9 Variables that can give you the advantage in the gym this year!

When you think about health and fitness, where does your mind lead you? Lifting weights and food? Eating salads and running? How do you think an effective fitness program is designed for desirable progress?

Through NASM, (The National Academy of Sports Medicine), as trainers, we learn just that. We learn how to design effective and progressional fitness programs that work specifically for you and your goals to accomplish whatever you desire! Understanding acute variables of training can help give you an advantage in the gym or studio!

So here is it, Acute Variables of Training and what they mean:

Acute Variables of Training determine the amount of stressed placed on the body that will ultimately adapt to what the body will incur. In other words, the body will specifically adapt to the demands placed on it, provided a properly programmed guide.

Here are the 9 different variables and how you can use this knowledge towards your advantage in the gym or studio this year:

1. Repetitions

A repetition is one complete movement of all three types of muscle actions; concentric (meaning: shortening of a muscle as you contract it, example would be performing a bicep curl), isometric (meaning: holding at a fixed position, putting more tension on the muscle. An example would be after you've concentrically performed a bicep curl, holding in that position before you come down from the curl for a paused moment), & eccentric (meaning: you're elongating your muscle from a concentric movement. An example would be coming down from a bicep, now completing a full repetition).

2. Sets

A set, is described as a group of exercises that are performed consecutively in rounds. Depending upon the level of which the client is able to perform, depends on how many sets one completes for their workout. If one is simply in the beginning stages of learning the basics of fitness, you can most likely expect to be in a high repetition to low set range, verses an advanced athlete or someone who is trying to achieve hypertrophy or maximal strength will be in the range of performing lower repetitions at a higher set range.

3. Training Intensity

Training intensity leads us to the most important part of achieving results. The reason being is that when an individual trains at a certain intensity, it truly will define at how an individual will achieve results and the results an individual wants. Training intensity is the level at which one performs following through the level of maximal effort. The training intensity at which one will perform, heavily depends on an individuals goals and not only that, it will also determine which set and repetition rage an individual should be at. For example, a training intensity is usually expressed as a percentage of which one should be training at based upon the goals that one wants to achieve. When performing for muscular endurance, one should train primarily in the range of 50%-70% of one's maximal effort.

4. Repetition Tempo

Repetition tempo is the speed at which an individual performs one consecutive repetition into another throughout one's workout. This specific acute variable has all of the power to manipulate the growth speed at which one desires. A slower repetition tempo is best for achieving muscular endurance verses a faster tempo is geared towards achieving power. Remember how we talked about the three different muscle action types? Here is where you will need to understand those movements again. An example of a repetition tempo when wanting to achieve hypertrophy looks like this: 2/0/2. Those numbers resemble how many seconds one should perform a complete repetition. In a bicep curl movement it sounds like this, "As you're concentrically coming up to perform the bicep curl, the concentric action should take you 2 seconds to perform at which you will then hold for 0 seconds in the isometric position which would be considered a "hold" and then again, following a 2 second eccentric come down from the bicep curl". Tempo's are different depending on the type of training an individual is performing.

5. Rest Interval

The rest interval acute variable is the time taken to replenish one's energy to be able to complete the following repetitions and sets throughout an individual's workout. Accounting for rest during one's training will also heavily depend on the progress one achieves during the time training. Rest intervals throughout an individuals training is important because it will ultimately help complete a workout in a safe manner eliminating the possible chance of accumulating injuries. When training for maximal strength, a rest interval between sets can be anywhere from 3-5 minutes, giving an individual a replenished amount of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and PC (phosphocreatine) (meaning, your energy supplies) to be able to perform adequately.

6. Training Volume

This acute variable is the amount of work performed in a given workout and routine. This particular variable is important to understand due to the fact that if an individual is not performing at a proper training volume, it could ultimately lead to over training and injury. Depending on the phase at which an individual is training and is being guided by The Optimum Performance Training Model through NASM, will depend on the training volume used. Other dependents like goals, age, nutritional status, injury history, and stress levels will also determine at which the volume an individual should be using when training.

7. Training Frequency

Training frequency refers to the number of times one performs a full workout. Usually within a 1 week time frame. An individual who is just starting out in a routine will typically start out at performing a workout 2x's per week unless their goals are listed otherwise. If one is wanting to increase the rate at which they want their metabolism to work, a higher training frequency with of course, all other proper training variables, will help aid you in achieving so.

8. Training Duration

This particular acute variable has two meaning's: 1. The duration of time spent on one workout & 2. The duration of time spent total, in one consecutive week of training. Training programs that typically last 60-90 minutes are known for rapid energy level decline (also depending on the intensity one is performing) and if performing at these types of duration's, it can possibly lead to minor infections such as upper respiratory and a weaker immune system overall.

9. Exercise Selection

Depending on the phase and level at which an individual is training, will heavily depend on the type of exercises one chooses for their particular program to achieve maximal results regarding one's goals. For example, if an individual is just starting out in a fitness routine and can not perform a proper squat, that particular individual should perfect a proper air squat before moving onto a barbell squat to prevent injury. In the beginning of a routine, gaining flexibility and stabilization before moving forward to heavier lifts will only benefit you when it comes time to perform those heavier and more complex lifts if an individual has a goal to accomplish heavier movements at a given time in their fitness program.

There you have it, 9 variables to give you the advantage in the gym when it comes to your fitness routine. If you aren't sure where to begin using these specific variables, a Lifestyle Coach at Lifestyles By Choice will be more than happy to consult with you on proper training and where to start. Contact us today at or simply call or text 218-576-4480 for more information on our training programs and opportunities!


Lifestyles By Choice, LLC


615 1st Ave N Suite B Grand Forks, North Dakota 58203

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