Making progress in the gym is simple, but its not easy.

Congratulations! You made it to the gym. This is a huge first step that shouldn’t be taken likely. You’ve even taken a few steps to ensure that you’ll be more successful this time. You have a meal plan in place, you purchased a 12 week workout program, and you brought someone with you for additional accountability. This is far more than what most people do when they look to get started so you should be proud of the detail that has gone into your own preparation. Is it enough to guarantee the results you want? Well that depends on how things progress and what else we do inside and outside the gym. In this article my goal is to show you where to place your focus to ensure consistent progress and achieve your results faster. 

The Big Rocks

When it comes to making progress and getting results there are some pretty solid foundations that need to be in place, which we will discuss in greater detail. But first lets talk about what these big rocks are. You’ve probably heard of them before but I can’t stress how important they are. Sleep, Hydration, Exercise Execution/Progression, and Stress/Fatigue Management. We are going to briefly discuss the importance of all of these and how we can begin to improve them to get better results. 


When it comes to down to it this is the most neglected area of most peoples health and fitness plan. Sleep basically improves the way your whole body from the top down functions  and how well each of those systems executes their tasks for the day. If you aren’t getting sufficient sleep you are likely to become stressed more easily, become hungry more quickly, fatigue more quickly during exercise, burn fewer calories throughout the day, and injure yourself more easily. As an adult we should be aiming to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, this isn’t just the time spent in bed, but actually sleeping. If you aren’t sure how well you’re sleeping it might be helpful to get a Fitness Tracker like Oura Ring or WHOOP to track your sleep. While their are lots of strategies you can begin to implement to improve your sleep I will just mention a few here.

1)Avoid Screens starting at 2 hours before bedtime

2)Set your bedroom to a cool temperature 68º

3)Consume food containing Tryptophan (Helps with our own Melatonin production)

4)Meditate, Read, or Stretch 20-30minutes before bed

5)Get Outside more during the day


People know they should drink more water but I personally don’t think its possible to intuit just how much benefit is derived from drinking water inside of one article. While water is important it isn’t the whole story as it pertains to hydration. We also want to look to things like electrolytes which are responsible for directing water (and nutrients) to the areas of the body where its needed most and maintaining optimal fluid balance inside the cells. An example of electrolytes are things like sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride. Maintaining a certain amount of water and electrolytes can make a tremendous difference in our performance. Up to a 20% decrease in exercise performance has been reported in some studies as a result of decreased hydration levels. So here’s what you can focus on:

1)Drink About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men. About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women, and 16oz additional for every pound (lb.) lost during periods of exercise.

2)Add some Bananas, Spinach, and Avocado to your diet.

3)Don’t be afraid to add some salt to your food (especially if your exercising regularly).

4)In break glass scenarios grab a Pedialyte, Sports Drink, or Electrolyte Tablets.


Running on treadmill, lifting weights, doing pilates, or anything else can only continue to benefit us if we continue to introduce new stress that we then recover and adapt to. Doing the same thing over and over might allow us to improve technique which has its merit, but once we are no longer adapting it doesn’t serve much of a purpose as it pertains to getting results. Let’s take a look at what we can be looking at as it pertains to progressing our exercise routine.

1)Time – Do it for a longer period of time or executing it more quickly with greater efficiency.

2)Distance – This can be literally improving the distance traveled but also increasing the range of motion our bodies execute during an exercise (i.e. Getting into a deeper squat, lunge, warrior pose, etc.)

3)Load – How much weight is on us during the activity in addition to our own body weight.

4)Technique – Being able to place greater stress on the target tissue by improving your technique (to a point) is a form of progression. 

Stress Management

If you’ve ever had stressful moments throughout your day you know the impact that it can have on how you feel physically. My approach to stress is not singular and varies on a case by case basis. However I will include a few tips here that I find helpful given the appropriate context.

1)Auto-regulate your training (adjust the weights you use on a given day based on todays performance)

2)Meditate – I find this can lengthen the fuse for our overall tolerance of stressful situations

3)Connect with Friends & Family

4)Reframe the problem and its severity (it’s not as simple as this but maybe this should be it’s own article)

5)Make sure you get enough sleep & food

I am excited for you to make progress in the gym! I know it isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do and it can be totally confusing. If you ever have any questions I’d love it if your emailed me at [email protected]. For more great ways to learn more you should check out our podcast “Fit For Fitness” and follow us on instagram (@the_mister_davis and @davisfitnessmethod). Thanks for reading.

Stay Dope,

Steven Davis (Owner of Davis Fitness Method)