It’s really common for people to spin their wheels for months, even years, without achieving any tangible results or changes to their physique. Optimizing your strength and physique is not just about training hard, but training smart.

I’m a woman of average genetics and average athletic ability but I’ve managed to put on about 20 pounds of muscle in the last 6 years, most of it in the last 2 years once I figured things out. I don’t just look stronger, I am stronger; I recently benched over 190 pounds and I hold the Texas state record for my class.

The secret to getting results in the gym is: it’s not just what you do in the gym, but what you do outside it that matters. You need to:

1. Eat enough calories for your goals

2. Eat enough protein for your goals

3. Apply progressive overload

4. Be consistent

5. Manage recovery

Let me explain each of these, and then I’ll leave you with some next steps.

1. Eat enough calories for your goals

if you’re constantly dieting and calorie restricting, your workouts are going to suck and you’re going to have a hard time building muscle. Similarly, if you eat too much, you’ll have a layer of fat hiding your new muscle.

If you would like to learn how to lose fat and build muscle simultaneously, download my FREE Recomp Guide.

2. Eat enough protein for your goals

Protein is the building block of muscle tissue. I recommend you eat about 1 protein gram per pound of target body weight. Example: If you want to weigh 150 pounds, eat 150 protein grams a day. (Macro grams, not weighted grams.) I actually teach my clients to shoot for 0.8 – 1 protein grams per pound of target body weight  per day, ideally spread over 3-5 meals, based on personal preference.

3. Progressive overload

Our body adjusts to the demands placed on it. In order to continue to build muscle and get stronger, you need to keep pushing yourself. Most people don’t bring enough intensity to the gym and that’s why they look the same year after year.

Progressive overload example: If you’re stalling, you could work out one more day a week (increase frequency), add more weight to the bar and take your reps to near-failure (increase intensity), add in an extra exercise for lagging body parts (increase duration) or start a different training program (change the type of exercises you do).

Your technique matters too; half-reps and bad form lead to half-ass results. Focus on good form and don’t cheat the movement. Train hard, train smart, and you will see and feel a difference.

4. Consistency

Don’t skip days or exercises and jump from program to program. Stick with a new training plan for at least 8 weeks, preferably 12 weeks, before swapping out exercises. As a new lifter, you can make great progress working out 2 to 3x a week. After one year, your newbie gains will begin to slow down and you’ll want to train 3 to 5 days a week in order to continue to make progress.

Do the work and don’t skip exercises. That lift you hate? It could become the lift you love once you start seeing results.

5. Recovery

The amount of training you can do is subject to how well you can recover, so pay attention to the rest of your lifestyle.⁣ Sleep 7-9 hours. Manage stress. Stay hydrated. Walk every day. Don’t overtrain. Consider your gym workouts in the context of other activity and how active you are. If your job is very physical, or you hike or bike or do other activities, then make sure you aren’t overdoing things. You may also want to structure in deloads if you’re training more than 3x a week. Recovery is one of the most underrated factors for middle-aged, busy professionals and parents.

When you train hard, your muscles break down. Rest is necessary to rebuild, recover, and get stronger. There is an optimal amount of training and an optimal amount of recovery for everyone, and that will fluctuate with age, lifting experience, genetics, health, and lifestyle.

I’m benching better than ever now. I’m also working out less than ever: 3-4 workouts a week.⁣

⁣Some people can handle more intensity and volume than others.⁣

I realize now that most of the programs I paid for in the past were far too intense for me. The fact that I couldn’t follow them without falling apart wasn’t my fault.⁣

I just needed to train smarter. ⁣

That might be you too.⁣

Especially if you’re:⁣

👉 Over 40 years old⁣
👉 Have hypothyroidism (like me)⁣

Want a training program customized to your unique lifestyle and goals? Tired of spinning your wheels and not getting results in the gym?⁣

Beginner and intermediate coaching available.⁣

And if you would like to learn more about dropping fat and building muscle, then you’ll want to sign up for my FREE Recomp Guide. It includes a free 6-day mini-course on body recomposition.

Are you tired of not getting results in the gym? Comment down below and we might be able to help you.

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