How long have you been going to the gym ? How much has your physique changed since you have been training? Did you ride out your newbie gains and then sort of stay the same? There are so many people who make some initial gym progress, but end up looking the same year on year. They look the same despite the fact that they eat well and train regularly. If this describes you, let’s take a look at a few things you might be doing wrong, and how you can change them.
No real goals
The easiest way to check whether there is something missing from your routine is to think about your training goals. These goal do not need to be huge, but to ensure you are progressing in the gym, you need to plan to progress!
If you walk into the gym not knowing what you are working for, get a concrete goal in mind that you are working toward. This can be as simple as adding an inch to your arms, squatting 10kg more. Get something concrete in your mind, and pursue that. The results will follow.
Your Diet is wrong
When it comes to continually making progress in the gym, either in muscle growth or fat loss, there is more required than just “eating healthily” you have to eat strategically. Having a salad and a bean burger might be very healthy, but being healthy doesn’t mean you are eating in a way to improve your physique. This is not to criticize healthy food choices, since this is something everyone should be doing. The trick with your diet is to make healthy food choices as well as monitoring your calories and protein intake.
If you are hoping to gain muscle your body needs to eat 1gram of protein per lb of bodyweight. This figure is sometimes disputed, but if you are not making any gym progress, more protein is definitely not going to hurt.
In terms of calories, you should be monitoring them and increasing or decreasing them where appropriate. Do not think that you eat enough unless you have tracked it and you know for sure. It can come as a surprise when you actually look into how many calories you are consuming.
So take an honest look at your diet, it might be letting you down.
Your training sucks
When in the gym, do you spend the majority of the time working small muscle groups? Are you addicted to the treadmill? If your training is stagnant, samey and going nowhere, then your results will follow suit. If you are going to spend valuable time in the gym you should get your time’s worth. There are certain movements that you can continually improve on for years and years. The back squat, the deadlift etc can be improved upon for years.
Take an honest look at your training, if you are not using large multi-joint exercises for the majority of your training, something needs to change. Your body adapts to things very quickly, so you should always be making it work. If exercising was easy, everyone would be doing it, it is hard work, so act like it.
Your training still sucks
So you might be doing the right movements when you are in the gym, but there still might be something missing. If your progress is stalled, perhaps you are undertraining. What this means is that you are not progressing on things you can control, for example, the weight you are using should be increasing, or your rest periods decreasing, or the number of reps increasing. There are an infinite number of ways to keep pushing yourself in the gym, and if you are not always pushing the limits of something you are most likely undertraining. It is still better than sitting at home on your ass, but you will stop making progress in strength, conditioning and physique.
Take a look at the different parameters of your training, how much have your lifts increased? What are your rest periods? This small application of intelligence to your training will boost your results no end.
Sleep and recovery
The least sexy aspect of training is the fact that you need to get a solid amount of sleep. If you are continually deprived of sleep, your training will suffer and you will not make adequate progress. Another aspect can be your mobility and muscle care. With your recovery you should give some love to your muscles by way of foam rolling, an occasional deep tissue massage, and some mobility. These things will ensure that you are able to continue training without hiccup for longer. Don’t neglect this softer side of training, it will help with long term gym progress.
So to recap:
Get some goals
Use proper training
Make sure you are pushing yourself in training
Put these into practice, and you should be able to put a dent in this dry patch you are experiencing.