Whether you’re new to training or a seasoned professional athlete, you’ll know all too well the importance of momentum. The first time you step into the gym is an exciting one, energy levels, adrenaline and probably a few nerves are flowing, these are all you need to keep you going for at least the first few weeks of training. You’ll start to see some improvements in muscle size, strength, power and power endurance too, but inevitably these improvements begin to slow, it’s normal.
There comes a point when your training stimulus has done its job, it has made your body adapt, grow and become stronger. However, inevitably this means your training stimulus may no longer be enough to invoke further growth or gains. You may have plateaued, and the only way you can break this plateau is to increase the training load, along with increasing your nutritional intake to accommodate the greater load you are placing on your body. Unless you have reached your physiological potential, you can invoke further supercompensation (the process that leads to performance enhancement) by 1.) changing the way you eat and train, and 2.) sticking with the regime!
Breaking the routine kills the habit
If you were in a great place during the first few weeks of training, then you’d be forgiven for thinking that things had become somewhat routine, a bit of a habit. However, one spanner in the works and it all simmers down a little for some people…this means the training had never truly become habit, maybe routine, but not habit. Samuel Johnson sums the formation of habit up perfectly:
"The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken."
Remember that a true habit is something that doesn’t prompt conscious thinking, you go to the gym because it is a critical part of your being, your everyday functioning. As you delve deeper into your habit formation you’ll notice that things become less conscious and more of a routine, but this time a routine that won’t break so easily. Arnold Schwarzenegger famously said:
“It's all about reps and sets when it comes to weights. There are a few shortcuts but you still need sheer volume of practice to get good at anything.”
The more you do something the better you become at it, and the less likely you are to stop doing it. Maintaining a vision of what you’re doing and where you want to be is paramount, but it takes persistence and repetition. Eventually, that relentless repetition will take hold and never go away, you’ll have that desire to train, improve and get into the gym environment without even thinking about it…and that won’t ever break.