You may think your training routine is the best thing since water, but if you're not hitting these five key elements in your program, you're missing out on making optimal progress and all-round health.
Here are 5 essential tips to making progress in the gym a fundamental part of your training, so, here we go...
1: TRAINING ETHIC
You get out what you put in, right?... A gym is a place of blood, sweat, and tears - it's where both your body and mind are tasked to overcome the toughest of challenges.
Having a well-planned training routine is excellent, but without adhering to the plan; executing and pushing yourself to the next level, you'll be back to square one in no time.
Stay consistent, stick to the plan and your progress will follow.
2: TRACK YOUR PB'S
So your plans sorted, and you're killin' it!? Well, if you were tracking your lifts, you'd know the answer.
Monitoring your progression is essential for development in (and out) of the weights room. If you feel that the weight isn't increasing - don't worry, it happens to all of us, and it's usually just the case of switching up intensity or rep ranges to cruise past that pesky plateau.
Keeping track of PB's, compound lifts and other fitness milestones can be a great way to monitor progression from a performance aspect.
Don't forget, it's YOU vs YOU - forget others in the gym and what they're doing; focus on making small, positive steps to help develop your training in a realistic, manageable way that suits your lifestyle.
PB's don't have to be the only thing you track, check out The Best Ways To Track Your Fitness.
3: SWITCH UP YOUR STYLE
Aesthetics, performance or health; we all have different reasons as to why we go to the gym, and we all have times when motivation is lacking. Keeping things fresh and trying different workouts gives us a new challenge, keeping motivation levels high and helping to develop motors skills.
Our bodies are designed to move in all different ways, often we fall into a routine that limits these patterns. From stringent lifting exercises to sedentary work environments - challenging our body to move in its full range of motion is essential. Mixing up your training routine and exercises will help support your main goals and leave you feeling satisfied and accomplished.
Alongside swapping your back squat for a front squat, switching up your style also means going outside of your comfort zone, trying new activities and practices that you may sometimes overlook; such as yoga, HIIT and plyometrics.
4: FORM IS KING
If your form is off, you're probably not hitting your muscles effectively, and you're increasing the risk of injury - which ultimately means less time in the gym, working towards your goals.
Learning the correct movement patterns for each exercise is vital for progression in the gym, and your body will thank you for it once those weights start to get a little heavier.
Outside help from experienced professionals is excellent, but not always an option for most. Luckily, we live in an age where information is easily accessible online, and with the use of videos and instructions from reputable sources, we can ensure we're doing exercises in the most optimum way.
Last, but certainly not least, Our diet plays a huge part when it comes to reaching goals, no matter what they are.
'Abs are made in the kitchen' - we know you've heard that phrase before, and there's an element of truth to it. Pushing ourselves through physical and mental boundaries is all well and good, but without nailing the basics in the kitchen, our progress will be slow, if not stagnant.
A balanced diet with sufficient amounts of protein, carbs, and fats alongside micro-nutrient rich foods is key to a well fuelled, healthy body. We are giving ourselves the ability to not only perform at our best but to also recover and repair efficiently, ready for the next challenge.
Oh, and let's not forget about hydration - water is vital to countless bodily functions, and it's way too easy to leave that bottle behind. Keep water with you at all times and stay hydrated, isotonic and electrolyte drinks can also help replenish the body after grueling sessions.
Want to go a little more in-depth on your nutrition? Check out our Nutrition For Beginners!
Don't forget, applying these 5 tips over some time will help make the changes to your routine that much easier to create habits from, rather than implementing them all at once and feeling overwhelming with so much change.
Health and fitness isn't a race, it's a lifestyle we lead to living a better life.