There is no better feeling than looking at yourself in the mirror or checking your numbers and seeing improvement regularly. Conversely, there is no worse feeling than being stuck in the same position and not getting anywhere. You feel like a hamster running in a wheel as fast as you can.
By Roger Lockridge
More often than not, athletes make these situations even more complicated by thinking they have to do something revolutionary in order to move forward. It might be something very simple that is putting a strain on your gains. Before you start panicking or throwing your hands up in the air and giving up, take a few minutes to ask yourself these 5 questions regarding what you’re doing.
1. Am I getting enough rest?
Recovery is just as important to your progress as the training is and that includes getting sleep. 7 hours of sleep every night should be the bare minimum. 8 or 9 would be even better. Yes, there are those who advocate staying awake longer to get more done but you won’t be doing too much if you’re exhausted. If you have trouble going to sleep, simply lay prone in the dark and relax without lights or technology on. This beats nothing at all.
2. Am I drinking enough water?
It’s the source of life. It makes up 2/3 of the planet and 2/3 of your body too. The fact is if you’re not properly hydrated then your focus and performance will suffer. Your body won’t process food properly. Your recovery will not be at its best. I can go on and on but you get the point. How much water should you drink? Take your weight in pounds and multiply it by .67. That number is your daily water intake in ounces. For example, 200 pounds x .67 = 134 ounces or a little more than a gallon a day.
3. Have I tried anything new?
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. If you’re stuck at a plateau then it might be time to change up the program. Incorporate new styles of fitness into your plan like yoga or by adding kettlebell work. Change the number of days you train a week. Train in the morning instead of at night if your schedule allows.
4. Does my program match my goals?
Your original plan might have been serving you well when you first started but as you improve you likely challenge yourself to set new goals. Did you change up your training and nutrition to match those goals? You might need to add a cardio session a week if you want to lose more bodyfat. Your carb intake might need to be adjusted. If you want to gain muscle then you should take the proper supplements to suit those needs. The pieces need to be able to connect together in order to complete the puzzle.
5. Am I doing everything possible to succeed?
This is the most unpopular question but it’s the most important one. Are you cutting your workouts short to save time? Are you leaving a couple reps in the tank to save energy for later? Have you had one too many cheat meals this week? This isn’t necessarily a way to blame yourself but if you ask yourself this question and realize that you are making mistakes, then you’ll be able to make the necessary changes faster so you can get back to improving.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where I’ll have the remaining 5 questions you need to ask yourself so you can see the results you seek.