Stop working hard in the gym without results and progress!
Tired of not making progress in the gym? Here’s why, and what you can do to get back to progress!
Fat loss plans, muscle building plans, fitness plans. All completely different, yet most fail for the EXACT SAME reasons. The fitness and nutrition industry has spent years telling people that a magic product or plan is the reason to get results, and without it you won’t be able to progress.
Weight loss? Grab a shake instead of food! Muscle building? Follow this “perfect plan”! Fitness development? Buy this new product…. You see the trend? And by the way, all of these may be a perfectly good, sound, logical and scientifically backed plan/ product- which will probably have ABSOLUTELY NO BENEFIT TO YOU. I’ll discuss why a little later.
So let’s bring it back to you.. you’re training 3-4 x per week, and watch your diet. You make an effort to “eat healthy”, and are spending your most valuable asset- your time- making the trip to the gym several time a week. Here’s how it goes for a lot of people…
You want to get in shape, and are a little unsure of what to do in the weights area, so work your ass on the cardio kit, then get in and follow an old plan you’ve seen in men’s health, women’s health, or even something one of the gym PT’s gives out as a trial to everyone…. But you’re not seeing progress. OR you are, but it’s slow.
I’m not talking about just weight loss here- every one of you could probably drop 10 lbs in 3 days if we wanted to trick you into thinking you were losing fat- I’m talking about actual progress- are you dropping bodyfat? Are you building muscle? Feeling good? Performing better?
THE ABSOLUTE LAST thing I want is for you to be tricked into feeling like the plan is doing ok if it’s not. Why are you training? Do you want to look better for that holiday or event? Show yourself and others what you’re capable of? Does it help you to focus and perform in other areas of your life that take similar attributes like hard work and dedication? Do you want to feel healthy and capable of keeping up with the kids? Whatever it is that drives you- if you’re turning up- then make sure you’re making REAL progress. Otherwise, what the hell is it for?
Stop now- give me 10 seconds.
Think, why do you do it?
Are you progressing?
Why does the perfect plan/ product NOT WORK for me?
So now to the answer of the question I posed earlier- that perfect plan/ product will never be perfect for you. I discussed this briefly in a previous blog, which you can see here, but the fact is, that in context, one perfect product/ plan does not exist. Lucky for you, here’s some basics to get you started.
How much should I be progressing?
Here’s a point that has no definitive answer, as progress can be measured by your actions, as well as your results. However, there’s a few key points that we can go off:
For fat loss:
- Be highly consistent with weigh ins- the scales (use the same ones on an appropriate hard floor! Ideally early morning after a trip to the loo is often pretty consistent if you’re diet is fairly structured and consistent the evening before.
- Initially, you will probably lose water weight, so a drop of 4+ lbs initially may be seen, but this is likely to slow to 1-3lbs every week (providing you’re consistent!). Heavier individuals will see a slightly faster reduction in weight. More than this, be aware that preservation of lean mass is also important, so for long term success, very rapid weight loss, low protein intake, or lack of resistance training may have a negative impact.
- If you regularly yoyo diet, this is not the sign of regular successful diets, but more often than not is the indication of no successful diets making you feel that you’re making progress. However, often, this leads to more bodyfat and less lean mass than you started with!
For muscle building:
- Be mindful of fat gain- you are not just putting on weight, it should be muscle, and may be accompanied by some bodyfat. However, this should be controlled- weight gain for the sake of weight gain is not worth doing.
- Make sure you are aiming for progressive overload- you can lift more weight/ reps/ sets, or cause more stress (drop sets etc) for the muscle in a progressive manner.
- 3-0.7kg per week is usually a reasonable rate at most beginner and intermediate levels to gain high levels of muscle and minimise fat gain. Averaging 0.5kg/ week, 4kg of mass over 8 weeks is reasonable. However, its worth bearing in mind that this will often include a level of fat gain (which should be minimal) and any subsequent diet will include a level of lean mass lost. Therefore, it generally makes sense to go a little heavier than you may think (providing you are staying relatively lean) before cutting down.
- For general fitness, ensure you are working whatever qualities you want to prioritise.
- As an accredited member of the UKSCA, certified strength and conditioning specialist through the NSCA and have a MSc (with distinction) in the subject of strength and conditioning, I will simply advise that for athletes, a fully considered and professionally designed S&C programme, with communication from other professionals, is a must. Then again, this is how we work with ALL of our clients- fat loss, physique development and performance clients, at our company FX Fitness Experience.
Five points that will transform your life, and mean progress is inevitable
As you know, we see things differently. We are fully informed of the reasons why people act the way they do in fitness, but sometimes, a new rule book is needed. This is one of those times. The crazy thing is, this new rule book isn’t revolutionary in each area- it’s things we have known. Its power comes from the system.
Have a clear goal.
I want to get fit/ lose weight/ get big. All of these are no where near enough. You need a real reason to get to an exact goal. WHY! Once you have this crystal clear image of what you want, you then need to make it SMART. We talk about this in our recent motivation manifesto written by Jamie Kennedy.
Lay down the plan.
When can you train? What do you need to do to hit your goal? Are you really doing enough? You may be turning up enough but are you clear on what steps to take. Training hard 3x per week can mean VERY different things to different people.
Get the diet right!
I eat well, I watch what I eat, I follow this plan/ that plan/ this type/ that type. None of this is specific to you and your goals. An extra level of effort to track calories and macros with advice from a professional will absolutely transform your results tenfold and ensure you always can make clear progress.
Sleep and Stress
The most underestimated killer of progress, a lack of sleep, and elevated stress levels. This leads to you not only feeling and performing like s***, but also eats into muscle gains and fat loss. Ensuring good sleep hygiene, a controlled stress levels where possible (we suggest practices such as meditation/ yoga/ and putting time aside for fun!) to make sure you’re maximising your progress!
Monitoring and progressing
The final point, and probably most underestimated one, is the fact that the plan you get on paper, no matter how good it is, is always a start point. Progress comes from monitoring what you’re doing, then looking at the results. Are you progressing? Do you need to change it? Should you do more or less? Should you work harder, or have more of an emphasis on recovery? Are you executing the movements with enough accuracy and aggression to know if they are working? What about knowing when to make a change? These are crucial places to have expert guidance, allowing you to make constant and consistent progress towards your goal.
The five points above are a fundamental basis of every programme, regardless of goals. Of course, the specifics will be different, but the structure will always include ALL of the above to ensure progress. At FX, our expertise comes in not only with the nutrition and training programme side, but also in monitoring sleep, stress and recovery, making changes when needed (OR sticking to it when needed), making sure we have a complete clarity all the time and vision of where to get to, and making sure as much as possible that training intensities and execution is appropriate.
If you follow this, it will transform your results. However, if you’re ready to really commit to making a change, get in touch today. If you are interested in working with us directly, complete the application form below and I will get back to you.apply now!
Thanks, and good luck!
Josh Kennedy MSc, ASCC, CSCS