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In this blog post we are going to discuss 5 major keys that will help you to make progress in the gym and take your physique to the next level. Some of these keys you may be doing already, and if you are then great…but have a read of the blog and see if anything’s missing, there’s always room to improve.
1) Record Your Workouts
This is a huge factor to consider when you’re struggling to make progress in the gym. Whether or not you’re recording your workouts in a logbook or a diary, everyone should record their workouts. Otherwise how else do you know whether or not you are making progress in your sessions?
By recording each workout you can look back at previous training weeks and see where you can improve in this weeks training sessions. If you’re not recording your workouts you’re going into the gym blind with no idea of where your training is going.
You’re going to be lifting the same weight, for the same amount of sets and reps every time you train, and wonder why you’re not making any progress.
I never recorded any of my workouts when I first started training which annoys me and I wish I had. Now that I’m a little bit smarter in regards to my training, I have more than 2 years worth of logbooks with all my training programs, weights and sets I’ve done. I can go back and look through all of those log books and see how much progress I’ve made with my training in the past 2 years which is pretty cool.
An obvious key to making progress, but still an area that many people struggle to get right…and I’m going to help you fix this issue.
Now, you’re either going to the gym to train or you’re actually going to the gym to get a result, and hopefully ongoing results.
You may be someone who just wants to go the gym to stay fit and be able to go out on the weekends. Perhaps with their friends and family for a meal and a few drinks and not really consider calorie consumption. That’s absolutely fine, you can do that.
However, you have to take into consideration you’re probably not going to make as much progress as you could if you were to pay closer attention to this area of your life.
You want to make up your nutrition/diet with mainly whole foods. These will provide with the correct nutrients to fuel your workouts and help you to recover in order to progress. Each meal should be made up of a protein source which is an absolute ESSENTIAL NUTRIENT to muscle growth and recovery.
You’ll also want a source of carbohydrate, lots of vegetables and a source of healthy fats too. Meal prepping your food is going to help keep you on track towards your goals, and it also means that you don’t have to stress about what you’re going to eat as you have already prepared your food. Here are some examples of each:
Protein; Chicken, turkey mince or breast, lean beef mince, fish (tuna, cod fillet, salmon).
Carbohydrate; Rice (white or brown), sweet potato, white potato, pasta.
Fat; Nuts (cashews, almonds, peanuts), nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter), coconut oil. Note; you can also get fats from meat sources as well.
Vegetables; A variety of mixed vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, onions, mushrooms etc.
Also consider the oils and condiments (such as ketchup and mayonnaise)you have with your food. Most people forget these but they can be incredibly calorie dense. A tablespoon of oil is 135 calories which for someone on a lower calorie intake is a huge amount.
All of those calories add up over the course of the day, now this is dependent on your goal and is especially important to those of you who are trying to lose weight, and even if you’re just maintaining or bulking, you should still be aware of these extra calories.
3) Have a Training Programme
An effective training program is so important because this is going to be a deciding factor in you achieving the results you want.
There are many different training programs that you can follow, but they are going to differ from person to person and it’s all relative to your goals and training experience. Ultimately what you want is a training program that is balanced, and one that is going to produce results.
If you are a beginner, and someone who has just started going to the gym. Then I would suggest a full body training program which would include 3 weight training sessions per week, practiving variations of compound lifts, hitting the same muscles multiples times per week.
This is going to help you practice a variety of exercises whilst still giving you enough frequency to create enough muscle activation to start the process of transformation.
From there you can look at adding more days and perhaps moving onto an Upper/Lower body training program in which you would be training 4 times per week.
The reason why you would change to an upper/lower split is because 4 full body sessions per week would be quite tough. By splitting up your body into Upper and Lower you can allow a little more recovery but by having that extra day of training you are still increasing your total training volume, whilst still being able to recover on those 3 remaining days in the week.
4) Record Your Progress via Weekly pictures and Measurements every 6 – 8 Weeks
This is something that you should all be doing if you really want to know if you’re making progress.
The reason why you’d take measurements every 6 – 8 weeks is because that’s when you’ll start to notice some changes, as you wouldn’t notice changes in measurements on a weekly basis. You also don’t want your progress to be dictated by scale weight either.
Having pictures and measurements taken is something that can feel quite awkward, and often make us feel uncomfortable…You can tell by my first progress picture, I look so nervous that I blend in with the wall! (Or that might just be because I’m really pale, that’s what everyone tells me.)
However, it is also the only way for us to visually see changes that we are trying to make by going to the gym in the first place. You can get a friend or family member to take these for you, or even do it yourself, but you should definitely take them.
It’s not a case of being vain, or self-centered, but more so for a sense of personal achievement and knowing that you have achieved the goal you set out for yourself. And let’s be honest it is good to look at your progress pictures and think “Damn, this is actually working!”.
Once you can visually see a difference from your progress pictures, inches being lost or gained in your measurements, depending on the goal (bulking/muscle gain or fat loss etc) and changes on the scales then why wouldn’t you want to continue making progress.
5) Enjoy The Process
Major key number 5! This is probably the most important to key to making progress in the gym, and it might seem like an odd one, what does it mean?!
If you don’t enjoy the whole process of getting into shape then you’re doing it wrong.
You need to find a training program you enjoy, because if you don’t enjoy your training, you’re going to be putting minimal effort into your sessions. Choose a selection of exercises that are going to cover all areas and create a balanced training program.
Second of all, do this for you and not for anyone else. Why are you training? Why do you want to look a certain way? Start asking yourself questions, set goals and always remind yourself of those reasons as to why you’re doing this because that way you’re a lot more likely to achieve your goals.
Have a flexible approach to your nutrition. There aren’t necessarily good and bad foods, I mean sure some are going to be higher in calories than others of course, but ultimately it comes down to your daily calorie consumption, and the dosage is often the devil.
What I’m trying to say here is that you don’t have to be anti-social when it comes to going out for meals, or drinks with friends…You just have to be sensible in the lead up to that particular event.
So if you’re going out for alcoholic drinks later on then you basically want to reduce your carb sources with your foods during the day as you will be drinking them later. Use diet mixers, diet coke/diet lemonade etc.
For meals out you can have a similar approach, or just reduce your food slightly during the day and save your calories for that meal out. Ask for oils and sauces separately from your food, otherwise you can’t account for all those calories the restaurant has just drowned your food in.
You can also pre plan that meal into your day, and work everything else around it. So what I do is type a particular meal into Myfitnesspal first before I log anything else, that way I know how many calories I have to play with for the rest of the day.
Basically don’t be one of those people who stays at home with your tupperware of chicken, rice and broccoli because you’re not fooling anyone, and you’re probably miserable because you have no social life.
If you want to go out, then go out! Just keep everything in moderation and don’t go overboard.
> Free Ebook: 5 Tips To Dramatically Improve Results In The Gym <
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