male and female muscled torsos posing on a black background

Well, beach season is officially here. And if you’re like most guys, you probably aren’t too pleased with your fitness level right about now.

Some men were probably just too busy to train at all (too much work/travel/partying). That being said, there are plenty of men who have been hitting the gym all year and have little to show for it.

If you’re frustrated with your results, you may be asking yourself: am I doing the best I can? Or is there something else I could’ve done to improve my results?

If you’re curious about taking your training to the next level (and getting serious results), here are 3 simple changes you can make to your routine that should help.

Do Compound Exercises

If you’re not doing compound exercises, you are seriously missing out. Now, for those of you that aren’t that familiar with the fitness terminology, a compound exercise recruits multiple muscles in one exercise (essentially the opposite of an isolation movement).

Why are compound movements so important? Well, other than developing functional moving patterns — AKA the ways your muscles know how to work together — you also end up engaging more muscles per exercise. This leads to you lifting heavier weight and progressing faster than you normally would.

So, what exercises should you be doing? Well, just about anything that uses multiple muscles at once. Some of the more common compound exercises are pull-ups (which engage your back and bicep muscles), squats (which engage your quads, core and most of your lower body) and deadlifts (which basically use your entire body, when done properly).

Now, before you renounce isolation movements forever, understand that they do have their place in the weight room. If you have smaller muscles that just can’t seem to grow (or are even holding you back), feel free to supplement your training with some isolation movements.

Get Enough Quality Rest

This right here might be the most important tip on the list. Most people just aren’t getting enough sleep at night. It’s bizarre how people think that they can spread themselves so thin, stay up way too late and demand vitality from their body without giving it a chance to recover. What’s even stranger is that most of these people don’t even realize they’re running on fumes!

So, here’s an easy test you can do to see if you’re in need of some R&R: can you survive without coffee? Sure, most of us use it get a little burst of energy in the morning (which is totally fine, by the way). That’s not what we’re talking about. If you need more than 3 cups every day and just can’t function without it, you might be dealing with adrenal fatigue (which is basically just a constant state of mental and physical exhaustion).

As simple as this all sounds, it really is crucial to building muscle. It’s amazing how many people work themselves to the bone in the gym and ignore the importance of proper rest. Truth be told, rest is where the magic happens. While you’re asleep, your body produces growth hormone (GH) and protein synthesis occurs (which is the actual process of rebuilding muscle tissue). So, if you aren’t getting enough quality rest, most of your training is kinda pointless.

Be Consistent

And finally, the issue of consistency. Honestly? You should blame motivational posters for this one. Here’s the deal: feeling motivated is great. It’s an exciting, positive emotion that makes you want to get up and do something. But, at the end of the day, it’s just that: an emotion. And emotions are great for getting the ball rolling, but awful at keeping you going every single day.

The problem is that most people rely on feeling motivated to hit the gym. Sure, they feel excited about training for a few weeks (hell, maybe even a few months), but eventually that motivation fades. Emotions change all the time, after all.

So, what’s the secret? The brilliant technique to being consistent? Well, it’s really not that exciting. Basically, training needs to become like brushing your teeth. You’d never go a whole day without brushing your teeth, right? It’d just feel weird. So, you should look at lifting weights the same way. If you’re excited to lift? That’s great! But if you’re not… oh well. Get in there and make it happen. Because if you can push through that barrier of boredom, if you can put one foot in front of the other using discipline instead of motivation… you’ll be unstoppable.