1. Keeping a training log

This is so important because it is a blueprint of where you have been and the results that you have achieved. I have training diaries dating back to 1980. These diaries enabled me to fine-tune my training and learn from my personal experiences. I didn’t win five Commonwealth games by accident. I did it by combining sound training principles and using my diary to fine-tune those principles to suit my body. The memory is a poor substitute for the training diary. Trust me on this one, if you want an edge, break out the hardback book and start recording your efforts.

2. Use a high quality protein drink

Putting the hard work in is a big part of the training puzzle, but without adequate protein you will not get stronger and grow. Whole food is obviously the mainstay of your nutrition and you must get this right. However, many people find it hard to find the time to eat enough, which is where protein shakes come in useful. There are many quality makes on the market but all are not equal. When choosing a protein powder consider the following:

A What is the percentage of protein per 100g? Some products seem like good value, but when you look at the protein content, it is often very low. Looking for a product that contains 80 grams per 100 grams or more.

B Does it contain fast-acting protein (whey) and slower release long-acting protein (Micellar Casein)? It is important to have both so that the protein is there when you need it. The whey is important after training because you need it quick and the Miceller Casein is important before bed because it will give a slow release throughout the night so that the protein needed for recovery and adaption is there during this important rest period.

C Does it mix well and taste good? If you are using protein shakes twice a day, it makes life much easier if they mix well and taste good. When I first started using protein shakes 30 years ago, they were lumpy and tasted disgusting. Thankfully, there is now a huge choice and most of them taste great.

3. Give Creatine a try

Creatine has been on the market for many years and is considered one of the best supplements for increasing muscle mass and sporting performance.
I personally think that it is one of the few supplements that actually delivers. It’s cheap, safe and easy to use. For best results I would give the following advice:

A Make sure that the Creatine you buy is mixed with carbohydrate. This will maximise absorption in the body

B I do not believe it is necessary to load. Just take between three to six grams daily.

4. Get a training partner

Choosing a good training partner can really accelerate progress and make the whole process more enjoyable. A good training partner will push you harder when you do want to train and get you through your workouts on days you when really don’t feel up to it.

5. Use advanced intensity techniques.

Sometimes you have to use techniques that push your body just that little bit harder. Eccentric contraction (or negatives): This
involves the lowering of heavy weights. Most of us are 30-40 per cent stronger in the negative part of the movement. For example, try doing a set of bench presses to positive failure. Once you have reached positive failure, get your training partner to help you lift the weight and then do as many negative reps as you can. This is very hard training, but can be extremely effective in breaking strength plateaus. Effective training is a cross between science and art. If you want to reach your potential, you must apply tried and tested techniques. You must also record everything so that they can be applied to you personally. This takes
time and self-observation. Always assess your progress and if something does not work for you, try something else.