which one interests you the most? It’s ok to not fully understand how it works, but just looking at the exercises, which ones excite you? Are there certain exercises you’ve always wanted to try but have been afraid to do it wrong? Don’t be! We all start somewhere. You just need to be willing to learn!

Being Realistic

Once you’ve chosen which type of programming interests you the most, you need to decide how you’re going to get into it. Let’s say you want to lift heavy and train powerlifting style. What do you have available equipment do you have available to you? Do you have a membership at a commercial gym or are you working out at home with some dumbbells? If you’re at home with very limited equipment, powerlifting may not be realistic at this point in time. It doesn’t take much equipment to get going, so if you’re willing to buy a rack, a barbell, and some weights to add to your garage gym collection then you’re good to go! But if not, you will only be able to progress so far in that style before you outgrow your environment.

Let’s say you do have a gym membership and you love the pump of bodybuilding style workouts! Your goal is to gain some muscle, so these are right on par with each other. This is a realistic option. So you have to find the balance between what you really want to do, and what your circumstances allow you to do. Hopefully they both line up! But if not, make sure you have “A, B, and C” options listed out in order of which you’re most interested in.

Training for Your Goals

Your program should also align with what your goals are. If your goal is to gain muscle, bootcamps and circuit training may not be your best option. If you really love that style, there are still ways to incorporate those workouts into your programming, but they should not be the foundation of your training. There are ways to achieve multiple things at the same time. Size and strength seemingly go hand in hand. They do, but depending on your style of training, one will come more efficiently than the other.

Write down your list of goals. They can be ANYTHING! But put them in order of immediate importance. Which goal do you want to accomplish first?

Here are some of mine as an example:

  • Gain muscle
  • Increase strength
  • Lose fat

Those are listed in the order of immediate importance to me. So my first priority is to make sure I am training in a hypertrophic (muscle building) rep range, while incorporating enough volume within each workout to stimulate growth. My workouts are also progressive in weight used, meaning I increase the weight of certain exercises EVERY workout. So the program I follow is built to increase muscle mass above all else. But I will also see strength increases. I won’t get as strong as fast as I would if I were powerlifting, but I will still get stronger. Fat loss is also on the back burner until I reach my goal of a certain amount of muscle gained. Then I can switch over to focusing on fat loss.

Adhering to the Schedule

Just as important as the type of training you choose is your ability to maintain it! To effectively gain muscle, you should be lifting at least four days per week. Can you get to the gym that often? You should be prioritizing around your goals, so there is a difference between excuses and legitimate reasons. Having an infant to take care of is a reason. Not wanting to wake up at 5am or workout after work is an excuse. One of my favorite sayings is, “If you are consistent once in a while, you will see results once in a while.” It’s as simple as that. There are some genetic freaks who see gains after just looking at a dumbbell, the rest of us have to put in the work! So plan a schedule that will work for you for the long haul. When I was at a job working 7am-6pm I was in the gym at 4:30am. It can be done..

Putting It All Together

So what’s the plan? Choose a type of training that excites you! Being able to look forward to your workouts is a game changer. Be realistic with what you choose. If you’re debating bodybuilding versus powerlifting, and you workout in your gym with no barbell, go with what you’ve got. Keep your goals in mind! If you want to get stronger, you need to lift heavy! If you’re a beginner, you’re going to see results with almost anything that you do. But after a certain amount of progression, you’re going to stop seeing those “beginner gains” and you’re going to have to get after it with a specific form of training. Make sure you can stick to the schedule. This goes for any type of training you go with. If you can’t maintain it, you’re going to be spinning your wheels. Don’t waste your time, plan smarter.


As always, if you need help, we provide online health coaching! This consists of custom training and personalized macronutrient programming! When you sign up for a membership, you aren’t just paying for coaches, you’re becoming a member of our team! Join the Evolution!

Josh Scutnik

SD Evolution

The Nation’s Elite Training Team

Live Happy. Live Healthy. Evolve.