They’re the holy trinity of fitness so follow this step-by-step guide on how to get mentally, physically and emotionally stronger – and take your gains to a new level.
Everyone wants to get strong, but why do so few people get results? Well, true strength transcends the physical and is the fusion of bodily power, mental practice and emotional fortitude. Too often you have the best intentions when starting a program.
Good intentions can, however, fall by the wayside when we take on too many things at once. While less measurable, it’s your actions in and out of the gym that can increase your strength, so here’s your plan for getting stronger by gradually introducing new mental elements into your training on a weekly basis. This programme is designed to be done in conjunction with your current training.
Your plan for gaining all-over strength by gradually introducing new mental elements into your training on a weekly basis:
Week 1: Work out one extra day
This is exactly what it sounds like. If you’re currently training three times a week, then do four. If you’re already at four, now do five. Even if the additional workout is less extensive than the others, simply doing it will increase the value of your whole program.
Add a run, a swim or a hundred push-ups spread throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be formal. It just has to be done.
Week 2: Cook two meals from scratch
Not from a mix, not from a powder and not from the freezer. From scratch, son. On two separate occasions this week, do it yourself. Chop the ingredients by hand. Feel them. Touch them. Taste the food as it cooks. Then, enjoy the meals with people you care about. Feed the body and the soul.
Putting in this effort is an exercise in practice, patience and commitment – just like working out. Also, cooking your meals yourself is the only way to guarantee you’re eating clean and putting good things in your body.
Week 3: Try a new exercise
Mankind has the tendency to grow stagnant in any routine. On a long enough timeline, everyone has the potential to get bored. Let’s say, for example, you’ve been bench-pressing for the past 15 years and you’re getting diminishing returns.
The reason may not just be because you’re physically burned out: perhaps it’s because your mind is mentally exhausted. Take action by trying a pistol squat, straight-bar dip or handstand this week. You may discover a move that can revitalize your training and make you excited again.
Week 4: Perform a random act of kindness
Hold the door open for a stranger. Shovel your neighbor’s driveway. Help an elderly person cross the street. The most meaningful thing you can do in this life is to give what you have. If you want to learn a new meaning of ‘strength’, then put somebody’s needs before your own. Both you and the recipients of your deeds will be better for it.
Week 5: Clean up
Clean up your home, your desk or your gym. Wash the windows, take out the garbage, mop the floors. A clean area yields the highest productivity, whether in your house or your training area. Wanna step it up? Go outside, pick up a piece of trash off the ground and throw it away. It takes no time and you’ve made the world a better place.
Week 6: Do one extra set of anything
Every now and again, more is more. It’s good to focus on recovery and listen to your body, but the downside is that sometimes your body tells you to take the path of least resistance. It’s a survival method intrinsically wired into our DNA.
But when it comes to exercise, we often want the path of most resistance. Increasing volume in a reasonable amount is a great way to add a bit more to your routine. Every time you work out this week, add an extra set.
On Monday, this could mean 10 more pull-up. On Tuesday: 15 more squats. Or on Thursday: two more muscle-ups. However many days you train, add one set of the exercise of your choice. Let’s get stronger for life and forever.