When clients ask me for help, regardless if they have previous training or not, they neglect these 5 principles in the gym.
Simple and easy principles to follow for gainz in the gym.
When somebody reaches out for my services or advice, these are the first things I tell them if they want to see more progress in the gym.
1. STOP SWITCHING UP EXERCISES/ROUTINES/PROGRAMS
Everyone likes a new and exciting workout that they have never done before but you need to stop that right now. Just stop.
The reason behind this is muscular adaptation.
Muscular adaptation is your muscles ability to create change when stress is applied to it. The more you stress to the muscle, the more it will change.
Think of muscular adaptation like learning a skill. If you wanted to juggle, let's say, you wouldn't juggle one day, play basketball the next then solve Rubik's cube the day after expecting to perfect your juggling skills. That wouldn't make sense right? Why do we feel that would work in a gym then?
Along with your muscles, your brain needs time to create neurological pathways to make an exercise efficient and second nature. If your brain or muscle don't have the time needed to adapt to an exercise over a long period of time, then your body can't respond properly and you won't see those gainz.
What ends up happening is exhaustion, demotivation and frustration because the goals we set out for ourselves aren't happening or they are happening very very slowly.
Ramp those gains up and stick to the same exercise again, and again, and again.
2. APPLY ADAPTIVE OVERLOAD
This one may seem like a no brainer but some individuals don't adhere to adaptive overload.
Adaptive overload is adding more frequency, volume, intensity or time under tension over a microcycle, mesocycle or macrocycle (day, month, or year).
Just as the first tip states: The body adapts to stressors applied to it.
Once the body has adapted, then it will no longer need to change to meet those demands. Thats when we need to crank up the stress and create change once again.
Do this by adding more weight, adding more sets, adding more days of training, and/or adding time your'e underneath weight.
The tale of Milo of Croton is a great example of progressive overload in action. Milo carried his calf everyday for 4 years. At first, it didn't seem all that impressive, but as the bull grew in size and weight, so did Milo. At the end of those 4 years, the calf had grown into a bull and Milo had built the necessary strength to carry that bull.
3. USE COMPOUND LIFTS
A compound lift can be described as an exercise that involves multiple muscle groups (typically the largest ones) while preforming the exercise. The most common ones are squat, deadlift, bench, and overhead press.
There are multiple compound lifts such as back squats, front squats, Romanian deadlifts, conventional deadlifts, incline bench press, snatch, clean, and jerk just to mention a few.
These are so important is because they are efficient.
You could in theory achieve the same results while performing just accessory or isolation exercises but most successful lifters don't train that way and it would take a considerable amount of time and effort.
Instead, create the path of least resistance for yourself and select 1-2 compound exercises for each workout with 3-4 accessory exercises and 1-3 isolation exercises. Unless you're an elite lifter or professional athlete, this formula will provide the results you want.
4. ADHERE TO REST DAYS
It may sound like all I've been talking about is doing more and more but rest days are just as important and often overlooked with making progress.
Once you have program in hand and you are ready to enter the Valhalla of gainz don't over due it. Our bodies need time to rest and recover.
In fact, while you workout, you are actually ripping and tearing down your muscles. On your rest days is when the muscle builds back up and scare tissue is formed. If you never allow the body to heal, you won't see the progress or you'll see dismal progress and wonder why you hurt all the time.
Muscle typically takes 24-78 hours to heal and twice that for tendons and ligaments. So if you train legs one day, try training upper body the next day and take a rest day after that. That way you won't damage any more muscles in the legs and you give yourself 48 hours to heal (granted you didn't absolutely demolish them in a squat, Bulgarian split squat, leg extension, tabatta combo ...).
5. GET A PROGRAM FROM A PROFESSIONAL
*insert sales pitch here*
But seriously, I do this all the time.
Yes, even I buy programs from other professionals.
There are a couple reasons for this. One, the professional probably knows more than you about the human anatomy and program planning for certain goals. Two, it creates a sense of accountability making you feel that you have to workout now. Three, it's fun and exciting to see how others approach a work out, giving you more insight and knowledge about lifting weights.
There are 100's of modalities for working out. Most of them achieve results and most of them can get you to your goal one way or another.
If you purchase a program you have just told yourself you are invested. You bought a program, you have a gym membership and you have those leggings in the back closet you really want to fit into (or not fit into, if you catch my drift ;)).
STOP SWITCHING EXERCISES/ROUTINES/PROGRAMS
APPLY ADAPTIVE OVERLOAD
USE COMPOUND LIFTS
ADHERE TO REST DAYS
GET A PROGRAM FROM A PROFESSIONAL
Until next time my gym warriors,