I understand how frustrating it is to put so much time and effort into the gym and not seeing the results you’re hoping for. But here’s the thing I found out over the years, there usually is one or two things you’re (not) doing that keep you from making that progress. It’s not as simple as just lifting a barbell for a couple of sets, doing your accessory work, shower and leaving the gym. There’s way more to it than that.
You’re not working hard enough
This might seem so obvious, but are you really working hard and smart enough? So many people like to talk about rest days (we’ll talk about that in a second) and de-load weeks, but are you working hard to ”earn” / need those days off? Are you trying to progress every week or are you just doing random exercises and rep schemes every week? When was the last time you went to failure? Did you do it for all sets or one? Did you consistently hit your reps or did you fail? Did you push yourself or did you stop half way through? Just to mention a couple different aspects that make a big difference in making progress and not.
All of these aspects determine the amount of effort you’re putting into the gym. I am not telling you to go to failure on every single working set, I am also not telling you not to. Nobody is the same, you’re following your own program and that should tell you what to do. Just make sure that you push yourself on the sets and days you need to push.
You’re not taking enough rest
When we’re busting our butts in the gym our bodies need rest. Sure, there are some people out there who swear by not needing rest days, but that’s not the case for the majority. And anyway, resting doesn’t just mean sitting on the couch all day long while doing nothing. Resting means getting enough sleep in, doing mobility work, stretching, meditating, recovery sessions, sauna sessions etc. If sleep wasn’t an essential thing it would be on the doping list, that is how much it can benefit your performance. If you’re not taking the time to do most of these things, I can guarantee you won’t be able to perform/lift as well as you could be. You can always push through fatigue and be mentally tough, but does it really benefit your workouts if you’re honest with yourself? You can be the judge of that.
Your nutrition doesn’t support your training
We can talk about hard work and rest (days) as much as we’d like but what happens when we don’t fuel our body properly? What happens when you’re trying to be the best you in the gym and lift the heaviest weights but your nutrition consists of processed and sugar heavy foods? It won’t perform as well. In turn, this has an impact on your ability to lift weights you should be capable of. Remember what we talked about earlier, if you don’t lift the weights relative to your strength you will never get stronger. See how this (nutrition) ties into everything we have talked about so far. That is why nutrition is always the base of everything we do.
You’re focusing on the wrong things
The wrong ”thing” means something different for everybody. For some people it means focusing on supplements while they should be focused on real food, for some it means being hyper focused on their chest workouts while they should be targeting their back more, just two examples there.
What it comes down to is looking for the ”easy way out” or the things you like to do. It’s easy to take supplements every day, it doesn’t take any effort, but it sure is ”hard” to make a healthy meal for yourself 3-5 times a day (made of actual food). I understand that it feels nice to focus on the things you are already good at, but if you really want to become stronger overall you will have to focus on the movements and body parts that are not as strong. Especially for that last one, if you make one area of your body stronger you can be sure that other parts will get stronger too. For example, if you do more and more pull ups you can be quite sure that your shoulders will get stronger too.
You’re not giving yourself time
Strength takes YEARS to develop. Sure, you can get stronger in the first couple weeks and months of starting your fitness, but real brute strength takes a long time. For example, if you have been working hard for the last 3 years and you are up to a 100 kg bench press while you’re trying to bench an extra 30 kilos in the next 2 months, you can forget about it. Once you’re through the starting phase of working out, it will take time to develop your strength.
When some people don’t see results in the first 1-4 weeks of starting something, they start to question everything and possibly end up quitting. Quitting is never ever going to get you stronger. Should you be doing something else or maybe changing something up? Possibly, but quitting everything will never lead you there. Alright, without trying to sound all motivational and everything, it takes a LONG time to develop real strength, that’s it.
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