Yet, most haven’t even nailed the basics. What I continuously try to emphasize with anyone that comes to me for help, is make sure you do the basics correctly first, before looking elsewhere. Rather than looking for what else you need to do or take, assess what you are currently doing and see what you can do better. I usually find that people who spend hundreds on supplements, online programs or new training gear do so without fixing their diet, sleep, or training schedule. An analogy I often use is that they are “stepping over 100$ notes to pick up $2 coins” – (Credit to Stan Efferding).
“Stepping over 100$ notes to pick up $2 coins” – Stan Efferding
What I consider the basics to be are:
In regards to nutrition, I’m a firm believer in doing whatever works for you, as long as you aren’t sacrificing your health in the process. For some people, it may be a matter of trial and error to figure out how to eat to meet your needs. This can be challenging and take time. Others, don’t try anything at all or give up before any progress can be made. However, I feel as though it is easier than ever before to keep your diet in check and to avoid unhealthy eating habits. There are plenty of dieticians/nutritionists/online coaches that can support you, regardless of your goal. If you can’t afford that, YouTube has thousands of videos of people showing you how to cook cheap, healthy, tasty meals as well. Alternatively, if you are like me and shit at cooking, there are companies now that do the thinking for you and are fairly affordable, ie My Muscle Chef, YouFoods, Core Power Foods, the list goes on.
Only once your diet is in order and is sufficient in supporting your goals, do I then believe you can look to Supplements for extra help. It is important to remember Supplements are there to be an addition to your diet, they aren’t there to replace nutrient-dense food. Spending money on supplements while eating poorly is a negative-sum game (unless you’re taking a supplement recommended by a Dietician/Dr/etc). The cost of spending on supplements rather than tidying up your diet can be costly, this makes even less sense when the individual is buying their own groceries, making poor choices, then buying supplements to ‘fill in the gap’, it just doesn’t make sense to me.
Sleep is something that I wrote about extensively in one of my previous blogs so I won’t go into detail. If you want to have a read, check it out here.
Generally, training programs don’t need to be complicated and have 100 different exercises in them, or have you hanging upside down off the squat rack in order to improve.
The key indicators of a good training program are:
- It is specific to your goals
- Progresses week to week
- Is enjoyable
- Made by someone who is experienced/qualified in creating them
The most common mistakes I see people make with their training programs:
- Is that they don’t have one at all
- Don’t follow the program and/or drop out early
- Change around exercises too often
- Don’t know how to overload from week to week in order to ensure progress.
It is important to have a program that is tailored and directed toward you achieving your goals, otherwise, you risk ever achieving the results you desire. Progress usually doesn’t come quickly, so trusting the process and seeing the program through is necessary for success. Furthermore, changing around what you do each week means you will find it harder to get better at any of the exercises. This could result in you not getting the most out of your workouts, whereas you could be spending your time more efficiently. You will get more benefits by improving at a handful of exercises for a few weeks before changing them. This ensures you have a way to measure progress and see what is working, or what isn’t.
You will get more benefits by improving at a handful of exercises for a few weeks before changing them. This ensures you have a way to measure progress and see what is working, or what isn’t.
Once again, this is another factor that can be outsourced if you aren’t sure whether you are doing the right thing, there are thousands of programs that you can follow online ( I would do this with caution) and there are plenty of coaches that can make an individualized one for you. If you are the type of person to not push yourself, getting a program made for you may be of benefit, as it should give you an idea of the weights you should be using, the set and rep scheme, and tell you how to progress the intensity of the workouts week after week.
The final piece and most important of them all is consistency. Nothing I have mentioned above matters if you are not consistent. There is no replacement for consistency. No program, diet, or sleep regimen will work if you are not doing it regularly. The reason why some people look amazing after 6 months of training and dieting in comparison to someone who has supposedly been doing it for years, is consistency (have I said consistency enough yet?). The difference between achieving your goal in 6 months or 2 years’ time could be the effort you put in day in and day out over that period. The more effort and time you devote to staying on track, being consistent, will be the difference between you reaching your goals, or missing the mark. Long story short, eating well, having a healthy sleep routine, and following a tailored training program are all integral factors in achieving your fitness goals, however, they will all be worth nothing, if you do not do any of these things frequently and to the best of your capabilities. For success to be achieved in and out of the gym, optimization and consistency are key.
Please note that the health-related information contained on this website is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their healthcare professionals. This information is not medical advice, and for advice on your specific needs, you should always consult your medical practitioner.