It’s easy to become so invested in your physique goals that you fall into a constant search for the next big “breakthrough”, hoping there’s some “body hack” that has yet to be discovered. This common pitfall tends to push the fundamental, and well-known habits towards the back seat, ultimately holding the individual back. This paralysis by analysis is a common pitfall, so I feel it’s good to be reminded of what yields progress from time to time. This is the list of common things I observe and as I witness more, I’ll continually update this blog.
Emphasize the basics movements. Master them before moving onto the more “fancy” exercises. Whatever the reason, I see more and more beginners doing exercises that simply do not yield significant results. These odd alternating-cable-lunge-thrust-kickback-squat-jumps shouldn’t be the meat and potatoes of your lower body training.
While not a perfect science, try your best to rely more so on objective analysis over subjective perception. How you “feel” you look on a given day or is not a good indicator of progress or lack thereof. Weight loss, muscle gain, etc. is inherently emotional. The problem is, your emotional state is not static – it can change in days, hours, or minutes. Rather, establish some form of objectivity to assess you progress, doing your best to minimize your own personal bias. Workout logs, food journals and progress pictures are useful tools for this.
Try not to separate diet from training. Instead, view your diet as a way of fueling performance and progression in the gym or your given sport/activity. Ask yourself what would look better: a higher performing body or a calorie-depleted one aimed at appeasing an arbitrary number on the scale? Which ties in with my next point…
Unfortunately, this needs to be said: put your phone away while you’re training. I see people completing more texts than actual sets. You should even be able to see straight after a working set, let alone send a text or check your social media.
Enjoy what you’re doing. Barring bad form and poor execution, there’s no “right” way to workout. Figure out what works for you and take a progressive approach. How long do you think you’ll keep up an activity that you dislike? When it comes to transforming your physique, consistency is king.
Eat real food. Frankly, it’s a bit disappointing that this even needs to be said, but it’s becoming an increasingly more relevant point as the supplement industry grows. There’s nothing wrong with supplements or meal replacements per se, just don’t make them the foundation of your diet. You shouldn’t be drinking more protein shakes than eating actual meals.
Lastly, stop trying to rush things. Try diving into the science of muscle growth – investigate how a muscle actually comes to be. Becoming aware of this process should give you a much greater appreciation for its complexity and length of time.