Consistency: The Cornerstone Of Muscle And Strength Building Progress

Are you missing workouts?

To build muscle and strength you must remain consistent. Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many lifters miss multiple workouts a month (for many, more like multiple workouts each week).

There is no point in setting up a 4 to 5 day per week training split if you are so busy you can’t stick to it. Along the same lines, if your daily training is taking 2 hours and zapping you of motivation to train the next day, you may want to rethink your approach.

The number one reason that successful lifters are successful is because they love lifting. They rarely miss workouts because they love their gym time.

If you are missing more than a few planned workouts per year something is broken. Understand that I am not telling you that deloads and weeks off are a bad thing.

Far from it.

If someone isn’t seeing results, the first question I ask is:

Are you training consistently?

If not, nothing else really matters. You can be following the greatest training advice in the world, but if you keep missing workouts you are simply wasting your time.

You might think that the vast majority of forum posters and Internet gym rats rarely miss workouts, and that this point is a minor one. Not so. I have been around the lifting game for over 27 years, and have moderated several major muscle and strength building forums.

During these years I have seen plenty of guys come and go. It’s not uncommon to see someone maintain motivation for 6-8 months and then stop attending the gym for whatever reason.

Of course you also have the lifters who are training for the wrong reasons – usually expecting fast results – who start fast but fade just as quickly.

Excuses usually mount, and go something like this:

  • “Work was hectic today. Very tired. Will make up for it tomorrow.”
  • “Forgot to take my meals into work. Day fell apart. Too weak to workout today.”
  • “Too stressed to workout.”
  • “Had an off workout. Depressed. Going to take an off week and rethink my workout.”
  • “My lower back feels off. Need some time off. Going to try a different program starting next week and reduce assistance work.”

It’s always something. Excuses, excuses, excuses. The reason given for missing a single workout usually seems valid, but over time a bad pattern starts to develop.

It’s always something.

If you are missing workouts and making excuses, something has to change. If you are trying to hit the gym 5 days a week, maybe try 3 or 4 instead. If you’re overkilling the number of sets you are using – and it’s impacting your motivation – then do fewer sets each day.

Stop rushing to deload or find a new workout every time you have bad days. Off days are part of the journey. Just because you are incapable of being superhuman each day doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.

Deload when you are extremely fatigued and overworked, or when nagging injuries are beating you down. Plan weeks off. It’s ok to take a week off every 8 to 12 weeks just to refresh your mind and repair your body.

Beyond this, frequently missed workouts should be rare. While I could spend pages and pages addressing every possible excuse it would only waste your time.

If you’re missing workouts, look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are prepared to get serious.

Steve Shaw
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