Get Back on the Muscle Gains Train!

Get Back on the Muscle Gains Train!

You've fallen off the #gainztrain.

What happened? You were so focused at one point; hitting the gym consistently, eating good food, and you were steadily seeing those #gainz come through.

But then you drifted.

One missed workout, soon turned into one workout a week. Meal prep was no longer a priority. And that bravado you once had going into the gym is nowhere to be found.

It's hard to pinpoint this elusive transition and excavate how it happened. Looking at your journey through this short story might help...

Related: The Stress-Free Approach To Training

Imagine you loaded up your car for a road trip. You have the exact road-map, packed all the food you'd need, got a tune up, made sure air pressure in your tires were par, and got the car washed. You were all set to go.

About halfway into your trip, you decide to pull over and park.

But this wasn't just a short break to hit the can. You decide to post up, and set up shop here forever. For no reason you've cut your journey short, even though you had a fully functioning vehicle that could get you to your original end destination.

Have you done this along your iron game journey? Have you pulled off to the side and parked even though you have a fully functioning vehicle that can get you to your end destination?

If this sounds like you, don't despair. There's hope. By utilizing these 3 tips on how to get back into the game, you'll have a revitalized outlook on training that will re-ignite that fire you once had in the gym.

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All Aboard the Gains Train!

1. Train, Don't Exercise

People who exercise, don't train. The difference between exercise and training? Training gives you purpose. Exercising makes you sweat.

When you exercise it's incredibly easy to show up and punch the clock with your workouts. Going through the motions and pretending to do work.

"You showed up," is your calling card and satisfaction when you exercise. There's no direction at all. No plan.

Related: 50 Ways to Not SUCK at Muscle Building

If you need a visual of the exerciser, it's the one who shows up and does a few stability ball movements, them some crunches on the ab machine, followed by a 7 minute phone call, a water-break and then a set of triceps pull downs to wrap things up.

This kind of lackluster exercising continues for the exerciser. Aimless. Boring.

Muscle GainsDon't just exercise... Hit the gym with a purpose!

But despite the non-existent results from this approach, they continue to do what they've always done, and consequently look and feel exactly the same way they did 2 years ago: Fat (or skinny fat) and frustrated.

Someone who trains is the complete opposite. Purpose and conviction bleeds from their pores. You can instantly spot someone in the gym who is training.

For this group, the discipline of training is food for their soul. They have a plan for everything; for the weight room, for the kitchen, and for supplements.

The people who train take responsibility for their progress. They test things out. If it doesn't work they move on. They know that blaming everything and everyone but their lack of intelligent effort keeps them weak and hinders their physical and mental progress.

When they step into the gym, they're there to #dowork. People who train give programs and diets enough time to transpire. They don't hop around.

Pulling over and parking along the journey isn't an option.

People who train have goals they want to hit. If you want to get back into the game and make some noise, you've got to have a goal.

Getting to 6% body-fat in 16 weeks. Squatting 400 pounds by the end of summer. Whatever. It doesn't matter what it is. Just please TRAIN FOR SOMETHING.

2. Leverage Your Willpower

Roy Baumeister who has invested his career into studying self-control, did an interesting study in 1998. They invited subjects into a room and were told they were going to do a taste perception test. The subjects were intentionally fasted and hadn't anything to eat for several hours.

The researchers then brought in a large plate of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. They also brought out a plate of radishes.

Half of the subjects were invited to eat at least two or three cookies, but no radishes. The other half were instructed to eat at least two or three radishes, but no cookies.

None of the rules were broken from either subject party. After 5 minutes the researchers came in and asked all of the subjects to complete a puzzle, which was rigged so it was impossible to complete.
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The researchers wanted to know how long each subject would persist at solving the problem before throwing in the towel and giving up. This is where it starts to get interesting. The chocolate chip eaters persisted for an average of nineteen minutes, compared to eight minutes for the radish eaters.

Baumeister and his team theorized that the radish eaters had tapped into their reservoir of willpower by resisting the chocolate chip cookies which left them with less mental energy to persist on the puzzle. Baumeister goes on to say that we all have on reservoir of will and discipline, and it gets depleted any time a conscious act of decision is made.

Every time you have a desire to do something that conflicts with social norms or your goals (pass on the pizza, skip on the booze, get to bed early, avoid the office doughnuts) your willpower overrides that desire and keeps you on track. By doing so, your willpower supply gets depleted with each decision.

At the end of the day, when you've been slammed with tons of decisions, it can be nearly impossible to decide to go to the gym since you're willpower reservoir is running on low or on empty. Choosing to have a good meal or meal prep is not even considered when Chinese take-out can give you a box of fatty yumminess in two minutes.

Your willpower is a limited resource.

No matter how many hacking articles are written on lifting and eating well, they both require willpower. If you struggle with getting to the gym and or meal prepping in the evening after work, consider moving these tasks to the first thing in the morning or mid-day on a lunch break.

3. Don't Wait for Passion to Get Started

The root word of passion is found in the Latin word "passion" which means "to suffer."
Today, we've thwarted the word passion into something that should be easily obtained. We hear things like "follow your passion" and automatically assume we can download it like an app for $2.99 on our mobile phones.

It doesn't exactly work that way. Nobody who is passionate about their work or art, was passionate when they first started.

The lifter doesn't like being weak when he first picks up the barbell.

The writer is appalled with his work when he first writes.

The musician is embarrassed with the sounds she produces when she first starts.

The athlete is humbled by his lack of skill when they first step onto the court.

But after years of deliberate practice, they become passionate about their craft. They've suffered long enough to fall in love with the work itself.

However, some people sit and wait for a golden unicorn to appear to bless them with passion. If this is you, it's time to start following your effort and stop waiting for passion.
Fit Couple
If you struggle with getting to the gym and or meal prepping in the evening after work, consider moving these tasks to the first thing in the morning or mid-day on a lunch break.

Wrapping Up

The easiest way to do this is to set a daily routine. Look at your schedule and set appointments to hit the gym and to pencil in your meal prep. You've got to internalize this schedule as non-negotiable.

In an article published by The Guardian it says, "If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work (in your case when and where to go to the gym/meal prep), you'll impede your capacity to do the work."

By having a daily routine that decreases the amount of decisions you have to make about your training and eating, you automatically position yourself to follow through at a much higher rate.

In other words, if you're serious about getting back on the #gainztrain, you need to stop waiting for passion and inspiration to hit you over the head and simply set a daily routine for doing work on a consistent basis.
1) "Rise and Shine: the Daily Routines of History's Most Creative Minds | Science | The Guardian."The Guardian. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2015.
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