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How to Develop Your Own Beachbody Hybrid Workout Program

By on May 31, 2014 in Fitness | 0 comments

Lots of people want to know what my favorite Beachbody program is and what workout program I'm currently doing so I guess it's time to write a blog about it.  Let me start by saying it is really really hard for me to pick just one program as my favorite.  P90X is where I started so that will always have a special place in my heart.  The truth, however, is I use several different Beachbody programs now.  It's great for me because it keeps things fresh and new and I rarely get bored.  Beachbody workout programs allow me to have a different world class trainer in my basement every day! 

Before I tell you what my current workout routine is, there is a lot that needs to be said.  First there are a lot of people making Beachbody hybrids that have no clue what they are doing.  They are just piecing random programs together and hoping for the best.  Don't get me wrong I know it's fun to do.  If you don't do it properly though you may become frustrated and wonder why you aren't reaching any of the goals you set for yourself.  One person's hybrid will not work for everyone and most likely isn't even working for them.  It needs to be tailored to your goals, your body type, and your bodies ability to adapt and that will be different for everyone.  My goal with this blog is to teach you how to develop your own hybrid using various Beachbody programs to achieve your ultimate fitness goals.  I'll also share my current hybrid I use to cut fat and maintain my strength and you can decide if its right for you.  

Before you consider doing anyone's hybrid or training schedule you need to take three things into consideration

  1. Are you on the same fitness level as the person who created the hybrid?
  2. Are their goals in line with yours?
  3. Do they know what they are doing?  

Here are the steps you need to keep in mind when developing the ultimate hybrid using various Beachbody fitness programs 

Step 1 - Define your ultimate goal and work backwards

When I develop a training program I start with my ultimate goal in mind and work backwards.  Am I working towards fat loss, endurance, hypertrophy, strength, or power?  Am I trying to lose fat, deadlift more, or possibly even run a race?  To accomplish these things different training methods are required.

Keep in mind that each type of training can contradict the other. If you do a lot of strength training, you won’t have as much endurance; likewise, if you focus on endurance training, your strength won’t be as developed. Determine which type is most beneficial for you and your lifestyle, and focus on that.  

Unknown-6In step 3 we will talk about training blocks and how you can design training blocks around specific goals.  In fact one of the most widely used methods, The OPT (Optimal Performance Training) model, encourages starting with a Stabilization phase, followed by a strength phase, and lastly a power phase.  P90X2 uses this exact model and it's very affective.

Before we discuss each type of training let me say that while some Beachbody programs do fall into one category most programs contain a variety of resistance and cardio workouts which is what makes it so much fun to create your own unique hybrid.  Let's talk about each phase to help you correctly identify where the Beachbody programs you own would fall.  

 Fat Loss & Endurance

This is always the starting point for resistance training; it focusses on lighter weights and more reps. Aim to complete >12 repetitions (for most people 12-20 is sufficient). Rests breaks are short and around 30 to 60 seconds between each set to keep your heart rate elevated. It’s important to keep in mind that even though the weight is lighter we don’t want it to be too easy. So often I’ll see people in the gym using weights that are too light.  You still want to feel fatigued at the end!  Think of it this way: if your program requires you to perform 15 repetitions, the weight you select should require you to perform those 15 reps with good technique and leave you feeling like you could only complete another one or two reps if you really had to. If you finish your 15 reps and feel like you could keep going for another 5 or more, then you need to increase your weight. A great Beachbody program that focuses on this type of training is Les Mills Body Pump

Hypertrophy

Hyper-what? In layman’s terms, hypertrophy is an increase in lean muscle mass; it’s about building muscle. Females don't panic! You’re not going to end up looking like a body builder if you do hypertrophy training. Men will build more muscle than women due to considerably higher testosterone levels. Building muscle, however, is beneficial for both men and women and adding muscle mass is not as easy as people think it is. There are aesthetic appeals, of course, but increased lean muscle mass improves strength, helps manage insulin sensitivity in diabetics and non-diabetics, increases basal (resting) metabolic rate, can help reduce body fat and increases stamina and energy during athletic activities.  P90X and Body Beast are perfect examples of Beachbody programs for this type of training.

Hypertrophy training uses 8-12 repetitions with 3-5 sets. Rest breaks should be between 1-2 minutes and the weight selected should leave you feeling fatigued at the end of the 12th rep. Most people will adopt a split program for hypertrophy training, focussing on only one or two muscle groups during each session. 

Strength

Strength training results in just that, an increase in strength. When we’re training for strength our goal is to be able to lift a heavy weight for only a few reps (<6). A typical strength program involves performing 4-6 repetitions, with 3-5 sets. The weight selection should be heavy enough to, as always, allow for good technique, but you should be exhausted by the final rep and ideally unable to perform any more than those 4-6 reps. Because we’re only performing a few reps but with very heavy weights, we need to have a sufficient break of around 3 minutes between sets. Most people who do strength training will also do a split program as each muscle group will require 48-72 hours recovery. 

*Power can also be considered a fourth area of resistance training. However it’s highly specialised and not something for beginners. If you’re considering power training you definitely need to be working with a trainer, like me, to ensure proper technique and safety.

Step 2 - Train for your body type

All bodies are not created equal and therefore you should always keep in mind that what works for one person may not work for you.  While a fitness professional should always know how to tailor a workout based on a client’s physique, you may have no idea so hopefully this will help.  The first thing you need to ask yourself is what is your body type?

bodytypes

 

Endomorph - If you’re an Endomorph, like me, adding mass is going to be easy for you.  The bad part is losing fat is really hard.  Our bodies are very efficient at holding on to fat.  If you're an Endomorph it means you need to get your butt to the gym as often as possible with 3-4 days a week of resistance training and 2-3 days a week of cardio.  An increased amount of muscle mass will increase your base metabolic rate, thereby decreasing the chance of storing/holding on to fat cells.  Nutrition is also always key to getting results but yours will really need to be locked in for maximum results.  

Ectomorph - If you’re an Ectomorph adding mass is going to be very very difficult for you. Good news is you have no problem burning fat.  In fact your body is almost to efficient at it and therefore you need to limit your cardio to the bare minimum to maintain cardiovascular fitness.  Body Beast is a perfect program for this body type.  Your nutrition plan will be no walk in the park if you're looking to add mass.  You will find it just as hard to gain mass as it is for an Endormorph to lose fat.  Get ready to eat a lot of food.  

Mesomorph- If you’re a Mesomorph you're the typical athlete that has no problem burning fat or adding mass.  It's the best of both worlds.   Resistance training should also be at the heart of your workout routine with 1-3 days of 30 minute cardio sessions per week depending on how your body reacts and what your goals are.  Obviously the more mass and strength you want to build the less cardio you will need to do.  

Step 3 - Develop your training blocks

Training blocks are essential to reaching your goals.  Too much consistency and your body adapts and you stop moving forward.  Too much variety and your body has no idea what it's trying to accomplish.  You will take small steps forward but progress will be very slow.  So what's the right amount of variety and the right length of time?  Well that's where a lot of hybrids become worthless.  One person's hybrid will not work for everyone.  It needs to be tailored to your goals, your body type, and your bodies ability to adapt and that will be different for everyone.

I always create a training block with six workouts. One for each day of the week with one rest day.  Each training block will be 3-6 weeks depending on how my body adapts.  This is key!  If you get to week 3 and you still feel like a lot of improvement can be made stay in that block for as long as it takes your body to adapt.  When you feel like you are ready THEN move to the next block.  That's the problem with a lot of hybrids.  Week four comes along and some people may not be ready to move to the next training block, but since it's on the schedule they do.  No one can tell you how long your training block should be other than you. This is where you have to listen to your body and check your workout sheets and make sure you're still making progress.  

When deciding on my 6 workouts for each training block I pick workouts that are going to help me reach my goal while allowing me to split train.  Meaning when I hit a major muscle group I give that muscle group 48 hours to recover before hitting it again.  I also try to hit each muscle group twice a week.  Due to my body type I also alternate between resistance days and cardio days.  My body responds best to this training.  Yours may not.  

In the end it's about having fun and finding creative ways to shape our body into a machine that can accomplish your goals.  So don't take the easy way and use someone else's hybrid.  Learn to love the process of creating your own and if you need help let me know.  

Lance's 90 Day Summer Hybrid

So here is my 90 day Hybrid that I absolutely love.  I used the 3 steps above to help me develop the right program for my ultimate goal of losing body fat while becoming more functionally fit without losing strength   

  1. My Goal - To lose more body fat while becoming more functionally fit without losing strength. My goal WAS NOT to add muscle mass.  
  2. My Body Type - I'm an Endormorph which means my body is very efficient at holding on to fat.  I have also never had a problem maintaining my muscle mass.  Taking my goals into account I determined that 3 resistance days and 3 cardio days were perfect
  3. Training blocks - below are the workouts from several of my favorite programs that I determined would fit my plan.  Each training block is set for 3-6 weeks as I see fit with one rest day built in.  

 

Monday - P90X 1-on-1 Diamond Delts (Resistance)

Tuesday - Asylum Speed & Agility (Cardio Day)

Wednesday - Deadlifts + P90X Chest & Back (Resistance) For P90X Chest and Back I take out all pushups and sub various bench and fly moves.  I get enough body weight pushups in Insanity and Asylum

Thursday - Insanity Plyometric Circuit + Abs (Cardio)

Friday - Squats + Beast Build Legs (Resistance)

Saturday - P90X Shoulders & Arms + T25 Speed 2.0 (Resistance & Cardio)

Sunday - Rest

Monday - Body Beast Build Shoulders  (Resistance) 

Tuesday - Asylum Speed & Agility (cardio)

Wednesday - Deadlifts + P90X Back & Bis (resistance)

Thursday - Insanity Plyometric Circuit + Abs (Cardio)

Friday - P90X Chest, Shoulders, & Tris + T25 Speed 2.0 (Resistance + Cardio) - again all pushups are taken out and various bench press and fly's are substituted 

Saturday - Squats + Beast Build Legs (resistance)

Sunday - Rest

Monday - P90X2 PAP Upper (resistance)

Tuesday - Insanity Plyometric Circuit + abs (Cardio)

Wednesday - Deadlifts + P90X Chest & Back (resistance) - again all pushups are taken out and various bench press and fly's are substituted 

Thursday - Insanity Pure Cardio + abs (cardio) 

Friday - P90X2 Total Body 

Saturday - Squats + Body Beast Build Legs

Sunday - Rest

Which Beachbody Programs Are Right For You?

Maybe you're new to Beachbody and you're not ready to create your own hybrid.  That's perfectly okay.  Beachbody spends a lot of money researching and developing these programs to ensure they bring incredible results.  If you're not ready for a hybrid pick a program below that fits your current fitness level and goals.  

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