The No Plan Training Plan!!

workout-diaryHi Everyone,

I hope you are sitting down as what I’m about to say might shake your world just a little bit. At the very least it will send any professional coaches or trainers reading this into meltdown. Here goes…….”I’m a big fan of not having a training plan!!”  There I’ve said it, you can pull yourself up off the floor now.

Let me try to put a little context around that bold statement. I know that the entire industry revolves around fitness and training plans. Magazines, Websites and many trainers base their entire income and life around designing and coaching fitness, training and workout plans. So who am I to diss them so easily? Well the answer is, I’m no-one, and I’m not dissing them…well not completely.

This site is Ordinary Guy Fitness and for many ordinary people trying to stick to a hard and fast training and diet regime can be very tough. I’m not talking about mentally but more so just because our lives are complex and busy. You may be able to get to the gym 4 times this week but only twice next. You can prep your meals and eat healthily for the next few days but then are going to be away on business and eating out a lot, etc etc.

Don’t get me wrong, properly designed training and eating plans 100% work BUT in the real world, hand on heart, are you always going to stick to it?


No Plan:

So what exactly am i proposing…..that you have no plan at all and just turn up and wing it whenever you can? No, absolutely not. That definitely won’t work. However there is a middle way, a way that builds flexibility, some creativity and a longer term approach into your health and fitness. Here is how it works, or at least how I utilise these ideas myself.

Firstly you need to understand what it is that you are trying to achieve, and ideally this should be a medium to long term goal. So the best example I can give is myself. What’s my longer term goals? Well i want to be fit and healthy, able to run, play some sports, look good in clothes and on the beach well into my 60’s (I’m currently heading for 48). That’s the long term goal. The medium term (next couple of years) is to hit 50 looking and being as fit and buff as possible. Shorter term (next 6/9 months) is to gain as much muscle as I can over the next 4 months and then get as cut as I possibly can in time for summer and possibly, finally, at long last reveal some proper six pack abs.

So you would think that to achieve that I need a proper plan right? Not necessarily. What I have is a broad brush , high level plan, and then I just change the day to day components to suit how I’m feeling, what I’m doing and what’s happening in my life.

So for example. I know that to gain muscle I have to train all the main body parts – Shoulders, Back, Chest, Arms, Legs, Abs probably a couple of times a week plus throw in some good cardio/fitness work. A traditional plan would probably split that into something like a 5 day routine with a couple of push days, a couple of pull days and a cardio day. Or 5 days of 2 bodypart splits etc. You would then stick to that routine pretty rigidly for 2 to 3 months.

I’m not suggesting anything radically different to that, I just like to take a slightly more intuitive approach based on what I’m “feeling”. Here is what I mean. I may go to the gym on Monday and blitz a Chest and Triceps session, maybe with a little Abs to end. Then Tuesday I might do Back and Shoulders. So logically Wednesday should be Legs and Biceps right? However , If I came out of Monday’s session thinking “you know what, i really didn’t feel my Triceps and wimped out a bit on them, I’m gonna do them again today”….that’s fine, do what you feel is best. Then the next day you hit the Biceps and Legs. Day after that you should probably do Chest and Triceps again but you’ve already done those twice so maybe do Chest and Shoulders. Just mix it up as and when you feel it’s right.

I know that sounds confusing but it really isn’t. It’s just about doing what your body and mind feels is the best to do on that day. You know in your own mind that you need to train all your body parts regularly AND do cardio. None of you are dumb and can remember what you have been doing over the last week or two so just adjust and flex as you go along. Rather than a weekly plan, have a more holistic 3 to 4 week plan where you roughly speaking hit everything that you need to equally during that period. This has so many positives for your training and lifestyle.

  • It means you don’t get stale by following the same routine all the time
  • It means that if you are really sore and need to rest a body part, fine, just hit something else
  • It means if you feel a body part is lagging behind, or you need to focus on weight loss or need to bulk up you can do it. Hell I’ve trained Biceps 3 days on the trot sometimes….it’s not against the law. Going off plan isn’t illegal despite what your PT says.
  • It means that if your life gets in the way and you can’t train as often or when you want you just adjust things. Do 3 bodyparts or a whole body workout for a few sessions.
  • By having an overall strategic plan but not a rigid daily plan you don’t feel like you are letting yourself down when you miss something out.
  • It’s fun. Last Friday I drove to the Gym with no idea what I was going to do and in the end did a load of stretching , made up a HiiT routine and then went on the rowing machine. I loved it. Follow your intuition.

Psychologically I really think this works. So many people set off on a training regime with fantastic intentions. Then something happens, an injury, family commitments, work issues etc. They fall off the plan for a week or two and their mind set changes. They believe they can’t get going again, become despondent “this damn fitness stuff is just too hard!!” and they give up. Having a “No plan, plan” helps with that because you haven’t really missed anything or let anyone down.

The critical thing is, you DO need to understand what your targets and goals are. You need to know that when you gaze into the distance, you do have a specific destination. As long as you get there at roughly the time you want and in the shape you want, does it really matter what route you take?

So if you have an organised life and can follow a strict plan fantastic, that will work for you. If not, if your life is a bit more chaotic like the rest of us, then ditch the rigid plan and follow your instincts. To recap, here are my top tips.

  • Have an overall plan of what you want to achieve some way down the track
  • Figure out the things you need to do regularly to get there.
  • Incorporate all of those things regularly and semi methodically into your routine BUT mix it up based on what’s happening in your life and how you feel.
  • Adjust the plan (or no plan) regularly based on the progress you are making and what you feel needs extra focus and work.
  • Above all, be happy with yourself and enjoy what you are doing.

Take Care,


As always if you enjoyed this post please comment, like, share, subscribe etc. My other social media links are below.

ALSO – Don’t forget. If you want my fantastic OG Fitness home workout exercise bands please visit Amazon here . The price has just reduced for Christmas and if you use my special discount code of OGSALE01 you will get a further 15% off at checkout.


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Small Goals Lead to Great Things!

Yes You Can!

Hey Everybody,
Firstly I owe you an apology. I’ve been missing in action for a week and no new posts so sorry to have let you down. I’m back now and hope you enjoy this one.

I read a post today by a really good friend of mine who also happens to be a fantastic personal trainer and the fittest guy I know. He talked about a small single goal that he set himself just two weeks ago that he wanted to achieve by tomorrow, 1st July, which is his birthday (Happy Birthday Mate). It revolved around wanting to get his personal best up to a certain amount of weight for a single specific lift……and it got me thinking.

To me what he did is a perfect example of what we should all be doing. Setting small, simple, very targeted, completely measurable goals over short time periods. He did it, and he achieved it, and so can you.

We all have big dreams: Building a great business, owning a Ferrari, getting a proper six pack (yep that’s mine, i own up!) or playing football for England. However realistically it’s very unlikely that you can just make the jump in one easy move from where you are now to that big ambition. In reality it will be a slow and gradual process with successes and failures along the way. We have all heard the sayings, sometimes clichés – “every journey starts with a single step”, “don’t run before you can walk” etc etc. We probably disregard them but you know what, they are 100% true.

If you set yourself unrealistic and possibly unachievable goals too early in your fitness and health process a couple of things will happen. 1) You won’t achieve them because they will be impossible without putting the building blocks in place first. 2) When you don’t achieve them you will dent your confidence, feel crap about yourself and that will make it so much harder mentally to get to where you want to go.

baby steps 1

Baby Steps:

It is a cliché but seriously, start with some Baby Steps. What do i mean by that? Well in reality it is actually really straightforward. Think about your lifestyle and think about what it is that you want to achieve. Do you want to lose a load of weight, run a marathon, build great bicep and chest muscles, or combinations of all of the above? Then think of some small, specifically measurable and definitely achievable goals. Now I don’t mean something so stupidly easy that actually it isn’t a goal at all. It needs to require some effort and at least a bit of willpower otherwise what’s the point. Try to think of a list of at least 10 things that you absolutely KNOW that if you did them and could achieve them, then you would be well on the path towards hitting some of your bigger targets and long term goals. Not only that but you will feel fantastic about yourself and that self confidence will really help push you further along that path.

So I am going to set you all a task, and you’d better bloody do it as I will be watching!!!

Pick a simple small goal that you can achieve tomorrow. It can be anything but it needs to be Health & Fitness related eg “I will eat no biscuits, sweets or fizzy drinks tomorrow whatsoever”. Or “I will walk back from the station rather than get the bus”. Or “I will ONLY drink water all day tomorrow”.

Then pick a similar but different goal that you set yourself for the next week eg “I will work out or go to the Gym 4 times”. “I will not drink any alcohol until this time next week”. “I will cut out ALL bread for the entire week”. Again it can be anything but it needs to be specific to health and fitness and it needs to be something you can do in a week or maintain for a week.

Then finally set yourself another small goal that you can achieve for a month. It has to be an action and it has to be specific, so saying “i want to lose half a stone” is not an action, it’s just a hope, an aim a dream. It needs to be something like “I will do a minimum of 20 workouts in the month”. Then keep a record and make sure you do them. Or, “I will increase my squats by 15kg by end of the month”. Or, “I will cut out sugar totally for the month” (That’s a real toughie but by all means give it a go).

You need to keep records of what you are doing. Write it down, put a sign up around the house, put it out there on Facebook… declaring things publicly you force yourself to avoid embarrassment by making sure you hit the goal. Do this as often as you can, set new ones on a regular basis. By setting these small, regular and most importantly achievable goals I promise you, you will transform your life.

Success is this way!You may think “how can these silly little goals” get me to where i want to be? I understand that thought process….but you’re wrong! They all add up. Daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals and lots of them… Very quickly over the matter of just 3 to 4 months all those small things that you have achieved will almost imperceptibly transform you. Just by doing these tiny little things you WILL lose weight, become healthier, become stronger, lift more, run faster, fit in those jeans. Your friends will notice, you’ll get compliments on your butt. You will BE on the road to success and it won’t feel like you have really had to work for it. Again another cliché for you SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS!” It is a cliché, but it’s there for a reason……because it’s true!

So don’t hesitate and don’t let me down. Get off your arse, go and grab a pen and paper and start writing……”Tomorrow I WILL (or WON’T)……”, “For the next week i WILL……..” and finally “By the end of next Month or during the next month i WILL……..”

Please report back, let me know how you get on, i really do welcome your comments. Once again sorry for the lack of action but MY goal is to write more posts over the next month.

Take Care,


Setting achievable Goals – 5 ways not to fail.

Mountain GoalsWe all have dreams and aspirations of some sort. Every one of us at some stage has lain in bed at night and thought “if only” or “i wish i could…”. So why do some people seem to be able to achieve those aims and make them reality, and others just don’t.

Setting goals is a bit of a cliché. We have all worked at companies or in jobs where tired bosses sit us all in a room and we “brainstorm” a set of goals that we’d like to achieve. However the trick is to get away from that negative mindset around goals and bring them back into a sense of reality. What is a “goal”? Very simply it’s just something you’d like to do or an aim you’d like to achieve. So how can you turn that goal or dream into reality. Use the 5 tips below and by implementing these simple techniques you WILL achieve your health and fitness goals.

  1. Be Realistic: This is THE most critical point of all. We may all have dreams but look at yourself in the mirror and genuinely ask yourself “is this possible?”. I’m all for setting high standards and reaching the top of the mountain, but we do also have to look at our limitations and be real. If you currently get out of breath running 50 yards for the bus then setting yourself a goal of running the Marathon in under 3 hours is too big a leap. You have to make a realistic assessment of where you are now and set a challenging but achievable target of where you would like to get to. So if you are struggling to run to the bus stop, set a target of running 3 miles without stopping. If you are 6 stone overweight, don’t commit to losing all 6 stone immediately, set a target of losing half of that weight in a set period. That brings me onto the next point….
  2. Change and reset your goals regularly. People seem to think that if they set a goal it is cast in stone. Life isn’t like that. Life throws you curve balls all the time. Your circumstances change, your health, job, family situation may all change for the better or worse and you have to be flexible enough to accommodate those changes and the effect they may have on your goals. Similarly as you work towards the goal you may surprise yourself and need to reset the goal. If your aim is to run 3 miles and you suddenly find you have an aptitude for running then push it out to 5 miles or 10 miles. If the weight falls off of you very easily change the time period you are looking at. I’d also suggest that the best way to set goals is to take it in small chunks. If you do want to run a marathon you don’t go out and hit 26 miles on day one. You aim for 5 miles, then 10, then 15 and work your way towards the end goal. That should be the same in all areas of your health and fitness regime. Constantly appraise yourself, where are you at, what can you change and are you making progress towards the ultimate target?
  3. Make sure your goal is measurable in some way or that you can keep track of it. If it’s just about appearance then take a selfie in front of the mirror once a week. You will be amazed at how motivating it is to see and be able to detail those small incremental changes. Keeping a record of the improvements you are making whether that is more weight you are lifting, kilo’s you are losing, dress sizes you are dropping or just how much more toned you look in photo’s will inspire you to keep up the good work. Sometimes progress is slow or moves forward in almost unseen steps. if you can document it, however small, it will keep you on track and moving forward.
  4. However the flip side of point 3 is this. Don’t panic if you have a setback or it isn’t working. At some point in whatever it is that you are trying to achieve you will hit a plateau, a point where you get stuck and don’t seem able to make any more progress. You may stop losing weight, just can’t improve your running times or can’t get your bench press above 100kg no matter how hard you try. It’s really important at those points not to be become negative or demotivated. Cut yourself some slack, step back and take a look at a)how far you have come already and b) what you might be able to change to continue moving forward again. In many cases just taking a week off, recharging your batteries and giving your body and mind some time off is all you need. Start again after the week off and see what happens. If that doesn’t work you may just need to change your routine a bit. Your body is very clever and if you do the same thing all the time it adjusts and stops making progress. That’s why changing your approach and making small changes to your goals on a regular basis is so important.
  5. Make your goals public and put a time frame on them. That doesn’t mean you need to put an advert in the local newspaper, but DO tell a few of your loved ones and close friends what your aims are. “Why would i want to do that?” you ask, “that’s embarrassing!” Well for two reasons really. Firstly if you tell other people your aims then almost everyone i know will feel the same way. They feel that by publicly committing to something you are letting not only yourself down but other people as well if you stray away from your target, and that can be a very powerful motivator. Secondly however, those people can and will help you. If you have a bit of a blip, fall off the wagon or just start to struggle then those close to you can give you the support and help you need to pick yourself back up and keep going. They can push you towards your targets and give you the impetus to keep going even when it becomes tough.

So to summarise what i have said very briefly. Set realistic targets that are achievable based on where you are now. Set a time frame and a way of measuring your progress. Appraise and if need be change those goals on a regular basis and finally tell some of your closest friends and relatives so that they can help you out (and give you some friendly stick if you start to wilt).

Don’t hesitate, start now. Get a piece of paper, write down 5 things you’d like to achieve and then pick one that you want get started on. Set a date, figure out how you are going to go about it and get cracking. Climbing the biggest mountain starts with the very first small step, so do that RIGHT NOW!!

Take Care,