When starting out lifting, there are many pitfalls that slow down progress. The fitness industry is full of money grabbers and there are thousands of different diets and supplements being sold to you. Even after several years of lifting, the results you want out of training might not always be the same as the results you are actually getting.
By recognizing how to lift and get better results, you can avoid the mistakes that slow down progress and get a better return on the time investment you put in.
These are 5 key things to do for better lifting results.
1. Workout Consistently
The most important thing for getting better results from lifting is to workout consistently. This is hands down the number one determining factor for wether or not you ultimately achieve what you want from training.
For the best number of days to train per week, check out this post. Regardless of the split you choose, you need to be hitting every muscle twice a week for good results. That means if you are doing push-pull-leg, you need to repeat this split twice every week for optimal gains.
If you are hitting every muscle twice per week and train consistently over time, results will come. Even if other people have better genetics or are able to build muscle quicker, if you stay consistent and workout for longer over time you will eventually achieve a better physique and strength.
2. Have Strength and Physique Goals
The next most important factor for your results from lifting is to have goals that are appealing. If you have a mental image in your head of how you want to look in a year, that image will propel you further than simply training because you feel like you’re obligated to.
Finding the “carrot at the end of the stick” is what’s going to keep lifting weights enjoyable and ultimately rewarding because you will be more attached to the outcome of training.
There are many goals to find for working out. Life generally gets better if you apply yourself to lifting long enough to see the results of your work. A few goals could be hitting a 275 lb bench press, or having a six pack. Whatever it is, as long as it’s something you value that will be achieved by working out, your results will be better.
3. Optimal Frequency and Volume
Following staying consistent and having goals, training at the optimal frequency and volume is going to allow you to get the best yield for the work you put in.
The optimal frequency is twice per week per muscle group but beyond that you have the freedom to choose what split and style of training you do. The key for finding the optimal frequency is to find the balance between weekends and workouts (check out this post for more). By finding the balance, you can construct a workout regimen that is tailored to your life and will last long enough for gains to be realized.
Volume is highly important as well. As you build muscle, either the reps or weight you are lifting needs to increase for continued growth. Adding volume to your workouts will help you keep adding muscle mass without staying at plateaus and not making progress.
4. Eat Intelligently
In order for all these components to work, your diet needs to be intelligently thought out and tracked to ensure you are eating the right amount for the current set of goals you have.
Your food intake should be both planned out and tracked meaning you know how many calories per day you are eating and you are tracking your food to make sure you are consuming that amount. For an example of a grocery list if you’re cutting, check out this post. For how to calculate your maintenance calories (and what they are), check out this post.
The basics of dieting are that you eat in a caloric deficit to lose weight and maintain muscle, you eat in a caloric surplus to build muscle, and you eat at maintenance calories to keep the same weight and maintain your current muscle mass.
All of these phases should be utilized at various times and in intelligent orders so that you can efficiently achieve the best results from lifting weights.
5. Enjoy the Work
Finally, for the best lifting results you need to enjoy the work. It can not be understated how crucial it is for you to enjoy the routine you do at the gym. If you don’t enjoy the work needed to achieve your goals, you will not be consistent, you won’t find balance, and ultimately you’ll be wasting your time by cutting corners and skipping workouts since it’s something you see as a responsibility instead of opportunity.
There are many people confined to wheelchairs who would do a lot for the chance to squat so bear in mind when tempted to skip leg day how lucky you are to be able to use your body and build it into something you’re proud of.
Additional Things To Know
To summarize: workout consistently, lifting is a longterm game and the best rewards are given to those who stand the test of time and work for the months and years it takes to realize their goals. Have goals that are appealing to you and make you want to lift. When you do lift, make sure your routine has been optimized for the right amount of frequency and volume so that you’re hitting progressive overload and making gains.
Eat intelligently. Make sure your lifestyle itself is healthy. Nutrition, sleep, mobility and other components of a healthy life will improve the overall outcome from training. And, enjoy lifting because if you don’t you’re not going to make it very far and you will be very disadvantaged compared to people who appreciate how enjoyable working out can be.