If you want to make progress, please read:

These nuggets of wisdom are not revolutionary but they are important. These are simple observations I have made while training in commercial and hotel gyms, as well as what the latest research supports. And of course, my own elitist two-cents from 15 years in the fitness industry. 


1. Follow a program that is customized to your goals.

Oh, you’re not following a program? You don’t say. I can tell by the random, weird shit you’re doing. You’re the one wandering from room to room, doing a little of this, and a little of that. Maybe copying the person next to you. You’re the one resting for five minutes, and spending more time people watching than actually working out.

Six months later, you’re perplexed about your lack of progress, yet, still not following a solid plan. It doesn’t have to be anything complex, just know what you’re doing from day to day, week to week, and month to month so you can begin making progress. 

2. Track your progress.

Keep a journal, and write down your exercises, rest periods, tempo, weights, reps and sets at every workout. Good luck making any progress without recording what you’re doing. 

3. Go to full range of motion on every lift.

If you don’t know what full range of motion is, please visit YouTube or Google, and study several informational videos from legitimate sources so you understand what a full range pushup, pull-up and squat should look like. Then do that. Don’t attempt to build a house on shitty foundation. 

* Only experienced lifters have any business implementing partial reps. Most novice gym-goers won’t have any idea, or any reason to do half reps on anything. If you’re confused about why you’re not making the gains you think you should be getting, check on this one. 

4. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Da Vinci 

If you cannot yet do a full range squat or pushup, you have no business doing a loaded barbell squat or barbell bench press. Master the fundamentals with your bodyweight before moving on to barbell work. In most cases, you’re better off working with dumbbells before barbells, anyway. Keep it simple. 


If you’re lifting weights to build muscle, slow your lifting tempo down and control yourself in end ranges. For example, while doing a pushup: Lower your body slowly, taking 1-2 seconds to get to the bottom of the rep (chest about 2 inches above the floor), pause for a second, then push back up with a strong, stable core. Don’t sag your lower back or drop your head down. Always control your body by pausing at the bottom of a rep, and stabilize yourself at the top before descending again. 

6. Regulate your breathing.

Inhale through your nose on the negative (going down in a pushup), exhale as you push back up. While squatting: Inhale as you’re going down, exhale as you push back up. If it sounds like you’re having sex while lifting weights, your breathing and lifting tempo are probably jacked up. That’s not to say you can’t make some noise. But you don’t need to fill the gym with pornographic sounds while working through a set. You come off as attention seeking, and annoying. 

7. Reduce your weight.

If you can’t control the weight you are lifting in every exercise, your whole body sways while performing dumbbell curls, you can’t get a full range stretch in a negative rep, you lift fast AF, and you’re not making progress, your weight is probably too heavy. Reduce that shit. This is what gets people injured, or simply keeps you spinning your wheels. 

8. Increase your weight. 

Lifting the same weight at every workout for weeks on end will likely get you nowhere. Aim to lift more every time you pick up a weight. The only exception to this is if you cannot maintain good form, in which case you will want to stay with the same weight, and experiment with shorter rest periods, or a slower tempo to intensify a set.

Always keep at least two reps in the tank, and don’t go to failure on anything. This will help you learn when it’s time to adjust your weight, and move up.

9. Skip the machines. 

Perform bodyweight, cable, and free weight exercises over machines. Most people do the exact opposite. They start with the machines because they believe them to be ‘safer’ than free weights. Or maybe they don’t know what they’re doing with free weights, so they avoid them altogether. This is when you need to pick up a book, spend time on YouTube, or hire a Personal Trainer to teach you the fundamentals of strength training. You will save time, build confidence, and make better overall gains when you opt for bodyweight and free weight movements. 

Machines are for advanced lifters and in most cases, simply take up space on a gym floor. You’ll get a more effective workout using free weights than you ever will using a machine, especially if you’re a novice lifter. Sitting in a fixed position with a one size fits all setup does nothing to help you improve whole body strength, coordination and proprioception. 

10. Let go. 

Stop holding on to the handles of the treadmill, it’s not a ride. Slow the pace down, let go, look straight ahead, and move your arms like a mall walker. Your upper body posture is important when walking, and running. Not to mention, if improving your endurance is a goal, moving your arms will increase your heart rate an average of five beats per minute.

The Stair Stepper is the only exception to handle holding, because let’s be honest, if you fall off that shit you’re going to get wrecked. Hang on lightly, but maintain good upper body posture with your chest up, don’t drape yourself over the machine. You look crazy.  

BONUS Tip: Don’t wear cologne or perfume to the gym. You’re gagging us all.