by Abby Huot
It’s Monday morning. You silence your alarm, hop out of bed, lace up your kicks, and head to the gym. Once inside, you make a bee-line for the weights, rep out a few upper-body exercises—after all, it’s International Chest Day—and then head over to the cardio machines for 30 minutes of steady state. It’s a body-part split that’s worked like clockwork for years.
Only now, the results have begun to slow.
Most of us, even weight room veterans, struggle to maintain muscle, grow, and break plateaus. That’s where a little help from the experts comes in. These tips will help rekindle your love of fitness and add a bit of spark to your routine while reinforcing the basics of proper training.
JAMES GRAGE CO-FOUNDER AND VP OF BPI
1 DISCOMFORT IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF SUCCESS
“The word ‘work’ is the root word of ‘working out,'” notes James. “Results require hard work. Nobody can do it for you. If you want results, you have to put in the effort.” You can’t be afraid of discomfort. Remember the phrase ‘No Pain No Gain’? Instill a healthy work ethic and push though. “Getting your arm cut off with a dull knife is pain. A little bit of lactic acid, sweat, and effort is just part of working out,” James adds. “You have to force your body to change, and that requires you getting out of your comfort zone.”
“YOU HAVE TO FORCE YOUR BODY TO CHANGE, AND THAT REQUIRES YOU GETTING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.”
2 QUALITY BEATS QUANTITY IN THE GYM
Time spent in the gym doesn’t mean anything in itself. “It’s not about how long you’re there; it’s about how productive you are during that time,” says James. “My weight training sessions are never more than 40 minutes long, but I kill it during that time. There’s no talking and no resting.” Save the chatter for post-workout water-cooler talk.
3 EXCELLENCE SHOULD NOT BE COMPROMISED
“Good enough is the enemy of excellence,” says James. “The average person will say that 98 percent is good enough. Very few will go that extra 2 percent. This is what separates average from excellence.” This applies to everything, too—your discipline, effort and consistency with your training, nutrition, and supplementation.
WHITNEY REID BPI EAST COAST SALES MANAGER
4 A PARTNER CAN HELP YOU REACH NEW HEIGHTS
“FOCUS ON YOUR TRAINING AND THE WORK AT HAND.”
Train with a training partner who will push you and hold you accountable. Set new goals together and monitor your results so you know you’re making progress. Also, make sure you’re always prepared. “I always keep a bag packed with my belt, lifting straps, a few Vortex sample packs , shorts, and T-shirt in my car,” says Whitney Reid. “Sometimes your daily plans will change, so it’s good to always be prepared so you don’t have any excuses.”
5 MOVING YOUR JAW WON’T DO MUCH FOR YOUR BODY
Whitney’s advice: Keep all the socializing for post-workout. “Don’t get me wrong,” he says, “I’ll talk between sets, but I keep it to a minimum. All serious conversations are put on hold until I finish training.” Bottom line: Focus on your training and the work at hand.
6 WHEN YOU’RE IN A RUT, A CHANGE OF SCENERY MAY BE ALL YOU NEED
“At least once a month I try out a new gym,” Whitney says. “I know it seems like a pain to change from your normally scheduled plans, but it will breathe life back into your training. Going to a different gym, feeding off the new energy, and using equipment you aren’t accustomed to can lead to a great workout.”
BARBARA BOLOTTE, BPI ATHLETE
7 SELF-TALK HAS A PROFOUND IMPACT ON YOUR SUCCESS
Never underestimate the power of the messages you tell yourself throughout your day and in the gym. Negative self-talk can make or break you in terms of progress and fortitude in your training routing.
“HAVING A POSITIVE, OPEN MIND AND A LITTLE SELF-BELIEF CAN BE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 70 AND 100 PERCENT SUCCESS RATE.”
“Don’t let your mental state of mind overcome the physical,” says Barbara Bolotte. “Many times we can talk ourselves out of a workout. If you start letting negative thoughts take over, you can set yourself back in a big way!”
Instead, try looking on the bright side. Having a positive, open mind and a little self-belief can be the difference between a 70 and 100 percent success rate. Practice journaling in order to have a physical record of the good things you do. Pat yourself on the back for little victories. Practice positive affirmations daily and watch how much more successful you are with your training and diet routines.
8 A LITTLE CHANGE BE A BIG HELP WITH YOUR TRAINING
Think back to the last time you made a change. It’s impossible to stay interested in your training routine if you haven’t done anything new in months or years. You probably should not be doing the same workout this coming Wednesday that you were doing in 2011.
“Don’t get stuck on a cyclical pattern,” says Barbara. “When you get into a training program, it’s easy to get stuck on the same amount of reps you are doing for every exercise.”
Try mixing up your number of sets or spicing things up with reps of 15 ,12, or 10 so that your body doesn’t get used to the same old training routine. Make some changes and see how much more your body and mind respond. You may experience a renewed sense of purpose.
9 YOU CAN’T OUT-TRAIN A BAD DIET
Don’t live in diet denial. Have you ever tried to trick yourself into thinking a great workout will offset a bad diet? People often underestimate the power of clean eating and how vital it is to their progress.
“If you’re not seeing the results you want in the gym, chances are you aren’t being honest with yourself about your diet,” says Barbara. To curb this problem and keep yourself in check, Barbara recommends using progress pictures. That will help ensure there’s no wiggle-room for justifications and excuses.
Try Barbara’s method: “Snap a before pic of yourself, and then take seven days to really get strict with your eating. That means prepping, portioning and not cheating! Drink plenty of water throughout these seven days. Once they’re up, snap an after shot. If you’re true to your diet, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with your results.”