Whether you know it or not, your compositional goal is to lose fat and gain muscle.
Lets put is this way, I have never had anyone come to me and state that they want more fat & less muscle! Whether your goal is to fit into a pair on jeans comfortably, wear a tighter belt buckle or your suit trousers, or step on a competitive physique stage, the goal of fat loss/muscle building is the same; it is the severity of the approach that will change to get to the desired outcome.
With this is mind, I present to you 10 simple reasons why you may not be getting the results you desire:
1) You are simply not eating enough calories from quality nutrient dense foods.
In order to build, grow and repair, your body needs the correct nutrients. You require regular feedings to maintain and promote protein synthesis; this is one of the reasons why every one of your meals should contain a protein source. Calories are by nature a unit of energy, you need energy to perform and to recover in and out of the gym. This topic is massive and I will be doing a far more in depth blog soon covering nutrition. For now, the take away tip is every meal you consume must contain a source of protein.
2) You are trying to emulate a ‘magazine’ workout or another top bodybuilder’s routine.
Chances are you are not Mr. Olympia (if you are welcome to my blog and you can safely ignore the following points!) so why are you trying to do what he does? You need to spend your time in the gym building a solid foundation of strength, body awareness and connection, along with a mastery of nutrition, recovery and many other strategies. Any article you read in a magazine about what these guys are doing should be taken with a pinch of salt and remember this is a representation of what they are doing NOW; and not what they STARTED with. I would advise starting with the basics and for the most part beginning with an upper/lower body split will suffice. Until you have built upon your foundation, you do not need or should you justify an ‘arm’ day as part of your routine. As much as I will probably lose the interest of the average guy reading this at this point, it is the truth.
3) Your form is lacking.
Chances are your form will need modifying. Its not always that what you are doing is wrong is just not potentially what is optimal. Take the time master the techniques of your entire program. Seek professional advice, this will also help to reduce the risk potential injury, Youtube is not the answer when looking at form! Points 4a & 4b will elaborate on the two main areas which will effect your form.
4a) You are lifting too quickly.
TUT (time under tension) is essential for hypertrophy. As a general rule, you will benefit from focusing on a tempo for all of your sets. Understanding and applying tempo will transform your workouts and potentially your results. Speed and acceleration of lifting should be saved exclusively for power & strength training. By placing emphasis all of the 3 main phases of strength with particular focus on the eccentric (negative or lowering phase) of lifting you can create far greater tension on the working muscle. A very simple question to ask yourself is where do you actually feel the exercise? If you cannot feel the muscle in question being stimulated, you may need to lower your weight. Basic tip here is to leave your ego at home!
4b) You are lifting too heavy.
Unless you are training exclusively for pure strength and/or power the weight you lift is irrelevant. Your body has no idea how much weight is on the bar, it responds to stress, stimulation and tension. By utilising tempo as mentioned above and by focusing on the working muscle you can create far greater tension. Hypertrophy repetition ranges are performed typically between 6 & 12; anything less than 6 and you are looking more at strength based goals. Again, ego should play no part in your lifting.
5) You are not tracking your progress
Ever heard the expression if you cant measure it, you can’t manage it? This runs completely true in the gym too. Log your progress; you need to know exactly what you did in every workout. Use a notepad, then type into excel later. How do you know what’s changing/progressing/regressing if you are not recording your results?
6) You are not consistent.
Just like one salad doesn’t make you slim, one workout doesn’t make you muscular! In the world of body composition and training, consistency is king!
7) You are not mastering the basics and/or not including sufficient compound movements.
Focus on: a bench press (IMO not flat, & doesn’t have to exclusively be a bar either, machines for beginners) a pull down movement (leading to potentially a pull up), a squatting movement (not exclusively a barbell squat, leg press can work) an overhead press variation, potentially a dead lift, dips and a plank. All of these large compound moves will give you far more overall muscle stimulation/calorie burn. Think large when looking at exercise selection!
8) You are not training each muscle frequently enough.
If you organise a split routine correctly, you can train each muscle group twice per week.
9) You are not getting sufficient rest/recovery.
Not only do you require sufficient sleep (see my blog https://tristanbuttle.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/the-importance-of-sleep-my-first-quick-blog/ for more info), but you need to allow time for each muscle group to recover. You do not grow in the gym; you grow when you are recovering. Whatever you trained today, rest it tomorrow. Likewise, whatever you trained yesterday, rest it today.
10) You are relying & focusing too much on supplementation over quality food choices.
Supplementation of ANY kind shouldn’t be at the top of anyone’s list of training priorities. If I had to place an order of importance it would look like this:
I am not any way anti-supplements and I do take a variety myself; however it’s not done at the expense of poor training and nutrition. Nail the basics of all the other areas first then if you are going to supplement, start with the basics initially and experiment with what is right for you as an individual. Don’t take too many different supplements during the same period; this will make progress difficult to measure.
There isn’t a supplement invited that will transform you or help you if the rest of your diet is poor. Remember that by definition a supplement is ‘Something that completes or enhances something else when added to it’.
The real challenge is that although these 10 tips are practical and should help you, like anything they mean nothing without practical application. This is my job to help ensure these tips are followed on a consistent basis. I would advise that you focus on at least 4 of the above tips to begin with and then add in more as you nail the required areas.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, if you found it useful please like and share with others.
If you need any help or further advice, please do not hesitate to contact me, on here or on Facebook.