Just installed Sheiko Gold? Do this first.
From your main dashboard screen, tap Exercises (dumbbell icon on the bottom navigation bar). The exercises in the app’s database are categorized by intent. Squats, benches, and deadlifts are modified ways to perform the main lifts. For example, you could do squats with added chains. That makes it a variation of the squat and something that belongs in the Squat folder.
Exercises you intend to use to develop specific muscle groups should be categorized by target muscle. Makes sense, right? For example, Overhead Press (OHP) is an exercise you’d use to target the shoulders. So you’ll find that in the Shoulders folder. You may intend for the OHP to assist your bench but it’s not a variation of the bench press.
Configure your active exercises by pruning the lists: Go through your basic and additional exercise folders and swipe left on any exercises you do not plan to use. Removing an exercise will transfer it to your inactive list. You can reactivate it at any time should you change your mind.
Now that you’ve customized your list of exercises, you’re ready to do some training.
The AI coach doesn’t know much about you yet. So, the first 30 days is the learning period where Sheiko Gold monitors and observes your regular training. After that, it’ll be fully functional.
There are two ways through the first 30 days.
- Slow -> Option 1: Continue with your regular training, whatever that may be, and log it as individual freestyle workouts for the first month. This will cause no interruption to what you’re currently doing and you’ll get some time to become familiar with Sheiko Gold before it starts managing your training plan.
- Fast -> Option 2: Ask for an AI workout at anytime during the first 30 days. It has enough experience to make some good guesses even with an incomplete picture of you. Each workout you do will feed it more data and help it make better choices for you. This is a good option if you want to get started right away but do remember it will be making guesses.
Keep in mind that Sheiko Gold is meant to be your real-time coach. So it works best to use the app in real-time as you go.
Doing Your first Freestyle Workout
- Answer the pre-workout readiness questions.
- Add your first exercise.
- Add sets one by one as you do them under the Warmup heading until you get to into your working weight range.
- Start adding sets under the Worksets heading one by one and using the rest timer to regulate your rest intervals. During your rest interval, rate the level of effort you needed to complete the prior set.
- Repeat this process for each exercise in your workout.
- Save when finished.
- Review your work done and give yourself a rating on any Competition or Basic Exercises you used.
Quick Overview of Sheiko Gold
Getting stronger generally requires that we have some form of progression. One frequently used form of progression is training load. Here’s how that looks and then how Sheiko Gold does it differently. First, the classic approach:
- Week 1 – Recovery level
- Weeks 2 & 3 – Slightly below & above maintenance levels
- Week 4 – Stimulating level
Stimulating loads are the primary driver of progress. Stimulating loads are the key but we can’t do that all the time. So we also incorporate easy and medium loading for recovery and maintenance, respectively. (Author’s note: sometimes Week 1 is shown after Week 4 and called a “deload” week. That’s still the case here when these blocks are run consecutively.)
Let’s look at the daily view. Training days are Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and shown below. Gaps are days off.
This sequential 4-week training block produces 4 stimulating days (circled in green) while also allowing for 4 recovery days (circled in red). Maintenance days here are a little excessive as it’s been shown that even very low loading is sufficient for maintenance. That said, everything seems to be in order as all the necessary elements are present.
Changing gears, let’s look at the underlying foundation of training: daily wellness. This is your daily life:
Daily wellness is a composite score of various health biomarkers (e.g. sleep quality, soreness, motivation, etc.). This score fluctuates from day to day but is typically confined to a normal range. We call this phenomenon homeostasis.
Despite day more or less being the same overall, some days you feel a bit more stressed than others. Energy and motivation can vary. Some days you didn’t sleep or eat as well as you’d have liked. And some days you just feel a bit beat up from hard work a previous day. All these daily fluctuations generally center around an average (dotted red line) but some days are clearly better than others.
How classical training fails
The problem with the classical training block shown above is the misalignment of readiness and scheduled workload. You get rest days when you’re in great shape and peak stress days when you should be resting. The classical approach can work but is not optimal or even intelligent. It will also completely fail if wellness is not stable over time and trends downwards. For example, suppose classical progression takes place when dealing with some significant life stressor outside of training (e.g. work or relationships). Wellness trends down but training stress is on a schedule to increase. Disaster can result. You can get away with misalignment for a short time but it will catch you eventually.
How optimized training is a long-term solution
When you have a real coach managing your daily training, your daily readiness is part of the program and you get something like the following. It looks complicated and messy but the idea is simple. Do harder work when ready and easier work when you need it.
This is what an optimized training program looks like. Count the green circles here. Do you see six? Notice that optimized load results in more heavy training days over the cycle. This is technically more complicated to manage than classical training but is absolutely trivial when you hold a powerful computing device in your hand ready to process the data.
The increase in stimulating days (4 for classical vs ~6 for optimized) means more progress in the long run and staying healthy in the process. This simple plan is how Boris Sheiko tallied up 117 gold, silver, and bronze at international events. It’s not magic. It’s just common sense training you’d get from a dedicated coach.
Enough theory. Let’s see the data.
App usage data lets us examine what training with and without Sheiko Gold looks like. For 30 days you train your way (Freestyle). After 30 days, Sheiko Gold determines your training. Let’s see how they stack up against each other. (Note: this data was compiled before the addition of the fast-tracked observation period mentioned above. At this time, users we only permitted to input their own workouts instead of having the option to get a hybrid AI workout.)
People wind up doing more work and putting more effort into their training, as predicted.
At the same time, people are feeling better and more ready to train, as predicted. (Personal note: I was still shocked to see this anyway. I’m glad you guys are doing well.)
Also noteworthy is that people are reporting improved workout satisfaction, an often overlooked aspect of training. Greater satisfaction can lead to greater effort expended in training. So this could also be a driver of improved results.
1> Tap Setup and set a competition date.
Every four months is a good starting frequency for going through the competition cycle. Doing so is a good way to deload some of the body’s slower responding structures that don’t fully recover after a few days of rest. For example, your muscles may feel sore from a workout yet feel fine next week. Bones, tendons, and ligaments have a much slower recovery cycle.
You may also progress through your training periods manually
2> Tap Exercises and configure your exercise pools.
You’ll definitely want to read the Help section on exercises. Briefly, your competition exercises are the three lifts you use to measure progress. Check the Basic Exercises folders and remove your competition style from the active variations list if you see it there (since it’s not a variation). For example, if your Competition Bench Press style uses a medium grip, remove Bench Press (medium grip) from the active variations since it’s redundant. Next, browse your Additional Exercises folders by muscle group and add any that you like to do, or remove those that you don’t want to do.
- Did you decide what your competition style lifts are (e.g. medium grip bench press)?
- Did you look for your competition styles in the Basic Exercises folders and remove them if found?
- Did you remove any exercises you don’t have equipment for or can’t otherwise do?
- Did you add any additional exercises you want to use?
Okay, you’re now ready to take the app to the gym on your workout day.
Testing Your Maxes
You can test your maxes as needed during both preparation periods. There are a few ways you can approach doing your testing. Max tests are usually spaced 6-8 weeks apart and used only if needed. How do you know? If the app is frequently increasing your weights during workouts for your competition lift and its variations, you probably need to retest your max on that lift. If it’s been at least six weeks since your last test, go ahead and start your deload by asking the app for deloads when filling out your
If you want to retest multiple lifts, here are four ways you can arrange the tests over a few days.
|1||Day 1||Day 1||Day 1||Rarely|
|2||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Rarely|
|3||Day 1||Day 1||Day 2||Very Often|
|4||Day 1||Day 2||Day 2||Less Often|
Manually Inflating Maxes
You’re probably going to find your strength increasing. Since your workouts are based on your 1RM inputs, you’ll find the workouts getting easier as you go. Normally, you’d restest your maxes and that solves the problem. However, testing your maxes is a bit tedious at times. Testing does involve some risk as you’re exposed to maximum weights. You’ll also need to deload a few days before your tests, and after them too. All in all, it can be disruptive to the flow of training. So one thing you can do is manually add 5% to your maxes when training days start getting consistently easy.