Workout programs are a dime a dozen these days. You can read through any bodybuilding magazine and get bombarded with the best chest routine, the best shoulder routine, etc. Our spam folders get filled with offers for the best workout program ever. But what happens when we jump from program to program?
Frankly, there are so many different workout programs out there because different things work for different people. If you've done much reading on working out, you've no doubt encountered the idea that your body will adapt to any given training program over time. The key is to find training programs that give you results. What some people do is pick 4 programs that are 12 weeks in length. They then cycle those programs in and out during the year. This avoids the adaptation issue. Each time they come back to the programs they get better and better results.
I've personally tried several workout programs. Some have worked, others have not worked. In the category of those that worked would go Optimum Anabolics by Jeff Anderson, Bodybuilding Secrets Revealed by Will Brink, The New Rules of Lifting by Lou Schuyler, and the various levels of bodybuilding programs from http://www.global-fitness.com. Others that fall in the category of not working include X-Size and Mass Results training. I am keeping the good routines in my arsenal to be called upon when I need them.
Currently I am working through The New Rules of Lifting program. I really like this program because it has a built in method for avoiding adaptation. First, they vary the rest times in the workouts. Second, they vary the repetitions, which then causes you to vary the weights you are using. Next, they vary the types of workouts: fat burning, hypertrophy, etc. I've been getting tremendous results with the fat burning workouts.
I think the most important thing anyone can do is find what works for them. This includes nutritional issues as well as workout issues. For some people, the carbohydrates/protein/fat ratio of 40/40/20 might be too restrictive and for others it might be too high in carbohydrates. The only way to know is to make small changes. Don't jump in and change everything at once. I think the first thing to do is dial in your calories. Find out what is the best number of calories for you (even if you don't crunch numbers, you can get a feel for how much food is right for you). Once you have that dialed in, experiment with the ratios. Add carbs, subtract carbs, do whatever it takes, but carefully examine the results you produce. Find what works for you and then stick with it. You will definitely need to vary your nutritional programs, so be prepared to readjust as needed. Once the nutrition is dialed in, add cardio to the program. Determine how much cardio is enough for you. The objective should be to do as little cardio as possible with maximum results. When you add cardio to your program, don't just do an hour a day and call it a success. Start with 20 minutes and see what happens. Increase it to 30 minutes and compare the results. Go with the best results path for you.
As my regular readers know, I've recently started doing cardio twice a day on non-lifting days and once a day on lifting days, with one day off each week. I am carefully tracking my results and will make adjustments as needed.
My biggest tip for today is to stick with your program. Don't just aimlessly jump around. You have to give a program time to work. This is why I'm sticking with The New Rules of Lifting for Mission 1 (and possibly even Mission 2). I want to give it time to work properly.