In the end, that’s all you really want, right? Regardless of how you slice it, the only thing that’s important is seeing a change in your body. It might be in the form of more energy, better sex, six pack abs, or dropping your beer belly, but it’s ALL about results.
The problem is that many of you aren’t getting results. And for many, it isn’t due to a lack of trying or hard work, but a lack of direction. You just don’t know how to continue to make progress. Sure, when you started it was easy. You just started moving more and the weight came off. But after a while, it just stopped and you’re left wondering wtf to do next!
Many times it comes down to just two basic principles. They are progressive training and intensity.
1) Progressive training.
It’s sooooo easy to get caught up in a workout routine that you like and then sticking with it for months or even years. I see it every day at the gym and actually like to keep track of people’s workout routines. And without fail, there are guys who do the same few exercises (bench, lat pulldowns, bicep curls, shoulder presses) almost every single workout.
Not only is this a great way to develop overuse injuries, but it also limits progress. There is only so much weight you can lift and so many ways to perform these movements. What they are failing to see is that by using the same workouts and exercises continually, they aren’t stimulating their muscles enough to grow.
The body is very smart and will adapt to the demands you place on it, usually within a few months or less. You’ve probably heard the term “progressive overload” with regards to training and here’s a great post on it.
Progressively overloading your muscles isn’t just as simple as lifting more weight. It can be in the following ways as well:
- Added weight
- More or fewer reps
- Duration of workout
- Duration of rest periods
- Types of exercises
- Using a higher % of your 1RM
- Training in different planes of motion
The point is that you must continually challenge your body in order for it to progress.
A new workout every day is not what I’m talking about here though and there is a valid case for using the same workout for a period of time in order to gauge your progress. I typically recommend changing up the workout variables or the routine every 6-10 weeks, depending on the fitness level of the client. The more advanced he is, the more frequently it will change.
There is a big difference between training hard and training with intensity. Anyone can train hard by pushing themselves a little and that’s what most people do.
But it’s not enough.
Training with intensity is when you are focused on your session, push yourself to your limits (but not beyond), and train with purpose. Just working out to say you did it and to check a box is a waste of your time. Go do something else if that’s the case.
Again, I see this all the time. People just wandering around the gym aimlessly with no clue as to what they are doing next. That’s no way to train and sure as Hell won’t get you the results you want. I always tell my clients to have a plan before they go into the gym.
And there are a few ways to measure the intensity of your workouts:
- By how you feel
- By your heart rate
- By your body reaching muscle failure
- The talk test (if you can talk, you aren’t training hard enough)
Keep in mind that I’m not suggesting that everyone needs to train their asses off every day. Many guys will need to start slowly and ease into more challenging workouts. But what I am saying is that even those new to fitness will need to challenge themselves based on their current fitness levels.
You won’t be training at a “10” on my scale, but rather on your scale. It’s all relative to your fitness level. Just keep in mind that in your approach.
In today’s video, I discuss these two principles in more detail.