Gains, gains you say? Gains I say, what are gains you say? A measurement of success I say, not just in the gym, in all aspects of life.
There's many reasons and also many excuses as to why people lack gains. This will be a series of articles addressing many of the common mistakes people unwittingly find themselves making when it comes to the gym.
Lack of consistency
By consistency, I mean going to the gym 3-5 times/week and very rarely missing more than a consecutive week or two throughout the year. Even following the most horribly designed program and nutrition, someone consistently pounding away at the gym will be able to make some form of progress over the guy who goes once or twice a month.
The most common issue with inconsistency is lack of patience, adaptation is a slow gradual progress. You are not going to achieve your idealistic Tyler Durden body overnight, a year of consistent lifting with a good program however? More than possible! When people complain about the lack of progress after a few weeks with a program and then hop to another program, not only does it fuel anger for my squats, but it's probably one of the biggest reason why gyms these days are full of physiques that look like they haven't touched a weight in their lives.
The other issue with consistency is lack of a goal, just going to the gym and lifting weights is great and all, but your program should be designed with a goal in mind and a time in which that goal is achievable. This can be applied to many aspects of life, want to save £1000 by Christmas? Bench 100kg by the new year? Don't talk about it, plan to make it happen. Not only does this allow much more focused programming it's also a lot more motivating to come into the gym with a goal in mind.
Goals can be missed, which is why I like setting small achievable goals under time constraints and just keep the big goals in mind, if you set a time constraint on big goals then you're far more likely to rush them near the end. A nice example of this is weight loss, a lot of people set arbitrary dates regarding this and end up trying to rush it when they don't look like they're going to hit that date, crash dieting is obviously never ever good and comes with a lot of complications. If you need to hit a certain weight for something important like a contest/holiday then it needs to be planned well in advance, but setting an arbitrary date is more than likely going to do more long-term harm than good.
Ultimately, being motivated and having both a long term and a short term goal that contributes to said long term goal will increase your consistency in all aspects of life.
Eyeing things up is not acceptable, swaying from macro targets constantly because of lack of will power is not acceptable.
This is also a matter of consistency. How is one meant to make progress when one is eating an extra 250 calories from what they are prescribed due to lazy tracking? (This is easy to consume in just cooking oil alone) That's an extra 1750 calories a week which works out to half a pound of fat per week that could have been burnt just from pure laziness when it comes to tracking. One cannot simply disobey the laws of thermodynamics. Track wrongly for a few weeks and suddenly that half a pound is several pounds, you wonder why you're not making progress, your motivation is down, was it really worth eyeing things up instead of taking the extra 30 seconds to weigh and measure things?
The same goes in reverse for bulking, while some may advocate the eat-everything-in-sight bulk method it's not advisable for health reasons, excess fat gained while bulking is also fat that will need to be burnt at some point. As anyone who has ever cut to a low percentage of body fat knows, the longer you're in a choleric deficit, the more people are going to want to avoid you.
The point is, track everything, to the gram/ml! For the extra 5 minutes a day you're saving yourself a lot of time wasted trying to cut/bulk, http://www.myfitnesspal.com is a great resource for this.
Programming and supplements shall be covered in part 2, if anyone is looking for a program for the New Year please drop by our Facebook page from the link on the side as we would be happy to help.