Fitness: How to find out which routine is right for you

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The fitter you get, the more you can benefit from the different training methods, experts say.

Gym newbies do not have to worry about the details, but should focus on good habits.

For experienced athletes, recovery and training techniques such as periodization are the key to success.

Exercise is more than just sweating and sore muscles. If you want to evolve from a beginner to the gym to an experienced athlete, you need to change your training style and priorities. This is the only way to keep making progress and avoid common mistakes that block your progress, various experts tell Business Insider. Here are her top tips:

Beginners improve quickly, so focus on good training methods for future advances

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A useful way to think about your fitness level is to ask how long you have been training strength or aerobics consistently, says Mike Boyle, a strength and fitness trainer. A person with less than a year of experience would be considered a beginner and could move on to almost any exercise without worrying about details like rope intervals or training, he explains.

“It’s like a ‘free’ stage where you train and set a new record every time,” Boyle said, referring to a personal record such as: the maximum effort in deadlift. Much of the initial “beginner gains” are due to neurological changes as the body learns to move better. Building muscle mass takes time, but it is faster for beginners.

To get the most out of the beginner phase, Boyle says you need to develop proper habits and plan to lay a solid foundation for continued progress.

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Advanced athletes should aim for a balanced workout

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As you become more skilled, your progress slows down and you need to be more focused and train with progressive overload to improve, says Stan Efferding, a weightlifter and trainer known as one of the world’s strongest bodybuilders.

“There is a difference between exercise and training. You can go home sweaty and tired, but you do not train unless you can measure it, “he explains. Efferding divides the training goals into the characteristics of strength, speed, muscle mass, endurance, coordination, mobility, agility and dexterity. Improving all of these qualities over time helps lay the foundation for overall fitness, which he calls “overall physical readiness.”

In the intermediate phase, between one and five years of training, athletes should become aware of how they are performing on each trait and look at the overall picture of fitness instead of just one aspect to keep making progress, he says. “There comes a time when you are skilled enough. At some point, you need to focus less on your strengths and work more on your weaknesses,” says Efferding. Advanced athletes also need to adopt recovery strategies because increased work capacity means they can do more, but also experience more fatigue, he said.

An example of this is alternating days of high fatigue, such as heavy lifting, with active recovery that gets your heart rate up, such as weight sledding or cycling.

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Advanced athletes can benefit from periodization or focusing on one goal at a time

After five or more years of training, you reach the advanced stage of fitness, where personal records are rare, Boyle said. In order to continue making progress, it is important to know your goal, which is why many advanced athletes begin to implement training cycles or periodization.

Periodization allows the athlete to focus on a single skill, Efferding said, while ideally being able to maintain other skills. Training cycles often last between eight and 10 weeks and increase in intensity over time to allow athletes, such as elite weightlifters, to maximize their efforts while avoiding burnout. “You can’t train all the skills at the same time,” Efferding says. “If you tried, you would lose your ability to recover.”

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This text was translated from English by Lisa Ramos-Doce. You can find the original here.

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