Trust the Plan
You see people or trainers who sit down and plan out a training cycle for days or weeks often procrastinating about every single detail, only to quit on the plan and change it after just a week or two. These people are the ones who are stuck spinning their wheels struggling to progress. They never really give anything a chance to work because they are after a quick fix and when that doesn’t happen in the really short time frame they believe it should take to see results, they move on to yet another program looking for that perfect program that will produce miraculous results for them.
There is no perfect program as Charles Poliquin often says. The thing that I find is missing with most people like this who bounce from program to program is obviously patience but also their ability to train hard. They think they train hard but they don’t. Maybe in the public gym they go to, with all other types of people doing pretty much the same thing, they are training hard, but it is relative. If they come and do one session with a qualified strength coach training athletes who prepare for competitions held at the world level, then they would truly understand what hard work is and how far from the mark they are. The simple fact is I would rather have someone who buys into a training program that is only 70% as good as a great program and commits and works hard in every session then someone who has the greatest program from the best strength coach in the world but can’t push themselves.
The other reason you don’t want to change programs too quickly is because often a coach has a long term plan. For example, in the first 3 to 4 weeks of a 12 week phase he may be working on correcting imbalances of say the rotator cuff and VMO. You aren’t benching or squatting and start to freak out that you are going to get weak on these lifts. If you run away after 2 or 3 weeks you will never get the chance to experience the gains the coach is setting you up for later on down the road once he corrects these weak links and progresses you back into the bench and squat. It may feel like a step back but at times you have to regress slightly so you can progress.
Same goes with nutrition. Your goal may be to put on muscle mass. What normally happens with us is that people come in wanting to put on mass but they are fat. We lean them out and then put good quality muscle mass on. Often though, in those first 3 weeks they lose weight on the scale and freak out. It isn’t until the end of the cycle when they are 5kg heavy and 10-15% less body fat that they truly believe in what we are doing.
If you are coaching athletes who you are preparing for important competitions then it is even more important that you and your athletes trust the plan. If you as a coach have too many doubts, at the first sign of trouble you will change everything instead of just making small adjustments as they are required. For the athlete, they need to understand the plan, where and why they are doing things, so they can fully apply themselves to it knowing where they will progress to. This is especially true if your athletes compete in sports that require them to maintain a certain body weight or even have to cut weight for competitions. You have to believe in what you are doing and have a plan that you trust or you will just be guessing and you and your athletes will have no confidence. With no confidence, it is very hard to rip into each training session and focus.
So if you aren’t sure about what you are currently doing, I suggest you come up with a plan (it doesn’t have to be perfect), stop overthinking it, wondering if it is the “best” plan, and start training harder. Stick at it for at least one month. Actually for the compulsive program hopper, stick at a program for 12 weeks, learn what did and didn’t work when you asses after each phase, and then plan accordingly for your next 12 weeks. More advanced trainees will be able to make adjustments more frequently. If you are completely lost then come and train with me.