Out with the old. In with the new

So this Monday was a special Monday for me. Had the same sleep-inducing lectures, the same lengthy practicals and even the same hefty workload, BUT I finally started a new workout plan! Okay, it isn’t exactly something to throw a party about, but it has genuinely been something I have looked forward to.

My previous plan, German Volume Training (or GVT for short), was one that I was recommended and have followed for about a year now! To break it down into simple terms, it involves selecting a few (mostly compound) exercises and following a 10×10 split. That’s 10 sets of 10 reps – so 100 reps for each exercise! Combine that with a three second negative on each repetition and you can understand why initially it was a complete shock to my body. However, as with all daunting challenges, I came out “the other side” a stronger man; the rate of improvement in both my strength and physique were unlike anything I had experienced beforehand. So why the change? In all honesty, I was asking myself the same thing in the weeks leading up to the big decision. But after just a week at University the signs were there that change was definitely needed. Such a high-volume workout requires time, time which was of abundance in the summer but certainly not in a packed 9am-5pm Uni timetable and weighty directed studies. The four hour workouts were increasingly becoming harder to fit in, and I even had to resort to training at 5am on occasion! This further compounded the issue of being mentally drained; often not looking forward to the next workout and thus not giving it my best.

Taking that significant step from knowing that change is needed to actually going about making those changes can be rather intimidating. It is “common knowledge” amongst bodybuilders that a change in your workout split routinely can actually be beneficial in recruiting different types of muscle fibres, yet I stuck with my split since last October, with good reason too; why fix something if it isn’t broken?! I was continually making progress from the start to the day I changed my plan and it was the fear of losing this that prevented me from making the switch sooner. The internet can be a great place, providing a number of workout routines, but it’s hard to siphon out what you think would actually work for you! Eventually, the aforementioned drawbacks alongside the extreme burnout forced my hand, and as such I am trying a new pyramid style training program.

The change in my training regiment coincides with a change in my gym. Moving back up to my university in Birmingham meant that I could afford to choose one of three options to be my new Mecca for working out. First of all, there was the student gym. Despite being the cheapest of them all and the most convenient (just two minutes from my student halls!), it was easy to discard training here for one simple reason; student gyms mean having to deal with student egos; guys who have no clue what they’re doing, spend more time flexing than actually working out and bite way more than they can chew! On the other hand, there was “The Gym” around 10 minutes walking distance, which should rather be described a fitness centre than an actual gym. The 30kg dumbbell limit, the lack of resistance equipment and the poor taste in music (I once saw an East-Asian couple dancing along to Gangnam Style!) are all bearable, but like the student gym, the crowd it attracts is its biggest downfall. Which leads me to EasyGym, a newly opened training facility in the city centre. Whilst being equidistant as The Gym from the University campus, it offers much more with respect to facilities with the weights climbing up to 50kg rather than the 30. Although that may not be of significance to me at the moment, the environment and the whole feel of the place are much better suited to me.

All these calculated changes should work in my favour in the long-run. It has only been a week since these changes have been implemented and although it is almost certainly too soon to make any comments on whether they are working, I am definitely enjoying my workouts again! Only time will tell whether my progress in physique will match my reignited motivation.

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