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August 8, 2019

031 | Structured Vs. Intuitive Lifting Program

The FitsPRO Podcast with Annie Miller on following a structured workout program versus lifting intuitively

Is a structured program or intuitive lifting the best fit for you now?

This podcast is essentially the comparison of different periods of my life, different training blocks if you will.

Today I lay out when someone might use a structured program. WHY a structured program is beneficial.

We cover when someone might choose or transition to intuitive lifting and why THAT can be beneficial as well.

First off – a structured program is simply a program that is pre-written and hopefully goal oriented.

This is great for someone in their first 1-3 years of lifting in my opinion.

Following structured programs provides accountability to the athlete, relieves stress in trying to figure it out for themselves, and the structure hopefully gives the athlete a good base to build off of later when they play with intuitive lifting.

Another benefit of a structured program is that it sets feelings aside. That’s the accountability piece I was talking about. Don’t get me wrong, acknowledging feelings is something I think we need to practice as humans. But more often than not, when it comes to lifting, you should go, and get the workout in.

I say I feel motivated 20% of the time. And I love lifting. There is ALWAYS, at least 5 other things I could be doing with my time than lifting, but having the accountability of the set program, gets me there. It gets you in the headspace of “if I don’t go, what then?” And maybe you can go tomorrow or move things around. Either way, the structure and having a plan helps negate those “I don’t feel like lifting feelings.”

With that, on the flip side, intuitive lifting allows you to go with the flow.

So intuitive lifting is just that – you lift on your own time, when you want, and make it up day by day. Which is why I don’t suggest it until you have years of training under your belt.

For two reasons – 1, you have a base of technique to work off of, as well as a decent tool box of exercise and program methodologies. And 2, you’ve proven to yourself that you CAN be consistent with lifting and getting to the gym.

The motivation has to be intrinsic when lifting intuitively. It’s much easier to “fall off the horse” with intuitive lifting. It’s all on you.

I basically lifted or worked out intuitively for the year of travel my husband and I did. We’d get a gym membership now and and again as I made up each workout based on how my body was feeling that day. That can be clear benefit of intuitive lifting.

And it can be fun. I think there is a freedom in it and I think there is the potential to really get in tuned with your body when working out on the fly.

I will say, I wouldn’t expect gains when lifting intuitively. Gains come largely from progressive overlaid. Which typically comes from progressive programming. And that is somewhat counterintuitive to intuitive lifting.

I do think you can maintain as long as you’re consistent when getting to the gym and hitting certain lifts.

Intuitive lifting is a great test of creativity, commitment and really understanding the human body I think.

So, a structured program wins for me MOST OF THE TIME –

I just started following my own Built By Annie Plus program after returning from our world travels. When we got back I was lifting intuitively because we didn’t have a schedule and we have some little trips planned locally so i didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment in being inconsistent with my lifts.

So, now that we are settled back in and I’ve had some time to see where my body is at in the gym, I went with BBA Plus because it’s only 3 days per week. While I could probably make 4-5 days happen, I really want to be consistent and feel good about my sessions so I am committing to 3 days, and then if I get a 4th or 5th day those will be intuitive and icing on the cake and I’ll still be proud and satisfied if I only get 3 days in.

Because with those three days I will also be making progress and gains. It’s not about how many days you train, it’s about what goes down in those training sessions. That’s another podcast.

A structured program made zero sense when traveling the world. But now, it makes THE MOST sense. And it’s also the only way I’ll get my base back before leaving for another round of travels. More on that later by the way. T minus 4 months until 2020 rounds the corner and that means four months until we board a freaking plane to either New Zealand or Patagonia. WHO KNOWS!?

With all of that, which is better for you right now? Structured or intuitive? You need a break from the structure? Want the freedom to just make it up on the fly? Have a schedule that just isn’t conducive to a structured program right now? Or you need and love the accountability of a structured program? Love counting on the gains and not having to think about or plan anything?

Shoot me a DM over on IG and let me know.

If you find value here, on The FitsPRO Podcast, then pretty please head over to itunes, subscribe, rate and review the show. It means the world to me when you spread my message to more humans.

Want more podcasts? Click here to skim the archives.

P.S. Save this value packed episode for later over on pinterest!

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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