In my philosophies on training one of the single most important rules to success would be to always “stick to the plan”. I will show you how this rule applies to training and diet.
When it comes to training you will no doubt have a set training plan. This includes the days you will train each body part, the exercises you will perform and the number of sets. This planning will allow you to work each muscle group evenly and effectively. You will be able to keep track of your progress and make gains in strength and performance on each exercise due to repeated training of it. This is “sticking to the plan”. What you must NOT do is go to the gym on legs day and decide you instead don’t feel like doing legs and would rather train arms. You will start to neglect body parts you don’t like and over train your favourite body parts. This is not effective training. When you do decide to train the correct body part make sure you stick to the exercises you had planned. What you must not do is pick random exercises each session as you won’t know what weight you are able to use in order to train at your maximum capacity. You may waste sets finding out the correct weight for you. I condone shocking your muscles with new movements and exercises but not every session. I recommend changing your routine every 6 weeks or so and every once in a while adding new movements in as an extra to your already set plan. The final point is the number of sets. Some days you may not feel up to training. You may be tired and not be in the mood. However if you are at the gym you must not think “I’ll just leave it there. I can’t be bothered with the last set”. You MUST complete all the sets you had planned to. It’s this sticking to the plan that allows you to keep constant improvements and achieve your goals.
Sticking to the plan is even more important when it comes to dieting. Whether that be mass building or dropping fat. When dieting I write down everything I will eat in a week and I do NOT deviate at all. If someone offered me a grape or a nut and it wasn’t written down I wouldn’t eat it. Granted a small piece of fruit most likely wouldn’t affect my fat loss but sticking to the plan means that you won’t deviate at all and this makes resisting those delicious treats that you crave far easier. You become loyal to the diet and are switched off to everything except the diet. This also works for mass gaining. I have a mega shake in a morning made up of lots of different foods crammed into a blender. Some mornings I don’t feel like making this and just want some toast. I know however that I will get far more value and nutritional gain from my shake than I would from toast so I force myself to make and drink the shake as it is what I have written down for my mass gain diet.
So my main recommendation for helping you to achieve your goals is to plan every part of your training, diet and lifestyle and then no matter what, you MUST stick to that plan.