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For the life-time time trainee the ever-present question is, how can I keep making progress? The following keys to continuous
gains can help you set goals and keep making improvements year after year.
Stay away from movements that are uncomfortable for you. Especially those that cause joint or lower-back pain or that aren't safe. If you're injured, you can't train, and you definitely won't progress.
Strive for periods of small but meaningful gains followed by maintenance periods. No one has yet discovered a system for producing perpetual gains. For example, if you can make a small gain of 4 percent per year for four years, your 300-pound squat will increase to 350.
Introduce variety. Change exercises occasionally, and use some plan for varying your training volume and intensity. You won't gain if you're bored or stale.
Train hard when you feel recovered from your last workout. Don't train hard when you're obviously not recovered or you're tired or sick. If that's the case, just rest.
Reduce your training to the minimum required to promote strength, muscle mass, cardiovascular fitness and health. If your total training time exceeds six hours a week, you're probably training too much. In fact, three to five hours a week may be more than sufficient.
Decide what your goals are and train accordingly. If you want great strength and muscle mass, put most of your efforts into weight training while doing just enough cardiovascular training to maintain fitness. Likewise, if you want to be a great endurance athlete, put your best, efforts into cardiovascular training and use weight training as an adjunct to your program. If you want a balance between strength and endurance, put equal effort into both kinds of training. You can't progress if your program doesn't fit your goals.
Pick only one or two times per year to reach a peak for your chosen activity and goals. By definition, no one can maintain peak condition for many months. Attempting to do so undermines progress.
Keep your program challenging and enjoyable. As much as possible, shape your workouts-the details of how, when and where you train-to suit yourself. You can only make progress if you continue to tam, and you won't make progress if you miss workouts because you'd rather be doing something else.
Use perseverance and effort to get through plateaus and down periods. Life is filled with peaks and valleys, and the real test is how you handle the valleys; most of us do okay with the peaks.
Keep up with the publications and new ideas and products in your chosen sport, but remember that there are no real magic training formulas or miracle supplements. No one has succeeded in anything without a lot of effort.
Make a realistic assessment of your structure and potential for building mass and cardiovascular fitness. It's all right to have pipe dreams as a kid, but maturity is marked by the ability to focus on achieving realistic goals.
Through self - or professional help, try to improve those parts of your life that are obviously worrisome. Few people can progress in training if the rest of their lives are a mess. When you deal with your problems, your training will also markedly improve.
Make as few concessions to age as possible, but don't deny that aging occurs. In training you've discovered a fountain of youth, but it's not perfect. You may not always be able to do more than you could when you were younger, but you can train smarter, with better quality and focus. That can be enough to offset at least some of the effects of aging.
Keep fruits, vegetables, rains and cereals at the top of your diet, along with lean sources of protein. Sound nutrition has a synergistic effect that works with exercise, but sound nutrition doesn't mean exotic diets and expensive supplements. As with training, however, there's no magical nutritional formula.
Unless you're a professional athlete, don't make training the center of your life. Most people find they make their best gains when they're involved in a number of interesting pursuits, and their spiritual, family, work and social concerns are in harmony.