Whether your goal is to lose fat, gain muscle or increase strength there needs to be a few fundamental habits that are installed to maximize results and never hit a plateau.
1. A structured, periodised training program is vital to keep progressing with your physique. Fore more experienced lifters, changing your program every 3-6 sessions (3 weeks), less experienced lifters up to 4 weeks, will prevent any plateaus.
The body has to be challenged, put under new stresses in order for it to change.
Undulating your rep schemes across training phases is the best way to go about this without going into too much detail. A 12 week training phase for hypertrophy may look like this;
Weeks 1-3 - 10-12 reps
Weeks 4-6 – 6-8 reps
Weeks 7-9 – 12- 15 reps
Weeks 9-12 – 7-9 reps
As you can see you are undulating from more volume through the muscles (10-12 reps), moving into more intensification exercises (6-8 reps) then back to an increase of volume again (12-15 reps) and so on. Structuring your program this way leaves no muscle fibre type neglected. Remember the more muscle fibres you can recruit the more muscle you will grow. Hence why drop sets is such a popular formula for bodybuilders.
The same program design applies for fat loss and strength goals.
2. Just as you structure and progress your training program, the same applies for your nutrition.
I look to increase carbs, reduce fat and vise versa to accelerate fat loss and hypertrophy gains. Protein stays quite consistent, however when carbs are increased protein will come down. This all depends upon current body composition, current training, end goals and many more aspects. And, of course this is an after thought for many, Firstly you need to grasp the idea of eating real, nutrient dense foods. Even IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macro) followers will eat single ingredient, what the public class as “healthy” foods 70% of the time.
3. Finally, consistency. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be consistent with everything that will aid your progress. Training, eating, sleep even water intake can enhance results or hinder results.
I have a few rules I like to have all client abide by;
- Never go 3 days in row without training
- 10,000 steps a day minimum
- Protein with every meal
- Your plate should be made up mostly by veg
- 3 litres of water a day minimum
- When losing fat, you don’t have to cut out all of your favourite foods, just eat less of them or replace with lower calorie options