Tip: Progress Stalled? Run This Checklist

No muscle gains? No fat loss? Answer these questions to make sure you have the basics covered.

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Relentless Application of the Basics

Success in training is about relentless application of the basics. Before you look for a complex solution to your training frustrations, honestly reflect on the following questions:

  • Do I have a clearly defined goal?
  • Is my training truly focused on that goal or am I distracting myself with cool but non-essential exercises or techniques?
  • Do I have unrealistic expectations? (Am I trying to be ripped by Tuesday? Am I expecting to gain 40 pounds of muscle in a month?)
  • Am I doing the big, hard, uncomfortable, result-producing exercises?
  • Am I keeping a training journal?
  • Am I getting better at these exercises by regularly adding weight?
  • Am I training consistently?
  • Am I following a program for an appropriate amount of time or am I guilty of program-hopping?
  • Am I consistently monitoring goal-relevant assessments (e.g. measurements)?

Out-Of-Gym Factors

Answer these questions:

  • Is my nutrition on track? Am I keeping a food log?
  • Am I consistently using the right supplements for my goals?
  • Do I get enough sleep?
  • Am I getting sufficient rest? (Is that two-hour post-training game of pick-up basketball killing my muscle gains?)
  • Am I managing my stress effectively and proactively avoiding unnecessary stress?

You've heard this stuff before, but are you consistently doing it? Print off this list and put a check beside each item that might need some improvement. Then, actively address the checks. Many people mistakenly look for a programming solution when they aren't practicing basic training, nutrition, or lifestyle habits.

Andrew Heming is a strength coach, professor, and former Canadian University U-Sport head strength coach. Andrew helps athletes and skinny hardgainers get bigger, faster, and stronger. Follow Andrew Heming on Facebook