I get it. When you see that guy or gal in the gym with the physique you want, it’s natural to think “what are they doing that I am not?”. Unfortunately, most of the time that thought starts and ends with either the exercises they are performing or the neon-pink swill they are slurping between sets.
But rest assured, if said individual has a great physique, there’s almost certainly nothing magical about their program or peri-workout nutrition!
The reality is that their body was built through a consistent and disciplined approach to training, and likely even more so with their diet and nutrition. And yes, even the ones that are not au naturale; the juice is not a sub for discipline and hard work.
So if you are working a well-structured program of training (think specificity, progression) and not seeing the results you want, it’s time to ask yourself why?
Chances are there are some fundamental behavioral issues (poor habits) that are in the way of progress. It’s also likely that your attention is focused entirely on the wrong things.
For example, if you are worrying about whether it’s the fact you are leg-pressing and not squatting, or using/not-using an EZ bar in curling or hitting 8-10 reps instead of 8-12… these are NOT the issues holding you back.
Likewise, if you are worrying about brown rice or white, whether it’s better to train fasted or with BCAAs, or juggling numbers until you achieve a recorded 132.4g protein… these are NOT the issues holding you back.
But if you didn’t show-up to the gym yesterday when you could have, or ate only half of the calories you needed to fuel your workout and recovery, those things ARE where your attention should be.
Consistency is king
You’ve heard it a million times at this point, CONSISTENCY IS KING. And we don’t even need 100% consistency… 80-90% will cut it for many.
But how is consistency achieved?
Well of course, it’s multifaceted, but there are some big rocks you can focus on.
- Enjoyment. We won’t do what we don’t enjoy. So if you don’t like your current workout or dietary protocol, you won’t be sticking to it with the adherence you need to see results.
- Goals. What is your goal? Is it realistic? Is it so fucking far away it’s a speck on the horizon? Goals are good, but not when you don’t have a cat-in-hells chance of achieving it. Those kind of goals can quickly drain your motivational reserves and leave you thinking “why the hell do I bother?”.
- Behavior. Related to the above, it’s not only that your goals are perhaps unrealistic, but they are probably exclusively based on outcomes. For most people, it’s behavior that is in the way of progress – poor habits that limit or unravel progress before it’s even happened. One step forwards, two steps back. Really look at your mindset and behaviors and be honest about what is helping you or holding you back.
Now, there are literally hundreds more reasons you might not be seeing progress, including poor programming, poor form, shitty nutrition, stress, lack of sleep, hormonal imbalance … the list is long.
But before you assume it’s your workout, some magic food you’re not eating, or that your body is somehow defying the fundamental laws of physiology, look much closer to home. Chances are, there’s some pretty basic problems you can tackle first.