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How To Design An Effective Personalized Program.

Designing an effective personalized program is important for success, but for that to work you must deal with some key issues. Here I will talk a little about lifestyle, stress levels, sleeping habits and your physiology.

There are plenty of great programs out there such as: 5x5, EDT, HOC, German Volume Training and PHA. However, just because a program works for others, does not mean that it will work well for you. Many trainees look for programs online, in magazines, in books etc hoping that they will find the best training regimen.

Which Workout Program Has Given You The Best Results?

German Volume Training.

Designing A Personalized Program

First, there is no best training regimen. No program will work forever. Second, generic programs do not take you as an individual into account. No one is thinking of your lifestyle, stress levels, sleeping habits, and your physiology. Is any of this stuff important? You bet it is.

If you work ten hours a day, sleep five hours per night, and eat three crappy meals per day, chances are high that an intense training program such as EDT is not a fit for you.

What Is EDT?
Escalating Density Training is a training style created by Coach Staley. Staley realized after several years that the key to getting bigger is to simply do more volume in a designated time period at each workout. For example, if you did 40 total reps on the bench press in a fifteen minute time frame with three hundred pounds, then your goal at your next bench press workout is to do a minimum of 41 reps.

You may only be able to work out two times per week at a moderate intensity and expect to make progress. Moreover, if your testosterone levels and Growth hormone levels are low (applies to both men and women) then intense training may not be a fit for you. Your levels may be low from either working out too hard or inactivity. This needs to be determined to maximize the benefits of a training regimen.

Human Growth Hormone And Exercise. Human Growth Hormone And Exercise.
Two of the biggest factors that play a role in the release of human growth hormone are sleep and exercise. How do HGH and the others effect each other? To learn more about these and what you can do then please read on ...
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Optimizing Anabolic Hormones:

    Doctors often state that if your IGF-1 levels are close to 200ng/dl then you can increase it with intense exercise. However, your GH levels may be low due to intense training, high levels of stress, and lack of sleep. Thus, you may have to decrease the frequency and intensity of your training to get your levels back up.

    Mike Mahler Mike Mahler
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    Author, Mike Mahler.

    You may even be better off taking a week off from training and catching up on sleep. By the way, low GH levels is not something that you should take lightly. Keeping your GH levels in the ideal range of 200ng/dl to 350ng/dl will have a profound effect on your training and well being as GH is an anti-aging hormone.

    This does not mean that you should start taking GH injections, but it does mean that you should make lifestyle changes to enhance your GH levels. Same goes for testosterone. If you are levels are low (Men below 500ng/dl) then you may suffer from depression, lack of zeal for life, higher body fat, lower energy and sub optimal or no results from your training regimen.

Depression And The Bodybuilder. Depression And The Bodybuilder.
It's both axiomatic and paradoxical that bodybuilders preparing for competition are malnourished to the point of sickness. Learn the truth about depression!
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    Optimizing anabolic hormones is very important for getting the most out of your training program. Start by making sure that your sleep is up to par. 8-to-9 hours is ideal for most adults and seven should be the bare minimum. Think that you are the exception? Fine, do your thing and when you eventually hit a wall or catch pneumonia do not say that I did not warn you.

    What Is Pneumonia?
    lungs Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs which is usually caused by a bacteria, virus or fungus. Prior to the discovery of antibiotics, one third of all people who developed pneumonia subsequently died from the infection. Currently, more than 3 million people develop pneumonia each year in the United States. More than half a million of these people are admitted to a hospital for treatment. Although most of these people recover, approximately five percent will die from pneumonia. Pneumonia is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.

    The first two hours of deep sleep is when your body produces the largest amount of GH and guess how much it costs? That is right nothing. Better than spending $1000 a month on injections. Try adding a 20-30 minute power nap after your workouts as well to enhance recovery.

    There are also some natural products that you can take to enhance growth hormone and testosterone. I followed Dr. Wong's recommendations in addition to getting more sleep and reducing training frequency and increased my IGF-1 levels by 50% in two months.

    I went from 182ng/dl to 283ng/dl. Dr. Wong has a lot of great articles on what you can do to increase testosterone, lower estrogen, and decrease inflammation at his site. Check it out and if you are really serious sign up for his consulting services. He is by far the most knowledgeable person on alternative medicine for athletes that I am aware of.

    Coming Soon: will be presenting an interview with Dr. Wong. Join our mailing list for updates.

    Other hormones that should be measured are DHEA and Coritsol, which is generally done via a saliva test taken periodically through out the day. DHEA is another anti-aging hormone that should be kept in ideal ranges and cortisol is an aging hormone that surges during periods of stress.

The Implications Of Cortisol Release! Cortisol Release!
There is another hormone closely associated with bodybuilding. This hormone is cortisol, a steroid hormone and is probably the most underrated of the four bodybuilding hormones overviewed in this article.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    Many of you who are doing well on training programs that deplete your GH and Testosterone levels are riding off of high cortisol. Eventually you will hit a wall and it will not be a pretty sight.


    Next, when designing a personalized program you want to focus on balance. I always strive for balance with my clients regardless of what their goals are. Thus, there will always be a major pushing exercise, pulling, quad, hamstring and core exercise. I like to focus on exercises that give the most bang for the buck so the focus is generally on compound exercises rather than isolation exercises.

    Also free weights are always picked over machines unless someone has an injury or a certain body type. For example really tall guys (6'5 and above) may be better off on leg presses than full squats. Or box squats may be a better option. Volume and intensity are dictated by the goal.

    If someone wants to get bigger, then high volume and moderate frequency is applied. If someone wants to get stronger and not bigger then moderate intensity and high frequency is one way to go. For fat loss, I prefer having my clients do circuit training, PHA and HOC.

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Again, all the above has to be personalized by taking someone's lifestyle into account. Sleeping patterns, stress levels, etc. Recently, I encourage clients to take a blood test to determine their testosterone, Growth hormone, estrogen, DHEA, DHT, etc. levels. And a saliva test to determine cortisol and DHEA. This information is valuable in designing a program.

It's In Your Blood! It's In Your Blood!
One topic that seems to be a never-ending source of confusion is blood, or more precisely, understanding blood work and which tests to get and why.
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The more you know about yourself the better. Lack of training progress can occur for many reasons that you may not be aware of without careful analysis. If you are in a stressful relationship or have a job that you hate, that could be playing a major role in lack of training progress.

Most trainers look at nutrition and sleep, but I recommend that people go far beyond that to maximize the benefits of training. When you get your blood work done, make sure you got to a holistic M.D. that can give you some meaningful feedback rather than an M.D. that is going to keep you in the waiting room for an hour and then go through your results in ten seconds before he or she says, "see you next year."

Have You Ever Had A Blood Test To Determine Your Hormone Levels?

Not Yet.


I will conclude by stating that you can of course get good results on generic programs. Many people benefit from the free articles here on However, personalized programs are the wave of the future. The more personalized the program, the greater chance of success. Do not leave your health to chance. Take charge of your health and treat it like a business. Just as accounting is important in business, keeping tabs on your health is also critical.

For more info on personalized program design, go to:

To find a holistic M.D. near you, go to:

About The Author:

Mike Mahler is a strength coach and Kettlebell training instructor based in Los Angeles, CA. Subscribe to Mike's FREE Aggressive Strength Magazine at: