Posted on 03 Feb 2014
5 min read
To the bros out there who just joined the lifting game this year, welcome to the brotherhood.
You’ve started your journey into the iron and no doubt you’ve already been met with looks of derision as you’ve unknowingly broken one of the sacred rules of the gym.
People have passed you off as a ‘New Year part-timer’ but you’ve stuck at it.
Good for you.
I am not someone who loathes the deluge of fresh recruits joining the gym.
The more people lifting heavy shit and living healthier, fitter lives the better.
So I’m here to make sure you stay in the game.
But listen up – the honeymoon is over!
A huge number of people reduce their hours in the gym or drop out all together after their first month, so I’m here to make sure you keep coming back for more punishment.
Rather than trot out endless, ridiculous and hyperbolic motivational quotes, below are a few reasons why you might be getting disheartened with gym life and what you can do to get your hands back on a barbell.
Many newcomers to the gym will probably have picked up any one of a number of muscle rags or fitness magazines, seen some Goliath chiseled out of marble, and, inside, a double page spread of his latest training split and how you can achieve the impossible in just six weeks.
Well, sorry to be a the bearer of bad news but this – and any articles like this – are, to put it frankly, bullshit.
People work long and hard for years to get to the stage where they have an incredible physique.
They have coaches, nutritional advice, and all kinds of other support systems available to help them to reach their goals.
To expect someone with little to no experience to jump in to as intense a training regime as they are currently doing is actually dangerous.
But just because you haven’t got abs of steel or muscles like Arnold in one month doesn’t mean you should give in.
Take a step back and be realistic.
Be consistent with your training and nutrition and you will start to see results.
This point is inspired by a consultation I had with a client recently and it ties to the point above.
A completely untrained individual came to me saying he wanted to start bodybuilding using this six day split he read about with all these different exercises and more sets than I wanted to count.
He was raring to go, which is great, but without direction all that energy was going to be wasted spinning his wheels on a less than optimum program.
If you are a complete beginner, forget splits and chest day and all that stuff.
Focus on doing the big stuff right first.
How can you expect to do a range of squat or deadlift variations if you can’t do a full range of motion body weight squat first?
You can do 20 sets of chest exercises if you like, but if six sets will be enough to start adaptations first, why do so many more?
After all we will all hit plateaus and if you’re already training six days a week how are you going to progress to break through it?
Start training twice a day?
Not even most top athletes do that.
Fill your training with big compound lifts, forget body part splits, focus on getting your strength up and the size will come.
So you decide to dust off the gym membership, and this time you’re serious.
To get you kickstarted you’ve gone and spent over £150 on supplements.
After all, that’s what the pros take right?
You’ve got your whey protein, amino acids, pre-workout, some creatine, and even a testosterone booster.
This is going to be awesome!
But after one month you don’t look like the freak on the packaging.
Well first off, if you joined the gym but carried on eating Maccies every other meal and drowning in a sea of Madras sauce for the others you shouldn’t be expecting to look like Rob Riches in a matter of weeks.
Supplements are just that, they are supposed to go along with a healthy diet.
Look at the big picture first and get your food intake in check.
Then, and only then, should you start adding supplements to fill in the gaps.
The most neglected supplement is, in my opinion, a good quality fish/omega 3 oil.
Whether it’s losing weight or gaining muscle, the anti-inflammatory properties of this are a must, and almost everyone has a slight deficiency in their diet.
To reiterate, get your diet in check and then be prepared to reap some great results.
This one is pretty simple.
If you joined the gym and just said to yourself “I want to build some muscle” or “I want a six pack” or “I want to lose weight” then your chances of reaching your goal are significantly decreased.
This is because your goal is too vague.
It’s easy to call up Domino’s Pizza or throw a tonne of Ben and Jerry’s into you trolley because you’ll start the diet next week.
For sure this time.
Try putting some numbers into your goal.
For example:”I want to gain 3kg of muscle in 3 months” or “I want to lose 5kg of fat by March”.
You’ll notice these goals are not ridiculous either.
Make them achievable and reward yourself when you hit that goal and push on for the next one.
Get your body statistics analysed and measured by someone who knows what they are doing so you can really see what’s going on and get updates regularly.
That way you will constantly be motivated to get back in the gym and into the kitchen next week.
Well my new brothers and sisters, there we have it.
Welcome to the club.!
I hope the iron sinks into your veins and drives you on to be awesome like so many people I know.
Don’t be disheartened when it doesn’t happen overnight, just keep sweating and keep lifting.
If you’re a new lifter and you’ve got any tips for other newbies leave a comment below, or if you’re a journeyman lifter with some words of wisdom let us know.