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The basics, I love the basics.

We tend to belittle the basics because, well, they are simple. But just because something is simple doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.

When it comes to a better physique or even performance in the gym, we need to focus on the basics first.

Nutrition

When we first start any fitness endeavor we need to think about how we are going to build ourselves into the person to execute our training. If you have read my other articles, you know about a little something called “specificity.” We need to apply this same concept to our nutrition. We should be eating in a specific way to support our training & goals.

When we are working on gaining muscle mass, we eat in a caloric surplus with sufficient protein to support anabolic muscle growth.

When we are working on fat loss, we eat in a caloric deficit with sufficient protein to support muscle sparring BUT we cut carbs or fats to stay in aforementioned caloric restriction.

These are just a few nutrition basics that we should be thinking about when training long term.

Training

“Week in, week out, you should be making progress…”

As mentioned above, specificity is important when mapping to your goals. Many people ask me what exercises they should do. It’s a great question but what are your goals? This is how you build your program, by asking yourself the correct questions. If you are a bodybuilder, you will train as a bodybuilder does. You will focus mainly on hypertrophy, hyperplasia(*cough steroids cough*) and a vigilant focus on mind muscle connection.

If you are a powerlifter, you will study people like Boris Sheiko. You will work on your skill in moving the most amount of weight as possible. In powerlifting you have to focus on efficiency via motor engram, which means you etch the squat, bench & deadlift(competition lifts) so well into your nervous system that they become second nature.

Although the two iron genres work toward different goals, they have to follow the same basic principle of progressive overload. Week in, week out, you should be making progress, no matter how small.

Sleep

Sleep is essential in order for us to achieve our dream physique. It seems as if it is a cultural norm these days to forego sleep in lieu of the never ending “grind” of the 21st century. This is wrong. If we do not getting the requisite amount of sleep for our bodies, our nutrition and training will be all for naught.

We must prioritize sleep for a better, healthier physique.

Get as much sleep as you need. Whether it is 6, 7, or 8 hours of sleep; even 10 hours. It will be worth it in the long run.

Sleep regulates our hormones. It also helps clear out the “gunk” left over from the day to day processes of living. Without this “clearing” of gunk, we operate at sub-optimal levels. Operating at sub-optimal levels means we won’t get to engage our program as written to elicit the proper stimulus needed to recover and adapt to.

This is one cycle of interconnected factors, sleep, nutrition, training that effect one another.

Stress management

Stress management is important. Stress effects the way we sleep, train and even the way we digest our food. Without managing stress, we succumb to over catabolization of muscle tissue. Stress also leads to the slowing of the metabolism which effects our physique in a negative way.

Here are some ways to manage stress:

These are just six ways to manage stress. You can come up with many more ways that helps to reduce your stress levels.

It’s all up to you but you must find a way.

I love talking about the basics because of how accessible it is to everyone.

We may not have access to expensive coaching and supplements but we do have access to the basics.

Proper training using the principle of progressive overload, nutrition mapping to our goals, proper sleep and stress management are FREE, basic ways to achieve the goal physique of your dreams.

Peace.

-Anthony Boyd

P.S.

Be sure to check out my best articles on the basics of strength training below.

Or if you’re absolutely new to strength training and you’re lost:

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