Written by Coach Austin Current
Feeling stuck can be one of the most frustrating aspects of working toward your goal physique. You want to build muscle, lose body fat, and get stronger. You’ve done your research, and as far as you’re aware, your nutrition is on point. Where exactly are you going wrong?
In our experience, it could be a multitude of things. In this 5 step assessment, we will have you on your way to assessing and working past the obstacles standing in your way:
- Reflect – what am I currently doing that may or may not be working or is worth my time?
- Prioritize – how can I narrow down that list and make a hierarchy of importance?
- Implement – simply execute the hierarchy of importance with consistency.
- Optimize – tweak and individualize your implementation to best suit your lifestyle.
- Repeat – look back and reflect after a few months and see where you can improve.
Is what I am currently doing working? Well, most likely not well or you wouldn’t be reading this article. You’re stuck, but you don’t understand why. The shitty part of this is there could be many things you are doing very well. The other shitty part is that the one to two things you are messing up are completely derailing your progress. The best way to narrow down where you may be going wrong is to audit your current approach: training, nutrition, lifestyle, etc.
Now, this can be flawed if you are not honest with yourself. This is like telling your coach that you have been hitting your macros on the nose for the past 6 weeks, but in reality, you have been eating like a snot-nosed nine-year-old at their best friend’s birthday party.
Be honest with yourself. If you cannot be honest with yourself about where you may be going wrong, the other 4 steps we are going to move through are pointless. Sometimes it is obvious. Sometimes you may have to do some digging.
Action Plan: Sit down and start writing out what you are currently implementing. It may look something like this:
- I am currently tracking my calorie intake, but typically on the weekends I go out and eat bar food and have a handful of drinks.
- I am currently strength training 1-2x per week.
- I am currently attending 4-5 cardio-based cycle classes each week.
- I am active during the day by getting up from my desk and walking around my office.
From this list, you can start to see what you are currently implementing and where that may be able to be improved.
Prioritization is all about narrowing down and creating a hierarchy of importance. In the previous section, I listed out bullet points of things you are currently implementing. From these bullet points, there are some glaring problem areas that we can start to address and improve.
First, we can address your lack of consistency heading into the weekend. One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to improve their body composition is forgetting that the weekend still counts. You can bust your ass every day of the week and blow it all by eating and drinking like an asshole on the weekend. I know it sucks, but that doesn’t make it any less true. So, that would be the first thing that you can address. Give more effort toward staying on track over the weekend. The first couple of weekends are the toughest, but once you see the results start taking shape it gets much easier to commit.
Second, you could alter the ratio of strength training to cardio sessions. Strength training has shown to be a great tool for helping improve body composition. You are not only being active, but you are also aiding in the maintenance of current muscle tissue and working toward building new muscle tissue. We have seen very positive results with our clients going to the gym an average of 4-5 times per week. If you are a sedentary individual, we may start you out with some low-intensity cardio-based work to help increase your daily activity and improve aerobic health.
This doesn’t mean other things are not important, but out of the laundry list of things that you could adjust and prioritize, these two above would be what we’d recommend.
Execute the hierarchy of importance, consistently. This step seems the simplest. Well, it’s not. It happens to be the toughest of all of the steps. It’s the toughest because we are not changing anything. We are simply executing upon what we’ve prioritized: staying on track over the weekend and increasing the number of strength training sessions per week. It’s that simple.
Optimizing your approach takes reflection. You need to be able to reflect on when and where things have been going wrong with your priorities. You’ve improved, but you know you are not at your best.
This step is heavily individual. Each person is going to have their own way of improving upon their priorities. Some individuals will need to create more discipline while others need to do a better job with time management. Regardless of how you need to optimize, there are always ways to improve upon what you are currently implementing.
By now, I hope you’ve improved and worked past the obstacle that has been standing in the way of your goals. If not, repeat steps 1-4. Each repetition of this assessment builds on the last. Over time, you will be a pro at working past obstacles standing in your way.
As I said in the beginning, feeling stuck can be one of the most frustrating aspects of working toward your goal physique. We recommend running through this 5 step assessment and seeing if you can find your way around the obstacle(s) standing in your way!
Reflect. Prioritize. Implement. Optimize. Repeat
Written by Coach Austin Current, BSc, CSCS, IFBB, Pn1