One interesting thing about fitness and other workout routines is that it can be difficult to judge the level of a particular routine or program. There is not a basic rating or grading method that everyone uses. In skiing, for example, hills are rating on a various scale that is somewhat similar across the resorts in the U.S. You know that a double black diamond will be darn tough and not for the inexperienced.
But we don’t have that with our training programs for the gym.
Oh sure, you might see things like intermediate or advanced training in the title but who is to say if it really is or what level you are at. By the same token there are no age or sex breakdowns between programs. Honestly some programs are geared towards older men and others towards younger women and it is obvious; other times it is not.
How do you Tell the Difference?
The basic rule of thumb to determining what you are is based on years of experience in a gym. If you have been working out less than 6 months, more than likely you are a beginner. If you are between 6 months and 2 to 3 years then you are intermediate. Beyond that you are more than likely advanced. But keep in mind these are general ranges simply based on the expected amount of stress you have put your body through. If you spend 3 years hardly working hard at all in the gym you are still a beginner.
As you get used to working out, your body builds up its endurance and natural resistance to various training programs. The response is to then learn new methods that are more difficult on your body such as longer training sessions or ones that are much more intense. That is when the levels change from beginner to intermediate, and then advanced. If you jump ahead levels it will more than likely overload your body.
An example might be a beginner chest workout is probably just 2 exercises for 2 or 3 sets each. You are doing 4 to 6 total sets of work. An advanced routine might use 4 to 5 exercises with anywhere from 2 sets to 5 sets per exercise. You might do anywhere from 16 to 25 sets. That is a huge increase in volume of work as well as the mental aspect to stay focused over that period. On top of that, unless you have built up your recovery ability you are going to be awfully sore for quite some time. Typically speaking younger men and women should do less volume training than people in their prime. Also as people get past 40 they should usually ease back on total volume of training as well.
Take Your Time
One thing people who have worked out for years understand; it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. More than likely you will be working out for quite a long time. It makes no sense to rush yourself since more than likely unless you are a genetic marvel it will just hurt your chances to grow bigger, stronger, or more fit as fast as you might want. Yes it would be great to get a beach body in two months but if you have never worked out before now is not the time to try Arnold’s Olympia Body Blaster.
Instead start at your own pace and move up when your body is ready. Listen to yourself and trust your own body. After all, we are all built differently.