Are You A Planner Or A Winger?

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latte Yesterday I posted an interesting question to Twitter that I was pondering during the day. I love Twitter for that purpose. I always get responses and love reading different opinions.

When you go to the gym, do you plan out exercises and sets?
Or do you just go with a body part in mind?

The answers were pretty much split 50/50. Half plan out exercises in advance – some well in advance – and have a list of exercises, sets and reps. Specific weights are a subjective thing. Whether you have a plan ahead of time or not, if you’ve been exercising for a while you have a ballpark starting weight.

It can go up or down depending on how you feel, when the last time you ate was, your energy level and a bunch of other factors. I go with a starting weight estimated and will adjust up or down depending on how that exercise feels at the time. The important thing is to use a weight that will push you enough to cause muscle change if that’s your goal.

The other half just have a body part in mind and wing it when they get there. Lifting isn’t a new invention so the exercises per muscle group is pretty standard. Most lifters have a goal in mind and already know the number of reps to work towards the goal. You can easily go to the gym and mentally pick your exercises as you go by relying on your mental database of exercises.

I can definitely see benefits of both ways. Planning ahead helps people like me who are newer to lifting make sure that everything is covered and we know what we are doing ahead of time. It helps keep the intensity up during the workout since we know what is coming next instead of spending time thinking of what we should do and fumbling around. I’m guilty of the fumbling part for sure, but I’ve gotten better!

Just having a body part in mind helps to keep your workout constantly changing since you do different exercises each time instead of getting into auto-pilot mode. It gives you a chance to work with weights and equipment that’s available in a busy gym instead of having to wait until a bench is free to work your plan. It does require a bit of experience though so you know what you’re doing.

I’m kinda split down the middle of both ways. Yeah, go figure. 😉 I usually have a plan worked out when I go, but I adjust once I’m there. The other day my plan was all biceps first then moving to triceps with short bursts of cardio in between sets. I got to the gym and realized I was running short on time. I changed it into supersets of bicep/triceps instead of having the longer rest periods.

It worked perfectly, kept the intensity up, let my biceps rest while my triceps worked and vice versa, and got me out of the gym faster. The important thing is to do what works for you and gets you the results you want.

Are you a planner or do you wing it?

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