5 iron rules to progressing as an athlete! In other words how to ensure getting the GAINZ and losing body fat!
Whether you are looking for strength gains, lean mass increase or body fat reduction. You HAVE TO SLEEP! Sleep is a very important component of our life. Apart from resting what happens is your body gets the chance to up regulate certain hormones and down regulate others. Why is this so important?! Well our athletic performance, muscle mass, body fat, stress levels, metabolism, adrenal health to name a few are all affected by the amount and quality of your sleep! How much do you need the current recommendation is around 8 solid hours of sleep (the more you train the more you should sleep). It's been show that hitting the bed slightly earlier will result in better quality of sleep as well. If you struggle with going to bed early:
- Dim the lights in the evening. Reducing artificial light will help in putting you into sleep mode.
- Switch off! Yes as hard as it sounds staying of Facebook and other social media will help you unwind. Read a book or meditate!
- Clean up your diet! Yes eating huge amounts of junk and caffeine spiked fizzy drinks won't help! - Black out your bedroom.
- Consider taking a ZMA supplement (zinc, magnesium, b vit.) supplements like phosphatidyl serine can help with reducing stress levels which would further help you unwind and get into sleep mode.
- Consider having some carbohydrates at night as it will help you sleep! Apart from investing in your z's learn to take recovery days. Training 7 days a week sounds fun but if you are not recovering you are not progressing.
I cannot stress this enough, eating enough and covering your bases with macro and micro nutrient intake is essential! Make sure you eat enough protein and fat for your body and goals. Dial in the carbohydrate intake according to your activities. Make sure your diet supports your personal goals! Keep track of what you're eating if you are not tracking you are guessing which is not the best method as you don't really know what works and what doesn't. If you are one of those people that keeps things ok Mon-Fri and then "the weekend happens" maybe consider a more optimal approach to your nutrition one that will allow you to have moderate servings of your favourite foods. Yes sacrifices will have to be made but at the end of the day your nutrition plan needs to work for YOU. If you don't have a clue what you’re doing instead of copying a random plan of the web invest in your self and your future and find a nutritionist.
Are you going to the gym? Or are you training with a purpose? Those are 2 very different things people. As you all know you can have the same training session for 2 very different people written out. One will come in and attack it with intensity and focus get stuff done and ensure that if the plan says lift as heavy as possible for sets of 3 he will. The other will come in with a thousand excuses on why he should break a sweat on that squat or deadlift or will spend the whole time training his jaw muscles. Guess who will see the results? Have a clear plan and a goal, come into the gym warm up properly, get shit done, cool down and enjoy the banter after the session!
Yes that's the tough one. Will you be able to take a plan or a approach to training and nutrition and stick to it consistently for a year? In order for your nutrition plan and training to have a chance of delivering results YOU need to be consistent with it! Don't let silly things distract you and derail your progress. Which brings me to my next point.
5. Positive mental attitude!
Like we mentioned here earlier whether your goal is getting ready to compete, building mass, loosing body fat or simply feeling like a bad ass day in day out you will need to make some sacrifices and accept that it won't happen over night. Especially in the age of 6 week transformations, 12 minute abs and all that do you honestly think that Rich Froning got to where he is within a year? You have to get into it for the right reasons guys, ones that will ensure that you stay motivated because your personal goal means so much to you! Don’t think that a month of good nutrition will reverse 20 years of abusing your body. Get into it with the mindset of being in it for good and you just might surprise your self with the results. Stay positive and driven by forming alliances and friendships with people who inspire you. Cut off the negative ones! Don't be afraid of failure in the gym, some training sessions won't go as planned. Maybe you won't get that PR you've been working your ass off. Don't worry, go back, regroup, consult with your coach and get back to it!
Don't forget the fun part is the journey! It's your journey that will make you a stronger version of your self.