Choosing the Right Training Program

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How to Train Based On Your Goals

Exercise is never a one size fits all approach.  Factors like experience level and body type can influence how certain training programs effect you.  Even certain exercises that work for one person, may do nothing for another.  It all comes down to identifying your goal, training specific to that goal, and then tweaking your program as you progress.

I am going to give you some basic guidelines to stick to for each specific goal, whether you are training for fat loss, muscle growth, or muscle building.

The most important factors to take note of is the style of training that will help you accomplish each goal.

Constants of Exercise

You have to progressively improve through the duration of your program.

No matter what you do like anything in life, as your skill level improves, you have to up the ante when it comes to the intensity of your workouts.

Whether you are decreasing rest periods, increasing the load, or training more frequently, if you don’t progressively challenge yourself, your progress will stall.  You don’t have to manipulate all of these variables at any given time, but simply focusing on one at a time will give you constant results and keep you motivated.

You must recover properly

I love this quote about body building, “you are only as strong as what you can recover from.”  The fact is, you don’t grow in the gym, you grow from your habits outside of the gym.

Sleeping and eating arguably have more of an impact on muscle building than your exercise program itself.

No matter what your goal or what program you’re on, if you aren’t properly recovering, you aren’t going to grow.

Training For Fat Loss

Despite what anyone else may tell you, if you are training for fat loss, you should train for fat loss, nothing else.  No program in the world can give you both at the same time because muscle growth and fat loss require two totally different approaches to training and nutrition.

When your goal is to lose fat, the best way to go about it is to think of it as tricking the fat off of your body.  If you lose fat too fast, you’ll likely rebound, too slow, you’ll get discouraged, binge, and ruin your progress. This is the best way to go about it

Eat in a caloric deficit

This is imperative, in order to lose fat, you have to eat less calories than you are burning, a general guideline for this is to eat your bodyweight x 14-15 and tailor that up and down slightly as you monitor progress.

Train for Strength and Hypertrophy

When you are training in a caloric deficit, you are at risk of losing more than fat, your hard-earned muscle. To prevent this, we vary our training styles between muscle building and strength training.  Two workouts a week should be your strength days, you pick 2 or 3 compound lifts for upper and lower body and perform 5-6 sets of 3-5 reps.  This signals to your body that you still need to hold on to your muscle mass.  The rest of the week for 2-3 days are hypertrophy, or muscle building workouts. During these workouts, you pick 3-4 exercises per body part doing 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise.  This will stimulate muscle growth and most importantly all of your fat burning hormones.  While you may not gain muscle because of your caloric deficit, you will burn fat.

Use High Intensity Interval Training or Barbell Complexes to accelerate fat burning

As a bonus, high intensity interval training, or HIIT can be an excellent tool to accelerate fat burning. To do this on an off day, or after your workout, use a treadmill, prowler sled or go outside and do 10-20 sprints at full speed with no more than 30 seconds rest in between.


No matter what, if you are trying to lose fat, you can’t outwork a bad diet, so eat in a caloric deficit, vary your training sessions between strength and hypertrophy, and use high intensity interval training to supplement your workouts for accelerated results.

Training for Strength

Training specifically for strength is only slightly different than if you were training for muscle building.  The only difference is that focusing your efforts on driving tension through your muscles, your primary focus is how much weight is moving on the bar with good form.

When you are training with heavier weights and putting more stress on your neuromuscular system, you need more time for your body to recover to see improvement.

To train for strength, my favorite method to use is wave loading.  To do this you use micro increments of weight to improve between each set and ultimately each week.  Pick 2- 3 exercises for each major muscle group, and perform 4 sets with this rep count 7-5-3-3.  Each set should get progressively heavier even if it’s just 2.5- 5 pounds per lift.


Training for strength forms an important foundation for all of your muscle building and fat loss goals.  Being able to lift heavier weights with proper form will help you stimulate more muscle fibers while your lifting and grow bigger when you start trying to build muscle.

Muscle Building

Training for muscle building requires a little bit more strategy that strength training.  Instead of hitting larger muscle groups with compound lifts, muscle building requires isolating these larger muscles into smaller muscle groups.

An optimal split for muscle building might be working chest and back then arms and shoulder followed by legs.  An optimal workout will have isolation exercises, 3-4 per muscle group, in rep ranges of 8-12.

Another key to muscle building and improving muscle definition is training to failure.  Each set should be very close to failure to stimulate the most muscle fibers and hormone release.

Adjust your training based on your goals

If you have a goal in mind and have gotten accustomed to exercise as part of your routine, picking the right program for you can be difficult.  Switching programs too often will hinder your progress, and choosing the wrong program will set you up for the wrong outcome.

Keep these points in mind while selecting your training program and always adjust the training to your goal to keep your body moving in the right direction.

If your goal is fat loss you pick up a copy of my free report

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