How To Take Your Gym Habit To The Advanced Level
After going to the gym for a couple of years consistently, you’ve developed a lot of experience and knowledge in health and fitness. It can be challenging to know where you go from here to continue advancing. This article continues from the previous part of this series about transitioning from beginner to intermediate.
After the first 1-2 years, the rate of growth slows down significantly. Results become very incremental, and you have to work much harder to get them. There are a few solutions to this problem that can help you advance your gym results to the next level.
How Important Are Micronutrients?
The first step, similarly to the intermediate stage, is to focus on nutrition. At this point, nutrition creates such a big difference in your results. Getting on track with your nutrition was the first step, swapping out many unhealthy foods and beginning to enjoy eating healthier foods. From a macronutrient perspective, this just continues enhancing as you discover new foods and healthier substitutes.
This might involve more cooking as you’re aiming to eat more fresh ingredients rather than ready-made foods from the shop, for example. It helps if you have a vision of what you want to achieve nutritionally a few years from now. Maybe you want to become vegan or cut out all wheat products. Whatever your goals are, it’s important to have something to aspire to so that you can keep enhancing your nutrition plan.
Micronutrients are often overlooked because people are unaware of their correlation to gym results. Most health and fitness goals are based on losing body fat and building muscle, and macronutrients are the only thing that matters in accomplishing that.
There’s a lack of awareness around micronutrients in the health and fitness industry. For this reason, it takes a lot of commitment to conduct independent research to delve into micronutrients and their physiological effects.
Micronutrients start to become important as you’re moving towards the advanced level. They play a crucial role in your ability to perform at your highest level. For example, vitamin C is vital in forming L Carnitine, which metabolises fat into energy. Or by incorporating antioxidants into your nutrition, which can prevent fatigue and muscle damage from occurring. It’s also important to keep your immune system strong so that you’re not fighting off illness anytime you build momentum to increase your strength.
When you’ve developed good nutrition, it’s those minor tweaks that make all the difference. You start by laying the foundation, which is the gym routine. Then you begin to customise it and tailor it to your goals, which is the macronutrients. Then you tweak all the intricacies and nuances, which is the micronutrients. All three are vital if you want to maximise your potential within health and fitness.
Becoming Strategic with Your Gym Workouts
When you have 1-2 years experience of going to the gym, it becomes challenging to continue pushing yourself to learn because you already know a lot. You’ve already tried a lot of the best exercises and have become good at executing them. So what is the next step that’s required to take you to the next level?
The next step is to begin assessing and strategising your performances. Every week you should evaluate your gym workouts, determine where you performed optimally and areas that you need to improve. Are you pushing yourself as hard as you can, or could you increase the intensity? It’s challenging to track your progress if you’re not analysing it regularly.
There’s a big difference between someone who creates good gym results and someone who creates extraordinary gym results. The person who creates good gym results treats it like a part-time job. This person turns up, puts in a moderate effort during their workout, and then goes home and forgets about the gym until next time. As long as they show up and do what is required of them, that’s all they’re concerned with. This person doesn’t feel responsible for the performance of the company. Their attendance is out of necessity; they need to get paid. Just like the person at the gym attends out of necessity, they want to ensure they don’t become unfit or out of shape.
The person who creates extraordinary results treats it like they’re running their own business. This person puts in as much effort as possible during the workout. When they go home, they’re strategising and planning on how they can improve their performance. They're fully invested in their health and fitness and will use all of their resources to maximise their results.
This person is intrinsically motivated to perform as well as possible. They spend time developing new ideas and being creative. They’re not working out of necessity; they’re working because they’re passionate about it.
If you compare two people delivering a work presentation, one has spent a week practising, and the other has left practising to the last minute. Who do you think is going to enjoy that presentation more? The person who is prepared is going to be more confident and more passionate. That passion and confidence are going to show when they’re delivering the presentation. It’s the same with the gym; the person who prepares will have that extra edge.
If you put in the effort to strategise and plan your workouts, your gym results will reflect that. You’re going to be highly motivated every time you step into the gym. You’re going to be more focused. You’re going to be more efficient. You’re going to enjoy the workouts more because of the preparation you’ve put in.
One of the key benefits of strategising and assessing your performance is that you can quickly spot things that need to be changed. Someone who isn’t evaluating their performances might use the same exercise for three to six months before realising it’s not working and it’s time to switch it up. If you’re doing a weekly analysis of your performances, you can identify that and change it in one week. Imagine the difference that would have to your results.
The Truth About Sleep
Another factor that can impact your results is your level of sleep. Getting sufficient rest is imperative to allow your body to recover and ensure you can perform at your optimum level the next time you train. Sleep’s importance on gym training is often overlooked, but when you’re performing at a high level, all of these nuances make such a difference.
As well as the physical effect of providing you with sufficient energy, it also has psychological implications. If you go to bed early because you’ve got an intense gym workout planned for tomorrow, the fact that you’re getting extra rest reinforces your commitment. This will boost your motivation when working out because you know you’ve prepared in advance for this workout. You will always hugely benefit from any extra steps you take outside the gym to improve your performance.
This guide is not instructing you to prioritise the gym over all other areas of your life; these strategies are not meant to take up a significant portion of your day or week. For example, a weekly analysis of your gym performance might take ten minutes, but those ten minutes can create a profound impact on your results if done consistently over months and years.
The same thing with micronutrients. At this level, extra efforts to boost your gym performance rely on strategising and forward-thinking to create better results for yourself rather than what you can do inside the gym.
The gym can be very obsessive, but it’s important not to let it jeopardise other areas of your life, such as your career and relationships. This is why it’s important to make incremental changes over time regarding your health and fitness to keep all the other areas of your life intact and continue to grow them.
There’s a common theme with these three techniques that you can use to enhance your gym performance: micronutrients, strategising, and getting better sleep. In all three cases, the benefits come partially from the direct effect of better micronutrients, strategising and sleep, and partially from how it sets you up psychologically.
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