If you’ve spent any significant amount of time in the gym, chances are you’ve heard those guys in the locker room talk about how strong they were “back in the day”. Or, you’ve listened to that girl tell you about how fit and smoking hot her body “used to be”. Why is it that in a gym full of people, who are currently working hard, no one is in the best shape of their lives?
Training your body should be a perpetual journey towards bigger and better goals. You should be better today than you were yesterday. Likewise after one year, two years, and so on.
“Training” is different from “exercise”, because if you are training there is always a specific goal in mind. Exercise, on the other hand, is simply the act of “working out”. Exercise might help you attain a decent level of general fitness, but at a certain point you will stagnate.
Here are 5 tips to help you TRAIN your body for constant improvement.
- Proper planning. First, you have to determine your goal. Then, you need an organized training plan that will help you attain your goal. Each exercise is chosen for a reason! Everything fits together as a part of a whole, and that whole is designed specifically to reach your goal.
- Track your progress. Even the best programs are useless, if you don’t follow through. Track workouts, sets and reps, and the weights you’ve used. Make sure that you’re progressing.
- Use proper form.
- Executing exercises correctly allows them to work as intended. You should learn the correct way of “how” to do each exercise, and also “why”. Knowing why each movement is being performed will allow you to execute them more effectively. For example, when training for sports performance we focus on the total movement, while a bodybuilder might perform the same movement but focus his mental energy on the contraction of a specific muscle.
- Using proper form will help you avoid the injuries and chronic pains that often come with working out. By avoiding these injuries, you’ll also skip the set-backs that come along with them. If you can’t train because you’re injured, you’re not just failing to get better; you’re losing ground!
- De-load. Periodically scheduling weeks of lighter training or rest will allow your body to completely recover. You’ll make rapid progress when you go back to training hard! However, if you fail to de-load, you’ll eventually over train and/or pleateau.
- Intend it. Don’t accept that you’re not as strong as you used to be. Just intend to get stronger than ever, and put in the work.
If you follow these 5 tips, you’ll be sure that you’re training, instead of spinning your wheels on another day of pointless exercise. Over the course of your training “career”, your progress should look like this: