I often get asked for training advice from young men in their early 20s or late teens. Although there is much more I am looking to achieve in terms of my fitness goals, I am at a level where I feel I have a lot of experience and knowledge that I can offer to others. I started lifting myself in my late teens so I feel like I can relate to many of these young athletes. Although I have been studying and researching all things training related for the past 10 years, I probably have learned the most through plain old trial and error. Although this has lengthened the amount of time it has taken me to achieve many of my goals in the beginning, it has also allowed me to share my findings with others. This is the main reason many of my clients achieve the same landmarks that I have in the past, but in about half the amount of time. Here is a list of the best advice I can give to young beginning lifters who come to me for advice.
1.) Regulate your partying – If you really want to take lifting seriously, you have to design an all-encompassing plan that takes into consideration partying. Most people know the effects alcohol has on sleeping/rest and protein synthesis. If you don’t, just Google it. Let’s just say that to optimize results, sleep and rest are crucial for protein synthesis. It was not until I seriously starting regulating when I had some drinks that my strength results really started to skyrocket. This can be as simple as going from drinking every weekend to just drinking on your deload week.
2.) Get on a consistent training program that has you setting records every time you are in the gym – From my experience rep schemes like 5×5 or 8×3 that have no real built in progression will only give you strength and size gains for a relatively short period of time. You must begin a program that has built in progressions, and a scheme that has you hitting records (either max effort, rep effort, or dynamic effort records) as often as possible. Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 is an excellent program to start with, however I believe my 12 Week Strength and Hypertrophy Program is the best program available to get you hitting personal records from all angles on a consistent basis. (Information on 12 Week Strength and Hypertrophy Program is available on www.CampoTrained.com.)
3.) Limit calorie-burning activities that have nothing to do with your goals – Like many young men, I love sports, and playing sports. However, my personal goals started to fall more with strength and size gains. Playing basketball a couple times a week for a few hours can severely take away from your gym goals. Again, it all comes down to planning and priorities. I would play basketball for 3 hours on Saturday, and then wonder why I had a crappy deadlifting day on Sunday. It wasn’t until I started limiting these energy burning activities that I really started to pack on some muscle. I still play basketball from time to time, but I know that the most important thing to me is my gym results. I prioritize, and plan accordingly to make sure I am always getting the best possible effort in the gym. Limiting these repetitive sports like basketball has also kept me healthier and less prone to injury.