The 5 Killers of Fitness Progress
The gym setting is not natural in the least. Man has created the gym to replace the work we would otherwise be doing in our daily lives: hunting, foraging, running for our lives, building shit. Since modern humans DON’T use their bodies in these ways, we created a place to find physical stimulation.
The problem is that most people don’t know what they are doing in the gym. We default to bro-science and things we’ve seen on bodybuilding forums with little understanding of WHY. This often leads to quick plateaus for results or throwing in the towel because, maybe, “working out just isn’t for me.”
The way I see it, there are five main components that intertwine and determine your success or failure in achieving better fitness.
#1 - The Program
Do you follow a program? Do you make things up on the fly? A well-balanced program gives you a roadmap of what to do and how much. It should provide an amount of consistency, repetition and even variation for several weeks or months. This allows you to improve at multiple layers of fitness by following a progression and getting practice week over week.
Honestly, it doesn’t have to be an award-winning program. Just something to follow that is inclusive and guides you toward some goals. If you have the time, here’s one of our Coffee Talks regarding what a good program should include.
#2 - Coaching
If you are serious about achieving better fitness, learning from an expert and getting frequent feedback is important in the process. It’s great if you’ve been squatting for years, but what if you are doing it wrong? With all the information out there, it is easy to follow the wrong advice.
Rather than spending a bunch of time rewinding and re-learning exercises, seek the help of a coach or personal trainer. The investment is worth it.
#3 - Accountability
Other than a select few individuals who have exceptional discipline, it’s easy to bail on your goals when the going gets tough. Having one or more other people working towards similar goals is monumental in staying focused. Nobody wants to let the team down. Plus, some friendly competition goes a long way.
#4 - Nutrition is the Foundation
Working out is the sexy stuff. Eating appropriately for your goals is certainly not, but it is a much more effective route at improving body composition and performance. Without it, your fitness will always have a lower ceiling. Learning how to eat the right amounts of whole foods will absolutely provide a breakthrough in results in terms of performance, strength, losing body fat, recovery, and cognitive function.
#5 - Weaknesses and Imbalances
Everyone has weaknesses in their fitness game. Likewise, we all have created imbalances in our bodies due to our unique lifestyles. Those who excel in fitness and sport take the time to work on flaws in their game. This may be simply something you aren’t good at, but usually it is something you aren’t capable of yet. Addressing muscular imbalances, movement quality, and weak areas is absolutely necessary to avoid injury and propel your fitness forward. This means slowing down, being mindful and doing the tedious work.