Tip: 2 Things Every Lifter Must Do to Improve

Some people can't escape the newbie phase. Others get stuck at the intermediate level. Both groups are making the same mistakes. Are you?

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1 Build a Bigger Toolbox

While growing up trying to be a multi-sport athlete, I was exposed to a variety of ideas and coaching styles. This helped me prepare for just about any competitive atmosphere. I had a wealth of experience that allowed me to transition. When I began working at Elite Fitness, I had access to a lot of different coaches with different principles. I didn't always agree with them, but I learned. And when you learn different things, you can store them away for later when you need them. That's how you build your toolbox.

It's easy to get stuck in one way of thinking or one modality. But the bigger your toolbox, the more you have to draw upon when you need to. Let's say you hurt your shoulder and can't squat with a barbell on your back. What are your options?

What if it's snowing and you can't go outside to push the Prowler? How will you adapt? What about being on the road with no access to a gym? How will you plan your training? What about getting older and finding yourself unable to bench press? What's your next choice?

Having a huge toolbox allows you to seamlessly move on without being stuck in old ideas – what I call "honoring ghosts." Remember that you don't have to use everything now, but the more you learn the better you'll be.

2 Be Willing to Adapt and Change Your Approach

What worked once may not work again. It's always tough to watch some middle-aged man try to do what he did when he was 16. While the thought process might be admirable, the reality is that we're not the same people we were before and, likewise, neither is your body.

The easiest way to illustrate this is by bringing up something we've all seen a hundred times. A lifter goes from 180 pounds to 215 pounds using a certain diet and training plan. He remains stuck at 215 pounds and can't figure out why he can't get to 230. The thing is, he's simply a different man at 215 with a different body and what worked before won't work again.

As you change, so must your training, diet, and mind. You can't get anywhere if you don't evolve.