6 Things You’re Not Doing

28 Jun

No one person is the same, and no one client that I have worked with has taken the same approach to reach their goal. Why? It is true that many of their goals are similar, Muscle gain…Fat Loss…Strength or some elusive combination of all these things.  However, we always have a different mold to start from which causes the need for a program tailored to the individual. In addition, different bodies react differently to varying training protocols, just as different bodies react differently to varying diet changes.  Developing the body you want is an uphill battle for most of us and we have to learn to listen to our bodies and tweak our diet and training to adjust to what we feel and see. No program I write for a client is set in stone and often times we switch approaches to see what their bodies respond to best. There is plenty of science that tells us what theoretically works “best.” Without a doubt these studies are a great place to start when choosing an intelligent plan, but you will have to make adjustments and try many different approaches to find the perfect combination for YOU. With that said, some constants always remain. There are certain principles in the gym, and the kitchen, that must be adhered to. Most importantly, these principles should always stay at the forefront of your approach, even through all the smoke and mirrors, shiny supplements, magazine spreads guaranteeing 3 inches on your arms in 2 weeks and whatever other bull you might encounter.  There are no shortages of magic pills, revolutionary workouts and fitness experts out there, but there does seem to be a shortage of common sense. On that note, let’s take a look at what you’re not doing that’s holding you back from that 5.2lbs of Muscle your new protein powder said you would add.

  • You’re not consistent…

Consistency is key. You must be consistent, do the right things and do them day in and day out. You can’t make a change in your body until you keep this as your # 1 priority. We have all heard that quote,” 90% of life is showing up…,” or something along those lines; you get the point. Training hard and eating well for 3 weeks before your vacation doesn’t get you anywhere. Hammering a daily elliptical session and eating chicken and celery all week before your first date with Julie you met online doesn’t make you any closer to lasting Fat Loss. Before you even take into account your goals you need to be prepared to make a consistent effort toward them.

  • You’re not working hard enough…

Mental Intensity is everything in the gym. Sometimes how hard you lift gets you farther than what you’re lifting. You could have a program and diet plan put in your hand that is perfectly tuned for you to make your body transformation, but without any intensity the guy next to you who is winging it and working harder than anyone in the gym will always make better gains than you…always. You have to go to the gym, and work your tail off. If you don’t sweat when you lift, If you’ve never grunted (without trying…), if you’ve never hit rep 15 of 30 on a set of squats and wondered how in the hell you were going to finish the next 15 reps you’re not bringing enough. Scrap your 2 hour visits to the gym and get in and out in 45 min to an hour – work your ass off the whole time. Sorry if you have to stop talking football with your friends, chatting up any female within 10 yards of you and flexing repeatedly in the mirrors. Get the picture?

  • Your Nutrition is not close to good…

‘Nuff Said.

  • You’re not sticking to an approach, protocol, idea, program – whatever you want to call it, and on the same topic you have no defined goal…

One strength coach I have the utmost respect for is Eric Cressey. On this topic he commented “You’ve got one ass, pick a saddle.” I think that is some of the greatest advice I have ever heard.  Look around the gym floor and you will see 10 different ideologies being put into practice at any given time. Moreover, you will see one guy following 4 of them in the same workout.  Don’t get me wrong, I am an advocate of using what works and scrapping what does not, and for each person that has proven to be different so far in my experience.  However, some techniques just can’t usefully be combined. Furthermore, no technique will work when you use it for 2 weeks and then toss it for the latest idea you read about that morning… just to switch again in 2 weeks when the new FLEX comes out with their newest super program.  If you want to try a Full Body – A B split, go for it, for all 12 weeks of programming. By the same token, if you chose the Full Body – A B split for Fat Loss reasons, stop adding in the triple drop sets you heard were great for adding serious size to your arms. The more you bounce around the only thing you can be sure of is that you will surely never get any solid results. This all plays into goal setting. Pick a goal. Pick a reasonable time frame in which to reach it. Pick an intelligent approach / plan to get you there. Work harder than anyone else at achieving it.

  • You’re not focused on recovery…

The day you realize that muscle is built while you’re not at the gym is the day you start making some serious changes. Figuring out what volume of work your body responds to best can be a process. In general, most of us can handle quite a lot. There are the groups of people with fears of over training. I could make some harsh comments about this, especially when I think back on the physiques of these individuals, but I refrain.  Then there are the groups of people hitting the gym as hard as they can, they leave blood, sweat, and tears on the floor, and after some initial progress are again and again coming up empty handed. In both cases it isn’t the training that’s the issue; it’s the lack of any thought towards their recovery.  Those that fear overtraining? The truth is it is easier to not recover than it is to over train. Those that seem to put endless effort in? You’re not recovering from the workload. You either need to do more on the recovery end or less on the training volume end, and as you strive for bigger and better gains, both sides of that equation should be elevated. So what aids in recovery? Sleep, rest, food, Para workout nutrition, stretching, soft tissue work those are all good places to start. Breaking muscle down is not that terribly challenging, doing the proper things outside the gym can often times be a bit tougher and require a little more devotion. Your workouts may last a total of 7 or 8 hours during the week, but eating well and sleeping enough demand your constant attention. If you want great results you must focus on your recovery.

  • You’re not focused on Progression nor do you Keep Track Of it…

I’ve alluded to this on numerous occasions now. Progression is right up there with work ethic in the Iron Game. If you want to strip down the process of changing one’s body what we are really doing is giving the body a reason to adapt or change. I have seen it put a hundred different ways but if you are not approaching each workout with the idea of trying to do a little more than the last time you are missing the point, and giving your body no reason to adapt. Athletes often times are concerned with strength increasing, a bodybuilder might play with volume and intensity, Joe Shmo who needs to cut 20lbs might be focused on getting his workout done 30 seconds faster than last time. Either way, they are all progressing. Oh, and news flash … if you’re not writing anything down how are you focusing on your progression? Get a notebook and a pencil. A stopwatch is helpful too.

As you can see many of these principles go hand in hand. They are the foundation of a solid approach to changing your body. Don’t lose sight of the basics and you won’t settle for crappy results.

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