Going to the gym 5 times a week yet you still can’t see that beach body? Working out your biceps daily yet when you look in the mirror and flex you can’t see any results? Has that daily running on the treadmill in the hope that you rid yourself of that beer belly frustrated you so much that right now you’re online browsing fat loss shortcuts? Don’t stress, we’ve all been in this boat at some point in our lives and thankfully there is a way to get past this.
Here are some tips and tricks from my personal experience that could help you get where you want!
STOP & EVALUATE
It is possible that you’re either not training with good form or you haven’t got a regime which is aligned with your goals. It is also possible that your body has become accustomed to the exercises that you are carrying out and the intensity that you are doing them at. If you have been at a plateau for a while I would advise that you reconsider your goals and start afresh. This is directed to anyone who is at a standstill, whether you can’t seem to shed the pounds or put on any muscle mass, even if you have reached a limit with a certain exercise (i.e. have been benching the same weight for the past two months and cannot seem to progress). Stopping the training altogether for a week whilst you are reconsidering your goals and planning your next moves can also act as a massive regeneration for your body. It is important to remember that your change actually comes during the rest after you have worked out, and occasionally we need to take a complete break from training altogether.
ESTABLISH YOUR GOALS
I have often come across people who want to increase muscle mass and also lower body fat at the same time. Whilst this particular example is possible to an extent, it is far better to choose one goal and focus on that. This way it is easier and more effective to cater your diet and training program toward only one goal at a time. Establishing your goal and reason for training is important. Keeping it in the back of your mind can act as a motivation for you when training.
RESEARCH & PLAN
Having now established what your goals are, the next stage is to plan how to best achieve the desired result. This takes research! You have the world at your fingertips with the Internet at your disposable and this means you can establish which exercises are good for your goals, how often you should train, what form to use etc. That being said, there are many different ways for you to achieve your goals so either find a trusted source and stick with that, or take exercises and a number of different regimes and combine them. You must remember that more doesn’t always mean better! For example, if you want bigger biceps, working biceps 4 times a week actually will not help! As mentioned earlier, rest is vital. Also, if you are finding it hard to progress with a certain set of exercises (i.e. strength training) then you should certainly incorporate different types of training into your regime (i.e. HIIT or Cardio). You’ll find that strangely enough, you may experience better results when doing an exercise that isn’t particularly suited to your goal. I.e. strength training isn’t usually seen as a fat loss exercise, rather most people assume that you should just do cardio. However if you are not seeing any results with running on the treadmill every day then consider taking up free weight training. Our bodies need to constantly be shocked in order for it to produce the best results. This is why workout plans such as High Intensity Interval Training and Cross Fit are becoming increasing popular. In short, it is key to research and plan.
One must not underestimate the power of the diet. No matter how hard you train, if your diet isn’t giving you the right carbohydrates for good energy, or enough protein to repair your muscles following training, you will not succeed in your goals. Spend time discovering what is good for you and what isn’t. It’s simple, cut out the bad stuff and increase in the good stuff. Incorporate healthy nuts and oils into your diet, only get sugar from fruits and make sure you have your fair share of protein. And this is for anyone. Of course, if you are trying to build muscle mass then increase your protein and carb intake. Or if you are trying to lose fat, then stop eating carbohydrates past 6pm and only have good carbs (i.e. sweet potato and whole wheat bread.) Almost every fitness trainer you speak to will highlight the importance of nutrition.
If you have looked through the previous steps and found that your diet and training is good and that there is no reason for you to change either, then it might be worth your time to consider supplements. Many people take supplements and are reliant on them, but you must remember that as its name suggests, they are only meant to supplement your diet and training. Supplements should never replace meals or be used instead of training. That being said, they can aid you in attaining your goals massively. Let’s take Whey Protein for example, this can help your muscles recover quickly due to the quick absorption of the protein which in turn reaches your muscles quicker than eating any food would. If you are trying to bulk up, consider adding Mass Protein to your diet. If you are trying to lose weight then consider taking CLA’s, L Carnitine or Green Tea Extract. There are a huge number of supplements out there, however only buy them from trusted sources and only take them if you are knowledgeable about not only the benefits that they can bring, but also the potential side effects that they can have.
GEAR YOUR MINDSET AND EXECUTE THE PLAN
Now that you are reenergized following your break, and armed with your new regime that is planned down to the tee, you are prepared to begin training. Having the right mindset can impact your training massively. You must learn to love the pain that you have to go through. Before training, spend a few minutes focusing on your goals and listening to motivational speeches. Once you are in the gym or wherever you may be exercising, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. This is how I personally became so confident in the gym and learnt the correct form for many exercises – if I didn’t know, I asked.
You are more than ready to make the changes that you want to see in yourself. Good Luck!
Photo Credit: Pinterest / Nike