Strength training is f#$%ing hard. Period. It takes copious amounts of time, effort, and a burning desire to keep getting better (at picking things up and putting them down). You must continuously challenge yourself and as you raise the bar you must continue to evolve.
Some days are better than others and once you move past the beginner stages of strength you will quickly find that it gets more difficult to continue making progress and hitting PRs (personal records) aka 'making dem gainz'. Progress is not linear and that can be frustrating. I get it, trust me.
But despite the difficulty there's something utterly satisfying about lifting just a little more than you've ever done before. Whether you increase from an 8kg to a 12kg kettlebell press or just deadlift 5 more pounds than you did last week...that accomplishment is yours, you've earned it. Enjoy that shit!
To help you on your journey, here are 3 pro tips on how to keep smashing strength PRs...
1 - Prioritize Strength
As epic strength coach and philosopher Dan John always says, "The goal is to keep the goal, the goal." All to often I find that people focus on too many goals at once. They combine the goals of fat loss, movement, being strong AF, marathoning, and being America's next Ninja Warrior all at the same time. As a result they hit a plateau in all areas.
The fix: Avoid having goal ADD and do everything in your power to get it done! If your goal is to get stronger overall or at any one particular lift your focus should be just that. Prioritize the lift you want to get stronger at earlier in your training program when you are fresh. Also, focus on being mindful of how you are performing the lift. Be present.
2 - EAT
If you want you get stronger you must EAT! There is no ifs, ands or buts about this one. If you're not consuming adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats your body will not be recovering from each training session or building adequate strength and muscle. I can't stress enough how important nutrition is to getting stronger just as much as it is to burning fat and maintaining a healthy body weight. You can't out train a poor diet works in this instance as well!
- Consume 40-80 grams of carbs circa your training sessions to aid in recovery. My go-to is white rice and occasionally the tasty treat (insert tasty treat here). You don't need to go overboard on carbs every day but it is important when you crush your workouts.
- Consume 20-40 grams of protein circa your training session to aid in building muscle. Any good protein source is okay here depending on your dietary preferences. Personally, I'm a huge proponent of whey protein. It's super easy to prepare, digests easily, and is more bioavailable to your body. Basically, that means a greater percentage of what is digested gets used.
- Get adequate calories. A good litmus test is if you find you're not recovering well or making progress you may be eating too few calories. This is where you get to experiment to see what works for you!
3 - Be Patient
Good things come to those who wait and all that jazz. Nothing happens overnight and for strength training this is especially true when you have a whole plethora of other things going on in your life that drain you. Stress from work, relationships, other workouts, alcohol, kids, and general 'life stuff' are all cumulative.
The fix: Consistency is king and if you stick with your strength training long enough and are patient, I promise you will be handsomely rewarded with mountains of PRs. Nothing works better than patience and consistency. You will enter the PR city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.
In conclusion, showing up is the easy part but you have to put in the work if you want to experience glorious gains in your strength and fitness. If your goal is to get stronger you want to make it a priority to learn how to, well, get stronger and focus there. What you eat matters so don't neglect what you're doing outside of the gym as well.
Now go hit some PRs and let us know how you're doing!