The entertainment industry is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. People like to be entertained through music, film, live theatre and a host of other events. All tailored towards fulfilling the need to be taken away to a different world where possibilities are infinite and the stories told leave us to forget about our own for an hour or two. The time we allow ourselves to transform into observers leaves us intrigued, motivated and more insightful to what is out there and what could be out there for us as well. As much as we need this time of entertainment, there is a time when we don’t; and that is in the gym.
Unfortunately, the need to be entertained all the time has filtered its way into the gym where hard work, persistence, consistency and true grit are the only factors that you should rely on to provide you with that much-needed entertainment piece but it will come via your results and not instant gratification. You shouldn’t be continuously looking for a new stimulus unless that is what you need to invoke new strength and growth.
A solid plan for the gym is fluid yet at the same time consistent. Knowing what to keep doing and when to change will be key. Here are a few items of thought to consider as you make your way through your training year to help you figure out your best course of action.
Persistency in your Training
The definition of persistence is “the quality of determination to achieve something with purpose”. When you apply that definition to your training, what it amounts to is that you should be giving what you have set out to accomplish everything you’ve got before you move onto something else. That translates into building a solid training program and then sticking to the exercises and the method of which you’ll train (Max-OT preferred of course) until you can no longer squeeze any further results or gains out of it. For example, if the bench press is one of your exercises for chest day, then you perform the bench press week after week after week after week until you feel as though there is absolutely nothing else you can get out of that exercise for the time being. You simply program your mind to settle in with the fact that you and the exercises on your plan are going to get to know each other very well before you move on. Does that sound boring to you? If it does, then your need for instant entertainment in the gym is superseding the long term entertainment you’ll eventually receive through your results and if that is the case, then you need to change your thought process.
Identifying the Need for Change
There will be times, despite your best intentions, when the workouts that you design just don’t meet the criteria for success. Your intentions, of course, are good, however for whatever the reason, your body just won’t respond the way you thought it would. How do you know when you reach this point? Well, through persistence and time, it will become glaringly obvious that what you are doing just isn’t working; that’s when you introduce change. If on a weekly basis you are always switching things up, how do you know for sure what’s working and what’s not? Gains in strength from week to week within the same exercises is probably one of the best ways to gauge your improvement. If you’re getting stronger and the weights you use are increasing with each training session, why would you want to veer off that course and go and do something else? However, if your return on effort is getting you nowhere and you’ve given it a fair chance through time and effort and still nothing, then you switch that exercise out for a different one but leave everything else that is working the same. Small changes provide big results so remember that the next time you think you need a complete overhaul on what you’re doing. You only make changes when you’ve given it all you’ve got yet nothing positive occurs.
Making Sense of it All
You have to be a discerning bodybuilder if you want to make progress year after year. You must continuously evaluate your efforts and the outcome of those efforts on a weekly and monthly basis. You have to reflect upon the strategies you’ve put in place, the exercises you’ve selected and then dissect the finished product after each workout. Yes, that sounds like it’s a lot of work after you’ve done all the hard work in the gym and that’s because it is. Things just don’t end once you pack up your gym bag and go home. You should always be thinking about what you’re doing, always looking for ways to improve within a structured and pre-determined plan and consistently revisit the criteria for success that is attached to all of this to ensure you’re headed in the right direction. If you’ve ever looked around your gym and have wondered how these people keep getting bigger and stronger week after week, this is how it’s done. Lots of thought, effort, and strategy has gone into what you see in front of you.
I understand that the gym doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone. You might use it as a reprieve from the stresses of your life, you might use it as a time for being social, it might be a place where you can turn your brain off and just get a good sweat going or it could be a place of work for you. Whatever the case may be, the foundation of why you’re there should always be for continued improvement. You’re there to be better than you were the day before and subsequently, that will lead you to a longer and healthier life. If you’re hardcore about it, then you’ll adhere to the advice given above and will have put it all together by the next time I see you at the gym which will be all the entertainment I’ll need.