The fact is, all of us get hit by ups and downs at certain points of life. The fitness journey is mostly never linear, except at the start when you can enjoy the newbie gains and hormonal advantage at a younger age. Thereafter, work, stress, life commitment and emotional matters all compete for our limited energy pool. And it’s not uncommon that you seem to follow what the trainer is asking you to do but progress stalls.
- Make the plan work for you rather than follow a cookie cutter program blindly
This is probably what differentiates a seasoned lifter and a regular “recreational” lifter. A recreational lifter trains hard but hardly spend the time to figure out what works and what does not, why so and how to adjust. And many have the mentality of card punching that as long as showing up in the gym for a given amount of time, progress magically will happen. Hardly any systematic tracking of nutrition and training either, hence they have very limited sense or experience how to make the informed decision on their fitness journey. Some, after “gymming” for 10 years, still can’t perform some exercise with good form and have the muscle-mind connection. I used to be one such person too. And the powerful marketing force within the fitness industry is one cause for that. It amplifies our desire to get the result “quick and easy” by advocating pill-popping. Just take this, viola.
- Exercise with good form to induce the right stimuli
- Hit the required volume and intensity (frequency is used as a tool to achieve volume and intensity)
The more work you can do, the stronger you are. Training should always be reasonably hard so adaptation will be forced to happen. Another mistake is ego lifting by going for a weight that you can’t handle every time. When the form is bad, the actual stress applied on target muscle is actually less. Or mistakenly count weight as the most important variable than volume. For intermediate lifters, de-load and variation may be necessary. Deload can keep stress checked so overtraining will not occur. Variation helps to hit different parts of muscle where the weak link may be. There’s a saying that “you should train the exercise which you hate the most”. This definitely has its reason. On top of that, accessory work that adds to the total volume definitely makes a difference in the long run.
- Recover properly from training
Effort spent in the gym accounts only for 30% of the success. The nutritional foundation needs to be solid. And ample rest is required to ensure recovery. There are more: manage stress, simplify life choices so that long-term compliance and sustainability can be achieved. Sounds easy? We all only have 24 hours a day. That might well mean some choices need to be made, between fitness goals, social life, commitment, and work. This is also the time we are required to be honest with ourselves whether the fitness goal is truly something high on our priority list.
- Add cardio to improve work capacity
“A fit physique is the ultimate status symbol. No money can buy it, you cannot inherit it, you cannot steal it, you cannot borrow it. You cannot hold onto it without constant work. It shows patience, passion, and discipline. It is true wealth.”