Is it weight lifted? Or how sore you are the next day?
Your outlook on what a successful workout looks like can play a large role in the long-term success of your training, including progression, strength, muscle development and injury prevention.
First, lets talk about why some of the main determining factors people use to gauge a workouts success may be harming them in the long run.
Weight Moved. Keeping track of your weight and focussing on progressive overload is an extremely useful tool to help make sure you are progressing, BUT it is only a single piece of information and when it is looked at as the primary goal bad things may start to happen. When weight is prioritized over form and execution longevity is going to diminish fast due to injuries. We all know that weight progression is not infinite and having other tangible goals when it comes to training will ensure that you can progressively overload in other ways such as form, execution and even mind to muscle connection.
“No Pain no Gain”. Being sore has become a key factor in determining how hard you train, when in reality being sore all the time is a red flag. If you find that at any given time one part of your body is sore there is a good chance that you need to improve one of the following: Nutrition, Training, or Sleep.
When Nutrition and Training do not line up the body is put in a position where it does not have the necessary nutrients to recover from the imposed demand of training. It is extremely important that what you do in the gym for 1-2 hours a day is complemented by what you do outside the other 22 hours.
So, what if Nutrition and Training is going well but you are still not progressing?
Then there is a good chance that your sleep is suffering. It is not enough to just be in bed for 8 hours, quality of sleep matters. 6 hours of quality sleep will produce far better recovery then 9 hours of restless sleep. Now there is not enough room in this blog post to touch on every single reason sleep is important for growth and recovery but will leave you with this:
A study in 2011 examined how sleep deprivation affected muscle gains and recovery. The study followed individuals who were on a strict sleep schedule over a 2-week period. During this time, one group was allowed 5.5 hours of sleep; another was allowed 8.5 hours per day. All individuals followed a calorie-regulated diet.
What researchers discovered was that the individuals who slept only 5.5 hours had substantially less muscle mass at the end of the study, while those who slept 8.5 hours had increased their muscle mass.
Here are a few factors that I take into consideration when determining the success of my clients and my own workouts:
- Did you feel good. In the end we all workout to feel, move and look better. If you did not feel good training, then it may be time to change things up
- Did movements feel better. Maybe last week that overhead press felt a little bit unstable, and this week you felt more confident with the same weight. That is a win!
- Better range of motion. Progressively increasing active range of motion over time will allow for better results and longevity, any workout where this is increased is a good workout.
- Better connection with your body/muscles. Were you able to control and contract your muscles better? This is one of the best skills you can progress when it comes to progressing in the gym.
Email me today if you would like to set up a free consultation to talk about getting you on the right track to continued progression! firstname.lastname@example.org