2. Rest & Recovery
3. Positive Atmosphere & Support System
4. Proper Technique & Programming
5. Sheer WILL
Now I love eating pizza, ice cream, burgers, burritos, and basically anything fried or with sugar more than most people, but over time I have learned that if your nutrition and water intake isn't on point you will NOT perform well. If I'm being honest, I get most of my calories from eating straight up garbage foods, but there are days I do clean it up. Since we are talking about strength and not aesthetics, CARBS are your friend! I've had people message me asking why they aren't getting any stronger after they've cut most carbs out of their diet and are eating clean foods. If you aren't into eating junk like me and you're more of a chicken, rice and veggies person, that's completely fine. You just have to understand when training for strength, in order to get enough calories you just have to eat bigger portions and more frequently. The only thing more important than eating enough (and obviously drinking lots of water) is getting enough protein. Whether you're a meat eater or a vegetarian or vegan, you MUST get your protein in one way or another. Protein shakes are great when you're in a hurry or too lazy to cook, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to eat REAL food and not get suckered into all the supplement hype. EAT, and eat A LOT, or trying to get stronger is going to feel like shit (trust me).
2. Rest & Recovery
Everyone has their own day-to-day routines and issues in life outside of lifting weights. Obviously this shit doesn't pay our bills (except for some who are THAT good) and work always comes first. Rest/proper sleep and keeping up with your recovery is extremely important if you want to see progress in your training. If you ever find yourself having time to take a nap, TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE. If you ever feel like your body is off, something hurts or the weights are feeling extra heavy, don't be afraid to take a day off or take it easy. It's really important to listen to your body as well as maintain it so that you don't get injured. I personally love to roll out my entire body on a PVC pipe (foam rollers don't do shit for me) as well as a lacrosse ball to really dig into my shoulders, pecs, arms, glutes, hips etc. and I stretch as often as I can. There are many different ways to keep up with your recovery depending upon your own individual needs. Some people see a chiropractor regularly, or get deep tissue or graston, get cryotherapy, cupping therapy, dry needling, and the list goes on. If you have an injury, I would suggest trying everything in your power to get it fixed and keep it from getting any worse. If you don't have an injury, keep up with treating your muscles, joints and tendons well and just know that NO ONE is safe from injuries but there are many ways to prevent them.
3. Positive atmosphere & support system
I understand that some people enjoy training on their own because I do too sometimes, but there is nothing like the feeling of having a solid group of like-minded people to train with. When I first started, being part of a powerlifting team was one of the best feelings in the world. Everyone was very supportive of everyone, no matter the age, sex, height, weight or experience. That's what I loved so much about the sport, it was constant cheering, helping each other spot or load the bar and everyone had each other's backs. As competitive as the sport may be, it's just as supportive, even if they are your competition. Surround yourself with people with positive attitudes who work their asses off and have similar goals as you, it will make all the difference.
4. Proper technique & programming
There isn't one human body that is made exactly like another, everyone has different mechanics and leverages. It's EXTREMELY important to learn YOUR own body's mechanics to figure out which form works and feels best for YOU. I don't pull sumo because my body is better built for conventional. Just because some popular strong dude (or woman) on instagram can pull sumo and looks really cool, doesn't necessarily mean that will be the case for you. If you haven't seen progress in one of your lifts, it could never hurt to tweak your form or try something new in your programming. Now when it comea to programming, it's really important to find a solid program that works for your body and level of experience and STICK TO IT! (5/3/1, Sheiko, Cube, Westside, Smolov to just name a few).
5. SHEER WILL
It's simple, how bad do you want it? How hard are you willing to push yourself to get to where you want to be? Through all the bullshit and tough times in your life, lack of sleep, lack of food or water, stress, kids, dogs, relationships, laziness, illness, injuries, too many hours at work and not enough time to get into the gym... will you still drag yourself in at the last minute just to get SOMETHING done? I know I will. I TRULY fell in love with this sport and I TRULY want to be a champion and one of the world's strongest women. If you take PED's or not, nothing beats hard work. Nothing beats being all heart and having a passion for something so much that you will do whatever it takes to be the best, or at least be the strongest and best version of yourself.