My 5 pillars of Fitness
Sometimes people just don’t know how to get started with transforming their body.
Whether it is to gain 10kg of muscle, to increase your bench press by 20kg or run a marathon, these 5 pillars of fitness I will be sharing with you help you get started.
The main point of this blog post is to help you progress. Plain and simple. If you find that you’re not getting the results you want, it’s probably down to a lack in one or several of these factors.
So let’s get into it.
These are my 5 pillars of fitness, starting from the most important.
- Consistency and Effort
This is by far THE most important pillar of all. Without it, you will never ever see any results. I’ve heard people saying that dieting doesn’t work. Or they’ll try a million different diets in the space of a few weeks and say nothing works.
The key to changing your body or becoming stronger, fitter, more muscular, whatever, is consistency.
One week of hard work is not going change anything. You say you’ve stuck to your diet or been going to gym for a month straight and have seen no changes. But what you failed to mention was the multiple midweek cheat days you had, plus the weekend benders you reward yourself with every week for working your butt off at the gym.
Showing up to the gym is pointless if you don’t even work up a sweat. You’re not lifting if all you do is check Instagram and chat with your buddies at the gym.
If you’re not seeing the results you want, 90% of the time it’s because you’re deviating far too often and/ or you’re not trying hard enough.
You need to devote yourself to whatever program you’re following for at least 3 months to see significant change. Of course, you’re allowed cheat days but anything more than 2 a week and you’ll likely be cancelling out your hard work.
This is also massively important. You need to fuel your body with the right foods. Think of your body as a machine. If you fill your body with processed foods, you will feel like crap and you will perform like crap. Simple.
If you’re not gaining muscle, you’re probably not consuming enough protein and/ or calories. If you’re not losing fat, you’re eating too much.
You can’t expect your body to produce muscle from thin air. It needs the energy and building blocks to make the new muscle. If you think of your body as a Ferrari you wouldn’t put crude oil into it, would you? No.
Take the same approach with your body. If you want optimal results, plus just general happiness and well-being, take your food seriously. Eat your damn vegetables.
The principle of specificity dictates that to get optimal results in any given discipline one must train in such a way specific to that your goal. It’s common sense really.
If you want to gain the optimal of amount of muscle, you need to train like a bodybuilder.
If I want to become the fastest 5000m runner then I have to train like an endurance athlete.
If I want to become the world’s strongest man, then I need to train like a strongman.
I make this point because sometimes people want to have it all. A lot of people fancy themselves as powerbuilders, such as myself, whereby they want to be jacked and strong as f*ck.
Can you train for multiple goals simultaneously? Yes, but you won’t get optimal results for any of them.
If you’re powerbuilding, i.e. training for both aesthetics and strength, just know that you won’t simultaneously get optimally strong and jacked.
If you want to get optimal results then you should pursue one goal at a time.
- Rest and recovery
This involves sleep, rest days, and ‘listening’ to your body. People tend to overestimate how much rest the body needs. Of course, people should be getting ample sleep. I think on average people need something around 7-8 hours of sleep a day.
I think, however, most people don’t realise that the body requires only about 2-3 days maximum to fully recover. So, for most of you who do bro-splits, you’re leaving gains on the table. If you train chest only once a week, you’re doing it wrong. In one week, you could have trained chest 2 or, even, 3 times. Hence, you are leaving gains on the table.
‘Listening’ to your body is a bit of an art form. Fatigue is cumulative. You can see it in professional sport all the time. For example, compare the speed at which the Premier League is played at the beginning of the season compared with the end. In the beginning of the season, it’s fast-paced and way more exciting, by the end of the season, it’s noticeably slower.
After long periods of consistent intense training, fatigue builds up sometimes without you realising it. This is when things like deload weeks come into play.
Proper fatigue management really comes with experience i.e. knowing when to take a rest day.
- Form and technique
For me personally this is just as important as consistency and food, but biologically in terms of gains it’s not. However, having said that having proper form and technique is the difference between being injured all the time and being injured irreparably and having a long, healthy happy career in fitness.
Having proper form and technique could be the difference between a good physique and an amazing physique. It could be difference between you squatting 100kg and squatting 120kg.
- Supplementation (optional)
Lastly, supplementation. This is not one of the pillars of fitness because supplementation is completely optional and NOT necessary, regardless of what your favourite bodybuilder or fitspo athlete may say. No, you DON’T need a preworkout. No, BCAAs are NOT essential. In fact, there’s actually NOTHING credible to show that BCAAs do anything. Look it up.
The only supplements I use and would recommend are creatine, caffeine and whatever protein powder you fancy, whether it be whey or a vegan alternative.
Creatine can help give you an extra boost of energy in the gym. It could give you an extra few reps.
Caffeine will wake you up and help you focus, meaning a potentially more intense workout.
Protein powders just give you a more convenient way of hitting your daily protein needs. It’s easier and quicker to down a shake than it is to cook and eat a whole chicken breast. However, you should not be getting all of your protein from protein powders. You still want to be getting 90% of your macros and micros from whole, unprocessed foods. So eat your damn fruits and veggies.
Anyway, that’s it. My 5 pillars of fitness.
If you’re not hitting your fitness goals, go through my 5 pillars of fitness and ask yourself if you’re fulfilling them.
Am I being consistent enough? 3 weeks is not enough to see changes. Try 3 months.
Are you trying hard enough? If you have enough time to send a whole, well-thought out message between sets, you’re not trying hard enough.
Are you eating correctly specific to your goals? Having 3 cheat days does not constitute cutting.
Am I training correctly? I want bigger legs but cycling is not doing anything.
Am I resting enough? Am I resting too much?
How’s my form? I’ve always got lower back pain. Why?
I can’t focus at the gym. Maybe I need a preworkout.
That’s all from me.