In this article I am hoping to display the points as to whether you should use your friends workout and the issues that this may cause you.
I think that time of year has come again, when everyone see’s the first ray of sunlight and realised their fitness hibernation and binge eating has taken a toll over the winter period, and everyone realises they need to get in shape. However, this last week I have literally been inundated by friends who are complaining to me that the workout regime or programme isn’t working.
Every single conversation starts “Hi Steve I’m really struggling to loose weight I don’t think my programme is working!”.
My first question: “Who did you get the programme from?”
This usually saves me a lot of time. I’m pretty familiar with most of the local trainers all of which do a pretty good job so if a name I recognise pops up then it usually is a tell tale sign that the friend isn’t following the programme correctly. The other thing this allows me to identify is when the friend has got it off the internet or off a friend who has been given a programme.
If the friend isn’t following the programme correctly then that is usually fixed quite quickly. Sometimes it is just a matter of putting them back on track with nutrition or getting them to speak to their trainer and asking for clarification (You should not be embarrassed about not understanding a plan isn’t your fault. You are not the expert so asking the personal trainer is nothing to be frightened of).
The second issue is a nightmare situation for me; they have got a plan off a friend who is being trained by a professional. Trying to explain this to people is a long process but the best analogy I can use is this:
“Your friend comes out of the doctors having got athletes foot. The doctor has prescribed them with a cream to fix their foot. You, however, have got a broken arm. You see that the doctor has given them a cream to fix their foot and so, instead of going in to speak to the doctor, you put the cream on your arm to fix your broken arm. Naturally, this does nothing to fix your broken arm, leaves you with a lot of pain and suffering and causes further complications when it comes to fixing your arm further down the line.”
So hopefully by now you are starting to guess the answer as to whether you should use your friends workout for yourself. The issue comes down to specificity. General fitness is a myth. Ask any sports professional what general fitness is and they will splutter and cough and not have any straight answer for you. Any fitness programme has a direct purpose; whether that to be to improve cardiac function and health or to burn body fat. Everything we do is for a reason.
Just because your friend is the living epitome of everything you want to look like doesn’t mean their programme will get you there. For instance, if they have got to the level of body fat they want and are now concentrating on performance their personal trainer or coach will have adapted their plan so that it makes them more powerful. So when you use your friends workout what your actually training is for performance and you’ve skipped 6 months of your friends workout that was aimed at body fat burning.
Another issue is all the weights and movements are specific to that persons SMART targets. The weights could be ineffective at best and at worst could really damage your body! The same can be said for the movements. At best simple isolation movements may just prove ineffective for your goals but at worst a massive compound movement like an olympic clean and press could land you in hospital.
If you want to achieve a certain goal the best person to ask is a personal trainer or, for people who are lucky to be in my friends position, a sports science student. They may not have time to coach you or you may no be able to afford it but they can probably rattle you off a specific plan for the very goal you want instead of you using your friends workout that is potentially going to cause you all sorts of issues.
In conclusion, never ever use a workout unless the weights, movements and goals have been built with you in mind. As similar as someone else maybe it is not worth the risk.
Stephen Nash is the lead Exercise Physiologist at Faultless Fitness. With a wealth of experience in delivering clinical and sports interventions, he has helped scores of people achieve their health and sports performance goals.