How to Determine Your PERFECT Workout Plan

You hear it every day on TV: “The Perfect Workout Plan!”

You read about it in every magazine: “The one secret you need to lose weight!”

You find it on every fitness website: “Why this plan works and why that plan doesn’t.”

It can be confusing, and it can be intimidating.  Don’t you worry though, as I’ve come up with a solution to determine the PERFECT workout plan that will get you the results you want and allow you to have success.

Where did I find it?

Trekking through the Amazonian jungle, I stumbled across an ancient training plan, written in hieroglyphics on the wall of an temple from a long lost civilization.

Nope, that’s not it.  

How about…Mad scientists created the world’s most scientific 7-minute workout

Hmmm, nope. that’s not it either.

Here’s how I really discovered the PERFECT WORKOUT PLAN.

The Perfect Workout Plan

high road low road

I get a few emails a day from people asking me advice on what plan to train with.

They want to know if the Rebel Fitness Guide is the perfect workout plan, or if they should be doing P90x, Insanity, a gymnastics routine, Couch To 5K, Yoga Strength, a bodybuilding routine, 7-Minute Abs, etc… Unfortunately, all routines tend to present different information, require different diets, and make an effort to present themselves as superior to all other training routines.

So, I reply with something they probably don’t want to hear, but need to hear:

The BEST workout and diet plan is the plan that you actually follow through with.

The best coaching, training plan, and/or diet plan based on your dietary needs doesn’t mean ANYTHING if you don’t actually follow through with it!

I’m proud to say that the Rebel Fitness Guide has helped a ton of people (like Joe, Ryan, Veronica, and Bronwyn) get healthy, but it’s not because it’s the best plan in the entire world.  It worked for them because they tried it out and it WORKED FOR THEM!

The plan helped those people succeed because it lined up with the Triforce of Awesome of Nerd Fitness:

  • Happy – You enjoy what you are doing; you can wake up with a smile on your face.
  • Healthy – You can do the things you want to do without your body slowing you down, and you get a clean bill of health from your doctor.
  • Feel great and look good naked – You feel comfortable in your own skin, you have confidence, and you don’t think badly about yourself.

Now, here’s the thing: there are almost an infinite number of ways to accomplish those three goals, and every single person will have a different definition of what each of those things means.

  • If you are a marathon runner, your ideal “look good naked” will certainly be different than somebody who wants to be a bodybuilder.
  • If you hate lifting weights in a gym, your “happy” might be outdoor gymnastics or Parkour.
  • “Healthy” might be running a mile in less than 6 minutes, being able to do 10 pull ups, or having low cholesterol.

You know what? That is AWESOME. That’s what makes us different, special, and weird .

I once wrote an article called “What is Your Profession?“, creating different character classes based on your fitness goals.  This is one of Nerd Fitness’s most popular and discussed articles (450+ comments).  

It was one of my favorite articles to write, and the start of Rising Heroes, a project that is currently in beta testing as we speak (Sign up for the email list if you’d like to learn more, as we’ll be making another announcement on this really soon).

The reason that article has resonated so well with Nerd Fitness Rebels is that WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT.  Some of us are Warriors, others are Scouts or Monks, or Assassins or Druids.

This is what makes the Nerd Fitness community so freaking great.

Uh, so how do I pick which plan is right for me?

run road

“Thanks for nothing Steve, you just told me all options can work. What the heck do I do then?”

For starters, your first step is to determine what your primary goals are, and what the most important thing is to you:

  • If you want to run faster or improve your 5k time, then a running training program could work.
  • If you just want to lose weight and get stronger, something like the Rebel Fitness Guide could work.
  • If your goal is primarily to look good, a body building routine might work best for you.

Now, I already know what your next response is going to be, because I get this ten times a day too:

“Well, I want to lose some weight, build some muscle, and also build up more endurance.”

Here’s the truth: your body can only do so many things at once, and the three goals above will pull your body in three completely separate directions. Although there are some people with crazy genetics that are exceptions, more often than not:

If you want to build bigger muscles and add mass: You need to eat more calories than you burn, which means you won’t be losing fat. These are two separate physiological processes, as building bigger more explosive muscle requires fast twitch muscles, and you build those by doing fast-twitch activities.  Building up your endurance with lots of long distance running puts more emphasis on your slow twitch muscles and makes building bigger muscle and mass way more difficult.

If you want to lose weight, you need to eat a caloric deficit.  Remember, you can’t outrun your fork. And while strength training CERTAINLY helps you keep the muscle you have and allows you to get stronger, don’t expect to put 20 lbs of muscle while losing 20 lbs of fat.

If you want to get better at endurance, don’t expect to also build bigger muscles! Your body is going to use all of your excess calories to fuel your endurance instead of fueling the muscle building process.  You can run sprints while eating to build bigger muscles, which can help add to your endurance capabilities, but if you want to be the best runner possible, you gotta be running!

If you try to do all three at once, you’ll most likely never make true progress in any direction and get discouraged.  Instead, pick one main focus for the next few months and build your training around that.  Make that goal your primary focus, and then be satisfied with minimal/incremental gains in other areas as a side effect:

For example, my friend Ryan from Gold Medal Bodies wanted to perform a one-handed handstand, so he spent 14 WEEKS focusing on just that ONE movement. All other exercise was supplemental.  His endurance probably suffered, he probably didn’t build as much muscle as he could have following a bodybuilding routine, but he didn’t care. He found something that he wanted  to accomplish and built his training around it.  

These days, my goal is primarily focused on muscle and strength building, so I follow a routine that focuses on those things. I spend too much time traveling, I can’t squat and deadlift much these days, and I play basketball on Tuesday nights: all of these things are taking away from my potential, but I’m happy (which means it’s a routine I’m going to continue following through!).

Find a routine that lines up with your goals, and as long as they make you happy and keep you healthy, you have my full support.

I know what I want – what now?

act now

“Well, I have my goals, but how do I pick the right plan for that goal?”

Do enough research to make you feel comfortable about starting that plan for your goals. Watch youtube tutorials, read up on basic workouts, and try to find somebody in your situation that has succeeded with that plan before (if possible).

And then start.  

Like, now.

Today.

Don’t become an underpants gnome.  Pick a plan, and try it out for 30-60 days. Follow it to a T. Do exactly what they recommend, and then reevaluate.

Here’s the truth: ANY halfway decent plan will produce results, as long as you are consistent. 

How will you know if it’s working? Remember: “That which gets measured, gets improved.”

You need to become your own guinea pig.  Every two weeks, take more measurements or new photos and track your progressTake notes on your workouts.

Ask yourself:

Am I feeling better? Am I looking better? Am I happy?

If so, GREAT.  KEEP DOING IT!

If not, identify why you’re not seeing results: 

  • Are you actually following the plan? Or are you cheating?
  • Are there small adjustments you can make to improve your process?
  • Are you trying to do too much?  Are you trying to accomplish 30 goals at the same time instead of focusing on dominating just one or two?

If after 6-8 weeks you don’t see ANY results in any way (weight loss, strength increase, endurance improvement) – which I would highly doubt – Congrats! Cross it off your list, and move on to another one.  Take the lessons you learned from your previous effort (“this worked, that didn’t” or “I could NEVER stick with that”), and make an informed decision moving forward.

Just don’t keep trying to succeed in the same way that lead to no success last time, or you’ll continue to get the same lackluster results.

As long as you are tracking your progress with more than one metric, you should be able to tell if you are moving in the right direction!

What if I don’t fit in?

fit in

“You will be judged…or you will be ignored” Seth Godin

I think it’s important to have convictions in this world.  I am a firm believer in these ideals, and I have built the programs and products at Nerd Fitness based around what I believe will help the greatest number of people have the greatest chance for success at the three goals above (happiness, healthiness, and looking-good-nakedness).

That being said, I know there are a million and one ways for people to get healthy, and I love that.

It’s why our message board is segmented into guilds and classes: because everybody is different! 

Embrace your differences.  Be thankful that we’re not all clones of one another.  We might be a tight-knit group, but we’re a tight-knit group of misfits and weirdos, of oddballs and outsiders.  Nothing makes me happier!

If you want to focus on bodybuilding, more power to you.

If you want to be a powerlifter, that’s awesome.

If you are a vegan (or paleo), there’s no reason we all can’t coexist!

As long as you are happy AND healthy, keep doing what you are doing, and let others do the same.

Just like in any quality MMO group, we need people of all different classes here at Nerd Fitness and in the Game of Life!

Tell me what your goals are. I’d love to hear about what you’re working on.

What program are you following?  Do you have a question on what to pick?

Leave a comment and share your story with your fellow rebels!

-Steve

###

Guillermo Mountain MexicoToday’s Rebel Hero: Guillermo from south of the border, Mexico!

Guillermo is a third year internal medical student, and has retaken control of his life, both in school and his training.  He sent along this picture of him climbing a mountain down in Mexico on a recent adventure.

Thanks for sharing Guillermo, and thanks for inspiring the Rebellion!

Want to be the next Rebel Hero? Take a photo of you doing something epic in your Nerd Fitness gear and send it to contact@nerdfitness.com so we can feature you on the site!

photo sources: beach, road split, egg, runner

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  • peter baker

    I like to use my body’s biofeedback to determine what I do.

  • http://www.aldoaguirre.com/ AldoAguirreG

    I’m in Fitocracy, and I see all these different guys and girls who have amazing stories. Amazing before/after(now) photos. All of them with different workout plans, but all with one similarity: they all sticked to it.

    Great post, Steve. Kudos from México as well.

  • Katelin

    this article had perfect timing 🙂

  • Courtnie Marie

    I am in Stage 3 of the “New Rules of Lifting for Women.” I love it! I haven’t lost too much weight on it (about 8 lbs in 3 months) but I am getting stronger and I have a baby bicep! Still working towards the ability to do a push up on the floor and not at an incline, though. I’ll get there 🙂

  • Elle

    Just focus on one, who knew?!

    I know so many people who have tried to work on all three
    areas at the same time. The general
    thought is that if you are building muscle then you must be burning fat and
    losing weight. Also, if you are
    exercising every day then you must be building your endurance.

    This is a real eye opener.
    It is not about focusing on everything at once.

    I think there are a lot of people who will have a hard time
    picking just one goal. We are in a world
    where we want it all and want it now.

    I agree that choosing something you enjoy will be the key to
    staying with it. I just need to focus on
    that one thing, and go find my sneakers.

  • http://www.dmleblanc.com/ Dustin LeBlanc

    Great Kamb, you ruined the “do all three at once” fantasy! 🙁

    I guess if I have to pick one…its still lose fat, I have too much still even after losing about 30lbs. I just want to be more useful body and less…extra. Starting a barbell training class next week though so I’ll be deadlifting and squating my way to better overall health. Guess as long as I don’t gorge on food I’ll still be cutting flub though right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/patrick.herward Patrick Herward

    I just started the Alpha workout from Engineering the Alpha.
    One of the key things they talk about in their book is to stick with whatever workout you are doing until you have completed it. Jumping from one workout plan to another and another will always give you the same results: failure.

  • http://www.dmleblanc.com/ Dustin LeBlanc

    See this is the way I have been looking at it, though I have stopped caring about how much I weigh, I just want more of me to be muscle. I dont care for getting big, but if i stay just over 200lbs but drop under 20% body fat, I’d be cool with that, I dont need to lose another 20-30lbs if its not fat you know? Endurance would just be great so I could enjoy things like a game of frisbee or paintball. Until I read this, i think I was genuinely working towards a goal of doing all three at once. Makes me rethink my system.

  • DeboraD

    I am honestly a bit confused. In “Strength Training 101” you stated that if you want to lose weight you need to lift heavy. And now this article says you can’t build muscle AND lose weight. Does that mean you can lift heavy without building muscle? This is a sincere question, as I’m having trouble balancing eating little enough to have a caloric deficit, but enough to rebuild muscle as I’m trying to lose weight as well as get stronger.

  • http://walkingdeadlift.tumblr.com/ Molly H

    I want to climb a wall. I want to be able to pull my self up, and over a wall. cement, wooden, muddy, I want to be able to go over it.

  • Lisa Reynoso

    I’d like to see the answer to this too. I am going to start the body weight program (modified advanced for now), and I am toying with the idea of alternating eating at TDEE and eating below TDEE every week, or eating at TDEE whenever I get stalled in my progress, then resuming eating less for a while. I have at least 20 lb of fat to lose, and I know I can’t build 20 lb of muscle, so I’m going to have to lose some weight, but I’m more interested in what the tape measure says, as well as my strength progress, than I am in what the scale says (it currently says I gained 2 lb but I lost 1/2″ in both waist and hips during that same time).

  • JeanG

    I think he means “building muscle” as in getting bigger and having larger muscles ( the “bodybuilder” look). To do that, you need to train heavy and eat more than you burn (that gives you mass, and makes you bigger) so, for a person trying to lose weight, this approach may not be best. Strength/weight training burns more calories than aerobics alone, so its an integral part of weight loss (and toning, as it will develop your muscles and burn fat) I think that when the average Joe thinks he’s building muscle, what he is really doing is developing what muscle he (or she) already has and making it visible via weight loss. Or, I could be totally off base, lol

  • anna

    Man, I’ve said it before but I will say it again: The fact you recognise everyone is different and likes different things, combined with you telling people they need to be their own motivator, is just the absolute greatest. Learning that I had to pick what’s right for me and stick with it was such a liberator, and so good for deflecting underpants gnomes who start in with their latest idea.

    Been weightlifting for four months, parkour for seven, and capoeira for five. I’m not worried about losing weight or living up to anyone else’s standards, just getting stronger and better. I thank you for that.

    Another great article, man. Nice work.

  • http://yahfitness.com/ Benny

    I’ve recently been studying up on this bombardment of fitness information for ideas on exercise programming. From P90X, Scrawny 2 Brawny, Insanity, all the stuff in 4-hour body and many, many more. It really is a “Your product sucks, my way is better” world in the fitness industry.

    What you said is very true. It’s not which program you choose, but which one you stick and follow through with. In the end, you wind up customizing and fitting in the movements, sets, reps, intensity and building your own workout schedule and routine.

    The products on TV and the internet are good places to start, but find that that’s all they are. A beginners template to get your started on your first 30/60/90 days. They were good because it marketed a timeline for a set goal. Going back to your recent post about “What to do after you reached your goal”, there is a gap after the programs are completed. Do I repeat the cycle? Do I find something new? What if the something new doesn’t work?

    I started out with P90X, then into Insanity, then I formed a hybrid of the two. When I went to school, my schedule changed and my workouts feigned and got really boring. I cycled weight gain and weight loss. Then I found CrossFit, Strength & Conditioning, Rowing and the excitement of fitness went back up.

    Eventually, you need to mix it up, add and subtract, take breaks and find new mediums to get reinspired. Or else relapse is bound to happen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ladyhawk74 Jen Mackenzie

    as long as you’re eating in deficit you’ll lose flub 😉
    but you may find that your actual weight on the scale doesn’t drop so much
    I’m finding that my weight is kinda stuck on the scales, lost maybe 10kg in 15 months… but i’m so much stronger.. lost 60+ cm (definate flub) in the same time! woot muscle!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ladyhawk74 Jen Mackenzie

    You can’t stack on a heap of muscle.. grow those big biceps while eating in deficit, you can however maintain and strengthen the muscle you have. If you’re eating in deficit you NEED to lift heavy to maintain your current muscle and ensure that your body drops fat specifically, otherwise your body just uses whatever’s lying around muscle, fat, whatever. And like JeanG says, you can re-build or ‘renovate’ the muscle you already have.

    Steve isn’t contradicting himself as such, just confusing us a little with terminology

  • Al

    I have a karate tournament coming up so I’m focusing on building as much strength as possible and cardio. I cycle every month, one month a 5×5 strength cycle (heavy weight) next month doing tabata workout with weight to improve performance and muscle endurance.

    Does that make sense?

  • http://daybreakrun.com/ JoeFilipowicz

    I’ve been wandering aimlessly for the past several months. So, I decided to launch into a half marathon training program this month to get my endurance back. Guess that means the strength building will wait for now. Though, I am sure a few pushups and kettlebell swings won’t hurt…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/wes.brazel Wes Brazel

    Hi Steve,

    First of all, thank you for writing this article. It targets exactly what I’ve been going through lately. I’m trying to get back into exercise which has unfortunately been put on the back burner since I’ve started college. I’ve followed your site for some time and I think what you do is AWESOME! 🙂

    I have a predicament right now. In the past, I’ve really enjoyed biking more than anything else and I’m also enjoying learning to play tennis and walking/running with a friend. My whole life I’ve been the skinny guy who can’t gain any weight or muscle and I would really like to bulk up a little bit if I could, but I hate lifting weights or going to a gym. It seems the things I do enjoy aren’t really conducive to gaining weight.

    What do you think I should do? If I keep doing the things I enjoy, what should I supplement that with for overall general fitness?

  • Ben Kingslay

    That sounds fancy. I just look at the results, if the weights or reps are not increasing after several training sessions, it’s time to do adjustments(not necessarily change the whole program though) or deload.

  • http://www.facebook.com/boulder.basti Boulder Basti

    OBJECTION!

    I think when you do different areas of sports it can benefit from each other.

    So this is what I am doing in a week.

    3 times climbing (bouldering) which is my target sport. This kind of climbing is increasing my strength with intramuscular coordination and strength endurance and flexibility and also some motoric senses.

    1 time lifting “heavy” weights. This lets my muscle grow. Maybe not as fast as doing this only, but fast enough to see differences. But the main point here for me is to strenghten my joints especially shoulders and elbows, which are numer one injuries in climbing.

    Further I drive bycicle to the gyms. This is my stamina programm. Until now I did not have the feeling that this is decreasing my other training results. It is more the opposite. I have the feeling that I am now regenerating better from the intense training. Otherwise I would not be able to do 4 times hard training.

    Every 4-6 weeks I do a deload. (Lifter vocabulary)

    I think it is for beginners better to focus on one thing to avoid mental and organisational overload.

    Also I have to say that my genetics are surely not crazy ^^

    *This is my own opinion.*

    Edit: I do several training types but main focus is on climbing. Maybe this is why it works.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=714621406 Jeannette Sheehy

    “The BEST workout and diet plan is the plan that you actually follow through with.” I wholeheartedly agree. I wanted to run a 5K – I followed a C25K program and still enjoy running, but what I enjoy most and look forward to 3 – 4 times a week is kettlebell class and circuit training where we flip tyres and use sledgehammers and wrassle with ropes. I can see my body changing shape. The Whole30 plan changed my eating and I love that too!

  • http://www.thinslimfoods.com/ ThinSlim Foods

    DeboraD,
    To a certain extent,
    – you can build muscle without building strength
    – you can build strength without building muscle

    In direct response to your questions:
    “Does that mean you can lift heavy without building muscle?” – yes. If you lift heavy, but don’t eat a caloric surplus, or rest properly you can lift heavy and never actually build any muscle.

    “I’m having trouble balancing eating little enough to have a caloric
    deficit, but enough to rebuild muscle as I’m trying to lose weight as
    well as get stronger.” – I think it is first important to stop saying you want to lose weight and start saying you want to lose fat. This might help you wrap your brain around the next ideas because during overall weight loss you want the majority of the weight loss to come from losing fat as opposed to losing muscle.

    When trying to lose fat, it is important to either eat a caloric deficit or to eat in a way that leads to the direct use of fat for energy (a ketogenic diet.)

    Since you are eating in a caloric deficit when trying to lose fat it is not normally possible to also gain muscle (unless you are very new to working out or you are using steroids).

    That being said, studies have shown (sorry for the lack of reference) that lifting heavy while in a caloric deficit can actually help retain muscle and in many instances strength can increase.

    Hopefully that helps…a litte. It was very round about.

  • http://www.thinslimfoods.com/ ThinSlim Foods

    I definitely agree with Jen. Plus if your goal is actually, “I just want to be more useful body and less…extra.” then no need to worry about maximizing muscle gain at this point. If you are deadlifting and squatting, even in a caloric deficit, and you are relatively new to lifting you will be happy with the visible results.

  • http://twitter.com/justinrmatheson Justin Matheson

    I guess I will stop trying to do all three at once! I’m wondering though: can I still aim for three goals, but just do them one after another? I would like to drop a few pounds, then build muscle, then get my endurance up a bit.

  • http://twitter.com/NoMeatAthlete Matt Frazier

    I freaking love that Seth Godin quote. I actually had printed out that post of his and kept it on my desk for most of last year.

    Great post, and thanks for the link!

  • http://jjstrength.com/ Jake Johnson

    Great post Steve.

    I agree, I always follow the idea that “the pretty good program that you stick to is always better than the perfect program that you quit.”

    This concept would save a lot of people time and frustration trying to find that “magic pill”. Just taking action and moving forward with what you have is often the best way to see any kind of fitness results.

    Jake

  • Jean G

    Well, I’m not Steve, but hopefully I can help 🙂 It might help first to identify what your true goal is. by “gain weight/muscle” do you mean to have your muscles more defined and visible (the general “muscular look”) or do you want to be bodybuilder huge? Each one requires a different style of training. Once you have decided that, then why not incorporate some of the training (like once or twice a week) for your goal into your routine for a month and see how your body responds? Also, you don’t need a gym or weights to develop your muscles. All you need is resistance. Gymnasts develop their bodies primarily through body weight exercises, and we all know how jacked they are 🙂

  • http://www.dmleblanc.com/ Dustin LeBlanc

    Yeah thats kind of what I meant,People talk about losing weight, and to be honest, I think I may have plateau’d a bit on actual weight loss, which is okay with me. I dont feel I need to be any lighter, but I sure as heck know I need to be fitter!

  • http://www.dmleblanc.com/ Dustin LeBlanc

    Thanks for the encouraging feedback! This is kind of how I was thinking about it. Lifting heavy is sure to burn through calories like mad. I have already made significant diet changes and they seems to have gotten me about as far as its going to by itself, I need to start doing some heavy duty work to go further. Exit Fellowship of the Ring time, hello battle of Helsmdeep! 🙂

  • http://www.dmleblanc.com/ Dustin LeBlanc

    Your input is definitely helpful! It seems this is the one point of Steve’s article that resonates with most of us

  • Lisa Reynoso

    Makes total sense. I think I’m going to be doing something along those lines–alternate my focus on strength and cardio each month, though I will always have some of both. I get bored doing the same ol’ thing forever, and bored means I quit, so can’t have that!

  • Aaron

    Good post

  • FaceAK

    Track your progress by taking measurements. If you’re losing fat you’ll definitely lose inches even if you’re building muscle. Much better indication of progress than just using the scale =)

  • FaceAK

    I’ve always found this confusing too (re: eating little enough to have a caloric deficit, but enough to rebuild muscle…), UNTIL I started eating primal/paleo. All calories are NOT created equal! Steve talks about this a little and he supports a paleo diet, but I think Mark Sisson explains it best (marksdailyapple.com). If you decrease your carb intake to around 100 g a day (give or take, depends on the person and how much you work out), then you’ll actually start to burn fat. Your carb cals should come from veggies mostly and some fruit, maybe a sweet potato here and there; and then you also consume protein, which in your case would be vital to keeping/building muscle while losing fat.

    I’ve found that when I’m working out consistently while also sticking to veggies and protein, I don’t have to count calories and I can STILL lose weight. Also, after about a week of being very primal, I have more energy with less food because my body is burning fat (which is packed with energy!).

    So, I would really disagree with the notion that you must be in a calorie deficit to lose weight (especially fat). You have to consider what calories you’re consuming and how your body is using said calories.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yoovie Bri Hansen

    as usual, sent to everyone.

  • LWes

    I guess I’m one of those crazy people that want it all so that’s how I work out. I started out two years ago at a gym, ignored all their classes and advice and just did my own routine. Dropped 20 lbs in about a year while building muscle and endurance, and increased my flexibility as well. All this by consistently following what works for me: 4 miles cardio (I did 5 miles daily for the first year but have since cut back), lift weights, stretch 5X a week. Now it’s two years later and I’m the weird gal at my gym who doesn’t talk to anyone but makes work outs look easy, and I’m happy to say, I’ve developed a body that younger people are envious of. BTW, I’m 53 years old with an 8-yr old and a husband so it’s not like I’m a kid either. But I love coming to this site because I feel so at home here. My gym is full of chatter and posers, and seniors socializing on the treadmills. And they wonder why they don’t see any results!

  • Bird

    I totally agree, Benny. I also have a number of “at home” fitness programs and videos, but I never use them according to the schedule they suggest anymore. I did when I first began working out after my first child, but now I find that the programs bore me if I stick with them too rigidly. Sometimes I feel like being at the gym, and sometimes I’m busy and a home work-out fits well with my schedule. I stick with a self-made program until I begin to lose interest, and then I tweak it so that I am trying out a new skill, or challenging myself to a new goal. Otherwise I’ve been known to drop out of the race for a month (or two) and that’s way more frustrating than wondering whether you’ve chosen the right program!

  • Winnie83

    Ok, now I’m a little bit confused. Don’t get me wrong, I love this article, I did pick a group, namely the Adventurers, exactly because I can’t choose between running and lifting weight. I am 80/20 on paleo or else I’ll just loose too much weight and I’m already on my ideal weight. The only thing is that I haven’t reached my ideal fatpercentage yet. I’m turning 30 this year and as a proper nerd, I always throw themed party’s. Theme of this year would be: ”30 is the new 20 (body fat percentage)”. But, are you saying that to get over the plateau I seem to have reached with strenght training, I probably have to give up running? Please comment.

  • alexs@upfromnothing.com

    @ Courtney Marie and Jenn Mackenzie congrats on the progress, and improvements Rome wasn’t built in a day. Keep it up!

    I have had the pleasure of creating my own weight loss and overall fitness plan. It ultimately comes down to SMART goals. I placed a premium on constantly being measurable, which is what the post alludes to. Runners should spend time doing things that they can grow from, I for instance set a goal of becoming stronger and now find myself slowly adjusting weights and exercises, now that I have seen the plan work to fruition.

  • Mansal

    Great stuff, Steve. Keep up the good work. Different strokes for different folks.

  • TITLE Boxing Club Charlotte

    Great advice, thanks for sharing!

  • BruteSquad

    After running a Spartan Race, in my NF performance T, I found out I need more strength. So goal for the next three months is to lift heavy. Heavy weight, low reps. We will see where it goes from there.

  • Guest

    Here is my favorite sentence from the article.

    “The BEST workout and diet plan is the plan that you actually follow through with.”

    Definitely words to live by.

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com/ Steve Kamb

    hey Winnie!

    Can you explain what kind of plateau you mean? If you’re at your ideal weight and your body fat percentage needs to decrease, I think increasing the strength training and switching to sprints/intervals instead of distance cardio might help you get over the hump.

    That being said, do what you enjoy. Do you enjoy running? do you enjoy the lifting weights stuff? If dropping bodyfat percentage is your goal…diet is 90% of it anyways.

    Can you tell me more about your plateau and what you’re currently stuck on? cheers!

    -Steve

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com/ Steve Kamb

    more power to ya! congrats!

    -steve

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com/ Steve Kamb

    yes. That’s actually the order i would do it in too.

    Get yourself down to an ideal bodyfat percentage, then pack on some size and then add endurance. obviously, this would have to change if you were competing or following a specific protocol that required something different.

    In my opinion though, that would get you to that end goal the fastest. Focus on dropping body fat percentage, then work on building muscle and mixing in some sprints (which will indirectly help you with your endurance). cheers!

    -steve

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com/ Steve Kamb

    Sounds like you found the plan that works for you – by all means keep it up! Cheers!

    -steve

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com/ Steve Kamb

    Hey Wes!

    I think Tennis and walking is more than okay. If you want to get bigger, you need to eat considerably more. For example, i eat somewhere in the 3000-4000 calories per day range.

    http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/06/25/super-hero-muscle/

    Should help get you started! And I managed to pack on some weight without a gym membership:

    http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2011/07/25/how-to-stay-in-shape-while-traveling/

    -Steve

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com/ Steve Kamb

    hey Joe!

    absolutely: check out strengthrunning.com – you can absolutely improve your running with strength training, and you can even get stronger as well. its just quite difficult to add size and muscle while focusing on endurance.

    -steve