We all train for a goal in mind. At the end of the day, everyone wishes to reach whatever goal that goal is! But results don’t show that easy. Most often, people fall off after just a few weeks of training when they don’t see the results they expect! It takes hard work, commitment, and perseverance. A lot of them.
I’m sharing a list of habits that will help you develop hard work, commitment, perseverance, and motivate you to continue training until it all pays off. These habits are based from established principles of training that elite coaches and athletes have been following for decades in their training. Elite athletes reach a high level of fitness simply because they follow these principles and commit to do them every training day. Now I don’t expect you to automatically do them once you set foot in the gym or start your workouts at home. Patiently develop these habits and they will reward you with results!
- Use a Training Log.
Coaches record their athletes’ training and progress every training day, every season, every championship or loss. When you exercise, you can easily see the areas where you are improving or where you need to grow if your training is written down. Use a notebook, training journal, or take advantage of technology and download an app. It’s hard to remember all of the specifics: weight, tempo, and repetitions. Writing everything down on a training log will give you direction every time you come to train so you don’t feel lost.
- Focus on your Goal and Vision.
It’s easy to be distracted once you start exercising. Always keep your goal in mind whenever you start your workouts. Imagine yourself reaching your goal whether you want to lose weight or put on muscle before and during your workouts. There will be times that you want to quit. Always remember why you’re working so hard! Close your eyes and visualize where you want to be then push yourself to work harder to reach it!
- Be Consistent.
I’m sure that you’ve searched the internet and found a hundred other workout programs. There are a lot of people who will make a lot of fantastical promises pertaining to the results of their programs. And there will always be a “trending” workout that you’ll see in Instagram or Facebook. As a result, you’ll certainly feel a desire to change the current program that you’re on because you think that another you read about is better. Don’t. Stay on the course. Consistency is the key to success.
- Be Committed.
When you get in the gym, you’ll see people training differently than you. Some people might even approach you and tell you that their training worked for them so you should follow that instead. Guess what… Most people in the gym don’t know what they’re doing but many are good at pretending that they do! If they do know what they’re doing, they should also know about the principles of Individuality and Specificity which says that each individual is different and have their specific needs, goals, and fitness levels. So whatever program that may have worked for them doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you. Also, they should be familiar with another principle: “mind your own business.” Be committed to the workout that you’re currently doing and it will reward you in due time.
- Progressive Overload.
Simply put, progressive overload refers to making everything a little harder each workout. Ideally you’re going to get a little bit better every time that you step foot in the gym on your path to packing on muscle. Progressive overload doesn’t just refer to weight. Common ways to use progressive overload include: using a heavier load, using the same load for more repetitions, doing the same amount of work in less time, performing more sets with the same load, using the same load through an increase in range of motion. These are certainly not the only ways but some of the most common to ensure continued progress. On the other hand, keep the word “progression” in mind every time you’re tempted to do more. Your body takes time to adapt but it will. You’ll get stronger, faster, fitter, and better.
- Rest and Recover.
Even elite athletes need time to rest. When you start exercising, you will actually be breaking muscle fibers and get your nervous system tired as you push yourself. Take note of this: your body grows stronger during rest and recovery periods. Ignoring rest periods can be a limiting factor in your progress. Not only is it important to efficiently use your time but also to maximize a desired training response.
- Don’t Overdo it.
One of the positive after-effects of exercise is the release of endorphins, or the ‘happy hormones.’ It’s a chemical response of the body that results to a combined sense of achievement, satisfaction, and relief. You’ll see that exercise feels good, but don’t overdo it. Most people who find exercise as a struggle usually stayed on the cardio machine too much, or did too many reps than required. Don’t think that more is better. It isn’t. Just enough is better. Get in. Work hard. Get out. Rest. Do it again.
- Practice Makes Perfect.
Elite athletes do the same drills every single day. In this way, their bodies adapt to the movement and develop muscle memory. When start going to the gym regularly, you’ll meet people who have been working out for years yet never seem to show any major improvements in body composition or strength. Often the reason is that these people are always going for a record (i.e., always want to lift heavy). Training in the gym should be viewed as practice – a place where you continually work to improve. Dial in your technique and control the weight concentrating on feeling your muscle contract through each rep.
- Ask for a Spotter.
A spotter is someone who assists you on exercises and watches your form. They are helpful especially on complex exercises and when you go heavy. Some lifters feel like using a spotter demonstrates a lack of confidence. This could not be further from the truth. A spot can help build confidence and also allow you to push yourself further on certain sets whether it comes from verbal encouragement. Some movements, such as the bench press, often require a spotter to help lift the bar off of the pins in order to keep the lifter safe. Don’t be afraid to ask for a spot especially during sets later on in the workout. A good spotter will help you keep to your prescribed tempo.
- Focus on Technique, Not Weight.
Sacrificing proper technique for more weight will hinder your progress. It’s also a great way to get hurt. Common thinking is you need to add more weight to the bar if you want to put on more muscle but it isn’t true. Proper technique often recruits more muscle in addition to being safe on the joints ensuring that you don’t get hurt.
- Note Your Weaknesses and Improve on Them.
Great Coaches know not just their athletes’ strengths, but also their weaknesses. The Coach make their athlete do some work on their strength, and a lot more work on their weaknesses. There’s a trap that we all fall prey to where we like to do things that we’re good at and avoid things that we aren’t. It’s a vicious cycle. Stick to the program. There will be things that you aren’t good at. Embrace it. Take note of them and work harder. That’s how you improve.
Tempo. Repetitions. Frequency. These stuff require a lot of patience to keep doing. Follow the indicated repetitions in the program to get the desired response from your body. Most importantly, take note of the Tempo: this is both the most important and most ignored variable of training. You will see that the guidelines will be very specific. Stick to it. This is cliché but remember that top athletes are not born, they are made.
Great results don’t come easy. If they do, then everyone would be ripped, jacked, and joining the Ninja Warrior! That’s not how it is. You got to train hard, work hard, rest, then repeat. Try to add these habits to your routine one at a time and see how fast you progress as you practice!
Keep it up!