All the Small Things
I firmly believe that it is all of the small things (not the Blink 182 song) that add up to the biggest improvements in the gym. Small increases in weight and/or repetitions will add up to big and steady improvements over the long term. In this respect, think of training as a marathon not a sprint. However, it is not just the work in the gym that helps a trainee progress, but simple choices made every day that can help with recovery and add up to big gains. Remember, the training is the stimulus, the recovery is the adaptation. If you do not recover, you will not make progress. Here is a list of my favorite small things that can add up to big gains in the gym.
1. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
2. After you wake up from your 8 or 9 hour slumber, eat a great breakfast. Omega-3 eggs and real oatmeal mixed w/ frozen wild blueberries is my staple.
3. I have said this on every single post I have ever put up on this site and I will continue to reiterate it…take fish oil. Take more than it says on the bottle. There is a laundry list of health benefits including joint health, cardiovascular health, increases in HDL (good cholesterol), and lowering serum triglycerides. What the hell else do you need to know?
4. Drink a lot of water throughout the day even when you are not thirsty.
5. Every time you eat, eat protein. Quality proteins include red meat, poultry, fish, some dairy, and quality protein powders. Just for the record, beans are legumes and are a great source of carbohydrates (mostly fiber) but not a great source of protein. Nuts are fats and contain some fiber and some protein but have a much greater percentage of calories from fat than protein.
6. Make your best effort to eliminate and/or reduce stress in your life. Take a nap, listen to music, sit by yourself without listening to or being subjected to the useless he said she said crap that spews from peoples pieholes.