Three Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Lifting

i started lifting

A Plan is a MUST

Getting to the gym is great and anything, done with good form, is going to leave you in a better place than where you started. Having said that, aimless training focused on whatever machine, bench or weight is free isn’t the optimal approach to build muscle. Even a simple Push, Pull, Legs routine, like the one I shared earlier, is a great place to start.

This will allow you to track strength gains and give you a base to adapt as you become more experienced in the gym.

Take Progress Photos

You’ll get this advice from most trainers but it was something I avoided from the beginning. I mean, who wants a folder full of photos of themselves, miles away from their desired shape?

But, I started over the last few weeks and would recommend this for everyone on any sort of fitness journey. Everyone has days where they feel flat and question whether or not any improvements are being made (do I even lift, bro?) and looking back over your progress will offer a boost when it’s needed most.

The Importance of Nutrition

As much as we wish it did, spending an hour in the gym doesn’t give you free rein to eat whatever you want for the rest of the day and it doesn’t negate a weeks worth of bad food choices either! Also, poor sessions at the gym can often be a result of what you have eaten (or not) earlier in the day.

Tracking calories and macros is not essential but it is HIGHLY recommended, particularly if your goals are around weight loss / gain and not just general fitness.

What three things do you wish you knew when you started lifting?

Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.

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3 Signs It’s Time To Switch Up Your Workout Plan

workout plan
When taking on a new workout plan, the key things to look out for are sustainability and the potential to produce the results you are hoping to achieve. But what happens when that plan stops working for you?

Here are 3 signs it’s time to switch things up…

Results have plateaued

It’s completely normal to see quick results at the beginning of a new workout plan – that’s your body adapting. It’s also normal for this to fall away slightly as you move into weeks 3 & 4 – that doesn’t mean the plan isn’t working, it’s just a reminder that real results don’t come in 6 – 8 weeks! Having said that, if you saw results in the beginning but have noticed things stagnating recently, it could be time to switch things up. You don’t necessarily have to rip-up your whole plan, try simple changes like swapping volume for lower, heavier reps and sets or switching from machines to free weights.

You’re not getting results

If you’ve given things around 6 weeks and have noticed no real changes in strength, physique or conditioning, it’s definitely time to change. Every exercise doesn’t work for every individual and every plan doesn’t suit either. Remember, your ideal workout plan should be be tailored to your needs – try as many as you need to, note what works from each and make your own!

You’re bored

This is an often overlooked but important factor to consider. If you are bored, you are WAY more likely to miss workouts as a result of lost motivation. Regardless of what results you might achieve on the programme, you won’t get them outside the gym so you need to find a way to get yourself motivated and back on schedule.

How often do you switch things up? What tricks do you use to keep yourself motivated at the gym??

Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.

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The Importance of Routine

the importance of routine

Success in attaining your goals is going to be a by-product of consistency, there really isn’t any way around it. On your way to hitting those objectives, you will be spinning a lot of plates including exercise, nutrition and supplementation.

It’s easy to let things slip and sabotage weeks of hard work so let’s look at how you can apply the importance of routine to your fitness journey.

Before

One way to guarantee a substandard trip to the gym is to spend time convincing yourself why it’s ok to miss the session. It’s not ok and it’s going to impact your nutrition, motivation and goals for the rest of the week. The way I avoid this is through routine > plan your week in advance and when it’s time to go, don’t even think, GO! Sure, things will inevitably get in the way at times but don’t let your mindset be the prompt for that excuse!

And lastly, plan to get your pre-workout in around 30 minutes before the session to give the caffeine time to kick-in. If you need help choosing a pre-workout, check out my latest Supplement Wars post.

During

You made it to the gym – awesome, but that’s just a good start! You need to make sure you have a plan in-hand. Turning-up to see what machines are free isn’t ideal and will most likely see you fall-back on the movements you’re most comfortable with. Those are not going to be the most effective for growth and it’s unlikely to be a route to your dream physique.

Use your phone to track your routine and measure progress against last week – small improvements to weights, reps or sets will make for huge gains over time.

After

Recovery starts in the gym so make sure you are always aware of hydration levels if you want to avoid muscle cramps developing over the next 24 hours or so (remember, no excuses for missing future sessions!).

Next thing to plan into your routine is supplementation – I like to replenish quickly following a workout to avoid energy levels crashing and to get recovery started quickly. My post-workout shake normally consists of whey protein, BCAA’s, creatine and taurine – I get it in within an hour of leaving the gym. Add your daily vitamins at the same time every day and you’ll find those too become part of your routine and you’ll be less likely to forget them.

What are you thoughts on the importance of routine? What goes into your daily / weekly plan??

Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.

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