Contrary to popular belief, the process of building muscle mass and training for a better physique stretches way beyond the stereotypical ‘meathead’ lifting heavy things up and putting them back down again in a dungeon like basement gym.

No, the journey someone goes through to add muscle to their frame is much more than that – it’s a science, a skill, an art.

Much like anything else in life, learning how to move and connect with different parts of your body that you aren’t accustomed to using very much takes time. It takes practice and it needs development in order for you to progress. So this whole idea that all you have to do is swing weights around and chug protein shakes is outdated and pretty ridiculous. It takes much more thought than that.

To analogise – let me take you back to when you were learning to drive. Did it come naturally to you on the first lesson? I know it certainly didn’t for me (ask the 7 pedestrians I nearly put in hospital by driving down the pavement).

For most of us learning to drive was a skill that took time to master. On the first few lessons you had no idea where the gear stick was or how to change gear. Now you can do it on autopilot without even looking. The result of practice and development.

Training is much the same. When I see clients on their first couple of sessions when they’ve never trained before their body awareness is mostly terrible. They struggle to switch on different parts of their body or keep other parts still when they should be stable. It’s all very overwhelming and confusing, much like your first driving lesson. It shouldn’t be easy, because it’s an art and a skill.

Now, much like after a few lessons you begin to know where the gear stick and clutch are, after a few weeks of training you begin know where your muscles are and how to switch them on. You can feel things engaging, you understand how things should and shouldn’t feel in different exercises and you improve the connection between your brain and your body.

This takes time. There are no shortcuts and there is no way around the need to strip down your programme to basics and learn how to move effectively and efficiently.

Yes, I know it might seem boring and not as ‘sexy’ as all these ‘get ripped in 21 days’ fads you see plastered all over social media but it is the truth.

If you want a physique you can be proud of, you need to be willing to put in the time and put in the effort to learning the art of training.

Just as driving is more complicated than turning the key and pushing a few pedals, training has more to it than lifting heavy things up and putting them down again.

Take the time, learn how to contract and engage your muscles, and progress step by step towards a training programme that will give you incredible results. But remember – trying to take shortcuts will cost you in the long run. The best training programme in the world means nothing if you can’t perform it properly.