I think if we are honest then we can agree that at some point there has been a large period of time, maybe now or maybe for as long as you can remember that we have been unsure if we are getting the results we want from our training and nutrition. The problem with not knowing how you are progressing and if you even are is that it breeds negativity and often makes us give up on our goals, frankly that’s not good enough and we deserve to get out what we put in!
So how can you make sure that your hard work is giving you the results you want? Well quite simply you can become more aware of what your body is doing, not just looking at the scales as we have discussed before that can be quite misleading. Paying closer attention to what foods we eat and how much of them, our training, recovery and our stress levels gives us a much better idea of what’s going with our bodies both physically and mentally.
With your training are using progressive overload effectively to make sure you are changing your body?
Progressive overload is something we talk about regularly and is basically the principal that in order to progress you must keep challenging yourself to do better. For example let’s say this week your goals is to squat 80kg for 6-8 reps and you manage 6, next week your goal is to get more reps, and next week you manage 8. The following week you can increase the total weight on the bar by 2.5kg and aim for 6-8 again & so on. Although these are very small increments over time that make a monumental difference, but you must know what your goals are in order to progress other wise you can spend weeks, month or years just doing enough to keep you where you are. Now that is perfectly fine and if you’re happy with where you are then awesome but many of us are still working to make positive changes. Personally I have all my training written out in a diary and that means I can easily track my progress by flicking back through my previous pages, although mostly I only use last weeks page as that’s what i’m looking to improve on.
Below i’ve attached a very simple strength and hypertrophy (muscle building) plan that you can use to get ideas from and to create your own or even use you can this one. That way you can print several copies and each week try to beat your last weeks results.
When it comes to food a food diary is always a great idea, basically for 1 week write down everything you eat and drink, ideally use an app like myfitnessPal as that will also give your calorie & macronutrient breakdown. From there you can assess patterns in your diet, do you go for sugary snacks at the same time each day? If so are your blood sugars low? In which case maybe have a healthy snack between meals to keep you going and stopping you reaching for the chocolate.
It’s also a good idea to note down how you feel after eating meals and certain foods to see if you have regular patterns with foods that might not agree with you, the normal culprits of lactose, gluten, nightshades & preservatives.
When you start to interlink all these ideas and methods even if only every once in a while with the food plan for example you can really get a grasp on how you are progressing.
Ask your self these questions
What is your goal?
Does my training and nutrition match this goal?
Is my training progressing in the way I want it to?
Is my body composition going the way you want it to?
How is my recovery and sleep?
Am I happy?
If any of these don’t give you the answer you are after then you can question them and use your notes and experiences to find out why. Fro example if your goal is to build muscle and your strength is going up in the gym but your weight is not budging, then ask yourself if you are eating enough.
Simple I know but super effective, progress is made by lot’s of small changes and consistency!
Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment or question.