The health and fitness world has exploded in recent years and it can often be a minefield of information. Who, what, where, when and how.
Whilst there is a large amount of trial and error when finding what works for you, here are some top tips that should help you discover your own path to the holy grail of gains.
Great things take time and it is important to realise this. If you take the time to learn how to move properly, not only will you eventually be able to lift more, your muscles will function better and you will be less likely to get injured.
This will allow you to train more and therefore achieve your goals sooner and more effectively, whether its weight loss, muscle gain or anything in-between. You wouldn’t build a house on poor foundations so why would you try and build a body like that!
Leave your ego outside and focus on technique before you put the weight up.
This can cause frustration for a lot of people, but it can also be an area of excitement. Try new things.
If you have always done a 5-day body builder split why not rotate and change to 3 full body sessions a week. You never know, you might enjoy it and the different stimulus could cause your body to explode with new muscle.
If you have always done 12-15 reps do a 4-week programme of 5-8 reps. EveryBODY is different and the journey to discovering what works from you can not only be educational but exciting and empowering.
If you are serious about making changes and achieving your goals it is important to track. Nutrition, training, sleeping all of it.
Once you get used to doing this it becomes second nature, and it makes it easy to see areas you could improve in. Get a small diary or write in your phone each session you do in the gym. It’s easy enough to add in a score out of ten for how you are feeling as well. Maybe you didn’t lift your best today but it’s because you didn’t sleep well or missed lunch because you had a meeting. Having this sort of information available will make reflection on your training even more insightful.
Tracking really allows you to see progress, or lack of, week in week out. It makes you accountable for what you are doing and will allow you to look back and see what you were doing when you felt great. Or in some cases, not so great.
When you get used to tracking your workouts then try recording your food intake. This will make it easier for you to tweak your diet whatever your goal is.
You can only train as hard as you recover. If you frequently go to the gym and nail your training programme but then go home and eat rubbish/not enough or get utterly bamboozled on the weekend, then you won’t make the progress you deserve.
If every week you have a pizza, why not share with a mate and load up on veggies. Little changes like this can make a huge difference to your gains. It can really pay off if you make few small changes allowing you to reap the rewards.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing just think about how you can make every scenario slightly better. If you go out, mix in a few soda and limes rather than hammering beer after beer.
Sleep is fundamental, this is when your body gets the chance to repair and grow, so again rolling in at 5am on Sunday morning after a big night on Saturday may not be the best for optimal recovery. Why not treat yourself to a night in at least one day of the weekend, have a Epsom salts bath and show your body some love!
If you don’t push yourself, you will never progress. This is the same as everything else in life. Imagine reading but all you read is the same page over and over again, that’s great you will probably remember everything on that page, but you won’t progress, and you won’t learn anything new.
It’s the same in the gym. If you don’t put the weight up or add an extra rep you won’t see any progress. Obviously, there are limits and you should never put yourself in danger but if you go to the same spin class every week and sit at level 5 you won’t make any progress.
So, pick an exercise that you have been nailing recently and decide to do an extra rep or pick the next dumbbell weight up, it really will make a difference.
These tips aren’t your normal tips and they do require some level of interpretation and implementation, but it also gives you the chance to experiment and explore your own workouts and your body. They will help you build not only muscle but your own unique and effective training programme.
Thanks Izzy some good advice
'don't run before you can walk' - very wise words. I worry whenever I see the 'zero to heavy in 10 days' kind of thing, just asking for an injury!