Consistency - The Most Important Aspect
What is it? Do you have it?
The most important aspect of training is very simple. It's not the amount of weight you do. It's not the sets and reps that you do. It's not the program you're on. It doesn't even matter if your coach is the best or just average. The most important part of training is your consistency. This applies for both training and nutrition - and just like all the lessons we learn in the weight room, the importance of consistency translates to our life outside of the gym as well. The winning formula is as follows - consistent, hard work over a long period of time.
Long Term Consistency > Short Term Intensity
What do I mean by this? It means that the person who goes to the gym twice a week for a whole year is going to be in a better position than the person who goes every single day for 1 month. The first person is going to be able to stick with it while the second person will burn out very quickly.
As a coach, I always recommend my clients to take on what is realistic for them. If 2 days a week is the most realistic for them, so be it. 2 days is better than none. If a client can train 4 days a week, that's amazing too. My point is that 4 days is not inherently better than 2 days. The best option is the most realistic one. Most of my clients only train 2 days a week. Some train 3 days while only a few clients train 4 days a week. They all make gains - as long as they stay consistent.
What I've noticed with my own training and my clients' training is that consistency is king. It is the single most important factor in making progress. I have clients who only train twice a week but they have been coming week in and week out for the last 2 years. I have clients who train with me 3 or 4 times a week but they stop training after 2 months. Obviously the ones who have stayed consistent in the long run look and feel better than the ones who started strong but dropped off soon after.
Training Age - What is it and what does it mean?
The term training age basically means how long you've been training. For my clients who have been training 2 years, their training age is 2 years. What happens when you train consistently for a long period of time is that you build an amazing foundation of strength, movement ability and self-awareness. Paired with a strong awareness of nutrition, you become a rockstar. This is one of the beautiful things about strength training and proper nutrition. We become a product of our hard work. This is not something anybody can take away from us. No one. It is in us now. We literally become stronger, better and healthier versions of ourselves.
What this really means is that you don't really have to stress about eating too much over the holidays, getting into shape for the summer or becoming 'wedding-ready'. It is much easier to stay in shape than to get into shape. The reason I bring up the holidays, beach-season and wedding-season is because these things are most likely a part of our lives. How this relates to training age is as follows - if you have built up a solid 50 weeks of training (that's a year of training) without taking an extended break, a few holiday potlucks are not going to do anything to you - at all. If you have 50 weeks of training under your belt, 2 weeks of vacationing and not training as hard will not do much to you. This is why consistency is so important. Now imagine if you have 5 years of training under your belt. Will the holidays touch you at all? Not likely. Will you stress about all of the food you're going to eat? Probably not. Will a week of sitting on the beach do anything to you? Not much. BUT if you only have 4 weeks of consistent training under your belt, a week of vacation is going to be rough because you don't have much of a foundation yet. If you only have 4 weeks consistent training under your belt and you take 2 weeks off to vacation, you're basically back to square one - unfortunately.
Strength training, nutrition, fitness, health - all of these things are lifelong endeavours. Nobody out there got into amazing shape, stopped working hard and stayed in shape. That's not possible. This is a lifelong commitment to be the best version of yourself. This isn't a 4 week training program or a 30-day diet. This is for life. So whatever it is you want, whether you have specific goals for the gym or life goals outside of the gym, put your head down, stay the course, work hard as hell and be insanely consistent.
But...is that really all there is to it?
The answer nobody wants to hear - yes, that's all there is to it. Want to feel and look better? Want to be healthier? Want to become the best version of yourself? Be consistent. Be consistent with your nutrition. Be consistent with your training. Always remember, 3 weeks of lifting weights never made anybody strong just as eating well for one day never made anybody lose fat. These things take time. Lots of time. Make a plan, execute on your plan and stick to it. In one year, you'll thank yourself. Or you'll look and feel the same. The choice is yours.