by Tony Gentilcore
Ask yourself this question: What’s the purpose of your training? Every time you hit the gym, you need a plan of attack. A purpose. You can’t just wing it, otherwise you’ll never improve. And there’s no need to get fancy or follow some advanced training protocol.
1. You’re Not Actually Working That Hard
Whenever I go to a commercial gym, I see a few men really getting after their workout. The rest of the guys, however, are watching SportsCenter or checking their text messages. They’ve hardly broken a sweat. If you’re one of the latter, let me tell you something: The clock may have said you were at the gym for an hour, but you didn’t work out for 60 minutes. And you may have posted your workout on Facebook, but that doesn’t make your workout any more effective.
Research has shown that most people tend to over report how much they exercise. While it may be human nature to fudge the facts a bit, you’re not helping yourself if you do it over and over again. For instance, if your actual bench press max is 200 pounds, but you announced to your Facebook friends that it’s 405 (for reps), how does that help you press more weight?
You’re just not working as hard as you think you are. This is a tough pill to swallow for most guys, but once you do, it’ll only make your workouts better.
2. You Don’t Have a Plan
Ask yourself this question: What’s the purpose of your training?
Every time you hit the gym, you need a plan of attack. A purpose. You can’t just wing it, otherwise you’ll never improve. And there’s no need to get fancy or follow some advanced training protocol. I’d much rather see people keep it simple and do the “boring stuff”—like squats, deadlifts, chinups, bench presses—with passion and consistency.
If you’re following a plan, you need to track your results, too. One of my buddies once told me that CrossFit “works” because it’s competitive. So why not do that with your own training? Every workout, compete against yourself. Even if you only beat yourself by one rep or one pound, you have evidence that you’re improving. Who knows, you might surprise yourself by how much you kick your own ass week to week.
So no matter if your goal is to get bigger, leaner, or stronger, just follow a workout plan, do the boring stuff, and track your results. Trust me, it works.
3. You’re Not Comfortable with Getting Uncomfortable
When I was in college, I spent my holidays and summers training at my hometown’s gym. For four years, I watched this one man do the same exact workout, in the same exact order, with the same exact weights. I’m not kidding you. He never changed a thing.
So it’s no surprise that he looked exactly the same on day one as he did four years later. He never lost weight. He never got stronger. He never changed.
Now, I’m not insinuating you need to change your program every week. You should still get really good at the boring stuff before you worry about switching from deficit deadlifts with chains in week one to deadstart Anderson front squats in week two. And when I say good, I mean deadlifting 2.5 times your body weight, performing 10 strict chinups, and squatting your own body weight for 10 reps.
But if you haven’t changed your workout routine since Pepsi Clear was popular (okay, was it ever popular?), then it’s a fair assumption that you need to change things up a bit. We tend to get comfortable with what we’re good at, but the body does a damn good job at adapting to whatever stress we place upon it. When you ask your body to move in ways it hasn’t moved before, you challenge your muscles in new ways and stimulate muscle growth. In fact, if you hate doing an exercise and you usually skip it, it probably means you need it. Add it to your program. It’s time to get uncomfortable. It’s time to see results.
Read more in Men’s Health
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.