Updated: Feb 21, 2020
1. Lack of Sleep.
What many athletes don't realize is that we break the body down during exercise and do a majority of the building in our sleep. Athletes need 7-9 hours of sleep for optimal muscle recovery and growth. If you are not building your breaking down so start prioritizing your sleep.
It's extremely difficult to get stronger when you're running on little to no sleep. According to the CDC more than 1/3 of US adults report insufficient sleep which is less than 7 hours.
Increase stress at work, school, kids, finance, lack of exercise, poor nutrition, and life in general has a lot to do when it comes to our sleep.
Simple tip: Instead of just setting an alarm to wake up in the morning, create a sleep alarm as well. Shoot for 8 hours of sleep and allow time to start settling down. If you wake up at 6:00am every day, then set your sleep alarm for 9:00pm. That's when you'll start your night rituals with a goal to be sleeping by 9:30pm or 10:00pm. Things like brushing your teeth, showering, stretching, slowly dimming all the lights out, stretching, post casein protein shake, are all examples of night time rituals.
2. Lack of Work at Moderate Percentages.
A lot of athletes in the gym are always trying to lift the heaviest possible everyday and are skimming over the moderate loads at 60-80%. If you keep practicing misses on your lifts you are just getting better at missing those lifts.
Simple tip: Try accumulating more volume at moderate percentages for example 5x3 or 5x5 @ 70% for Squats or olympic lifts and try slowly building that over time. Successfully lifting moderate loads during your sessions will not only benefit muscle growth but also preserve proper technique which will carry over to larger percentages. Move well and the weights will follow over time.
3. Lack of Carbohydrates.
Most athletes initially cut carbohydrates if their goal is weight loss but when it comes to moving a ton of weight athletes need to eat a good amount of carbs to optimize performance.
When your body starts performing at higher levels, athletes need to start feeding it more. Everyone is different so make sure you are observing, measuring, and recording your results. It will not be perfect the first time but over the course of a few weeks you will eventually find what is most optimal for your performance. Moral of the story here is don't be carbphobic if you are trying to stay strong.
Simple tip: First start by tracking how many total grams of carbohydrate you're consuming per day in relation to your body weight. Then try to consuming at least 1-1.5 grams of carbohydrates for every pound of body weight. Stay consistent with this amount for long enough to observe some changes in performance or body measurements. Evaluate and adjust from there. Strength/power athletes may need up to 2-3 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight.
Go out there and get healthy!