2019 blessed me with the most productive year in the gym.

This was down to:

✅Determination

✅Clarity of Vision

✅Routine

✅Persistence

✅Continued learning

Determination:

Towards the end of 2018 I was at an organisation away day, where as an icebreaker I had to share an interesting fact.

On the spot I blurted out I’d become a qualified British Weightlifting Association coach whilst at University.

This acted as a trigger in my head as I didn’t feel like someone who lifted weights – certainly not to teach anyone to lift.

I was now more determined to do better in my training than I had previously – avoiding going through the motions with a vision to be as strong as possible, rounded off by clear goals.

 

Clarity of Vision:

Vision is an important driver as it became my why.

Why do I want to attend the gym today?

With this in mind I was able to ensure I had a clear routine to fit around my goals (improve the big three – deadlift, bench and squat).

Apart from the time I used to run Spartan races, my vision why I go to the gym has never been very clear.

The problem when you don’t have clear direction – you tend to go through the motions and motion results in disappointment.

It’s about asking the simple questions:

Why do I go to the gym?

To get strong of course!

Vision helps achieve consistency and Consistency is key if you want results.

Unfortunately, most of my years in the gym I have been indecisive – sometimes I wanted the ‘beach body’, sometimes I wanted to get big and strong, sometimes other things…

This constant lack of vision impacted my progress.

Therefore, be clear what you want to achieve and stick to it.

 

Routine:

I grew up on pre-Internet advice, so the foundation of my original fitness knowledge came from Men’s fitness magazines, which would always tout shelf grabbing headlines like Wolverine workout, the 300 workout, body like Brad Pitt type trash.

An amateur mistake as this means changing your workout based on whatever gimmicky exercise routine was being used to sell the magazine that month.

It also made it very hard to master movements as I would drop a set routine in favour of using whatever the magazine was pushing that month.

Chopping and changing makes it difficult to measure progress.

My past year has seen great results with a consistent routine focusing on developing form and aiming for progressive overload.

For results stick to the same routine, based around compound lifts, then make minor adjustments as you learn and keep all lifts logged to show you are making some sort of progress (whether it’s heavier, more reps, more sets, slower contraction etc…)

Only make major changes to your routine if you have a major change in vision and adjust the routine to suit the goal(s).

 

Persistence:

It goes without saying but to see results you need to be persistent with your workouts!

If your routine requires you to train three days a week Monday, Wednesday, Friday then don’t skip sessions or change this unless in exceptional circumstances.

I’ve been a notoriously bad workout skipper, letting small things distract me.

Having a clear vision really helped me as I was so driven to achieve my goals I COULD NOT miss a session.

I was so persistent in my training that my body was spent to a point I’d never experienced in such as way it was the first time ever I introduced a deload weeks to allow my body to recover!

 

Continued learning:

Keep learning, you will never know enough.

I’ve been training for nearly 18 years but partly thanks to the information I have gained online I’ve learnt so much to get much more out of the gym.

The Internet has a wealth of information, search for your goals, identify a routine and keep improving from experts in the area.

The only problem you will experience is information overload, which gets confusing what is the best advice.

My approach is to apply the ‘do they look good to you’ test

Ask, do they:

  • have a body shape I aspire to?
  • have similar workout goals to me?
  • talk about workouts that interest me?

Use these people as role models for your progress.

Please see my post getting the most from the Twitter fitness community to gain some clarity on where you want to be.


With the COVID-19 situation it has been difficult taking a forced break from my gym schedule.

I’m utilising the time to focus on family and other projects, while trying to keep my fitness maintained through bodyweight exercise.

My strength goals may not progress as originally planned, but I’m pretty pragmatic about the situation and ready to return with the same determination, vision, routine, persistence and willingness to learn so that I can get back what I’ve achieved so far and work onto those big one rep max milestones ambitions!.

Keep your sanity during these times, don’t listen to the fake Coronavirus experts and I’ll see you back in the gym soon to smash more goals!


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