Achieve your Ideal Physique - Goals that Fit Your Lifestyle and Training
"I just want to build muscle," says the girl next to me on the treadmill. I'm warming up for weight training, and she's on mile seven. She tells me she's training for endurance runs and for figure. After eight miles she hits the weights. She doesn't have much energy to finish her weight workout (she’s clearly not taking her Peak ATP) and she can't understand why she isn't making progress. The answer is easy - her goals aren't in line with her lifestyle or training. It's almost impossible to build quality muscle while doing miles of roadwork. If she ran short distances instead she’d build muscle!
I experienced my own conflict between goals and lifestyle a few years ago. When my career in figure started to take off, I needed to build muscle in my upper body but, I also wanted to high jump. As I gained muscle I found it became much harder to be successful in the high jump. A heavier body doesn't clear the bar as well. I decided that I would drive myself crazy trying to train for both, so I focused on figure and decided to come back to track and field later.
When creating my training program I like to focus on one or two. If you choose two goals it’s important to consider whether or not you can train for both relatively easily. If not, perhaps choose the goal you want to achieve first, knowing that you'll be able to give 100% to the second goal once you're ready. With figure and high jump I realized that I could do one thing well or do both unexceptionally.
Achieving your ideal physique takes time and focus. I've found that prioritizing exercises based on your goals can be helpful. The muscle groups I most want to improve upon are worked earlier in the week and earlier in the workout. I feel that many of the changes we're able to make come from the ability to crank out those last tough reps. PEAK ATP has helped me do that! I'm leaner and stronger than I have been in a long time! What are your goals? Does your training reflect them?
Thanks for reading! Until next time, train hard, y'all!
-Erin Stern, IFBB Figure Pro/USATF Competitor