The Three Principles of Progress (In Fitness)

Written by the Boostcamp staff
Jan 11,2024|11 min| 223

Instill these three things to see almost linear progress in the gym

When it comes to your training routine, many times people will overcomplicate what it takes to see true progress, then get frustrated when they try to implement all of these different methods and get nowhere. On an episode of the Boostcamp Podcast, Michael Liu sat down with Cody Lefever, the man behind the GZCL training program, and they discussed the three principles of progress. 

Let’s break down who Cody Lefever is and exactly what Cody stated is the key to making progress. 

Who is Cody Lefever?

cody lefever

Cody Lefever is a man who has had a lifelong passion for physical fitness. While serving with the U.S. Marines CodyI began training himself as well as others to achieve a higher level of physical preparedness. This developed into a passion for lifting weights that ended up leading Cody to the powerlifting platform, where he competed in multiple state, national, and world level championships. 

His clients range from military service members to athletes to the average person desiring improved physical fitness, whether that be in sports or in daily life. In 2022, Cody opened North America’s Highest Gym in Almba, Colorado. Located at 10,361 feet elevation, Alma’s Gym is high up in the Rocky Mountains approximately 2 hours outside of Denver. It is a place for locals and tourists alike to get stronger and develop their bodies.

Cody has officially partnered with the Boostcamp App to launch the GZCL Program (GZCLP) into an app format for free.

GZCL

The GZCL Program (or GZCLP) is Cody Lefever's famous linear progression program for beginner and novice lifters who want to build both strength and size. It is a highly popular alternative to Starting Strength and Stronglifts due to its effectiveness and flexible structure.

Boostcamp officially partnered with Cody Lefever to bring GZCL to Boostcamp. This is version 3 of the GZCL App on Boostcamp.

Consistency, Effort, and Patience

GZCL

These are the three principles of progress according to Cody Lefever, and he says that if you do not have those three things, then you will never find a workout program that works, whether you are doing push pull legs, or upper lower or whatever you desire, you won’t make the progress you want. 


Even if you demonstrate two of the three principles of progress and only miss out on one, you still won’t make the progress you want. Cody says that these three things work together, and if you are missing one, then you are missing a fundamental aspect of progressing in your fitness journey. He uses the example of if you show up to the gym every day and are patient with your progress but don’t put in the effort, you won’t be making gains.

Let’s break each of these down.

Consistency

Consistency is a huge part of making progress with any training program, whether you are powerlifting or bodybuilding or whatever you are pursuing. If you show up and do the program to a T one week, then skip out on the next three, you will not be making any progress, you need to stay consistent with your time in the gym. However, the idea of consistency being one of the three principles of progress does not just mean staying consistent with showing up to the gym, but also staying consistent with how you are training. 

For example, if you show up to the gym and get a great chest workout, but then all of your other workouts are lackluster and don’t have the same amount of heart poured into them, then you will be underdeveloped in certain areas. 

If you are a bodybuilder then this is bad because you are judged on symmetry during a bodybuilding competition. On the other hand if you are a powerlifter this is bad because you will be weaker on some aspects of lifts which can lead to other muscles overcompensating, for example during a deadlift if you have weaker legs, then your back will be doing most of the lift. Being underdeveloped can lead to some serious injuries as well. 

That being said, consistency among your routine and what goes on during workouts is crucial.

Effort

Piggybacking off the idea of staying consistent amongst your workouts, staying consistent, is effort. Cody states himself that you can show up to the gym every single day and “follow a program”, but if you are not putting in that effort then you are not going to make any progress. As an example, if your program calls for 10 sets of 1 at an RPE of 8, and you do them at an RPE of 5, then you are not putting in the effort that is required to advance in your fitness journey.

That idea of putting in effort does not just apply to powerlifting programs though. Another example can be if you are trying to cut and get shredded for summer, and you know that you need to do cardio but you skip it 5 days a week, then you are not making the effort to achieve your goal. Without putting in effort, any workout plan that you choose is going to be rendered useless.

Patience

One of the biggest reasons people give up on their exercise routine is that they are not seeing progress. Take a look at the New Year's Resolutioners who join the gym in January and are gone by February, they are prime examples of those who are impatient. This is why patience is one of the three principles of progress. Unfortunately, you will not see crazy progress overnight when you are on your fitness journey, it takes time to really see the results from your workouts. Even with things like anabolic steroids and supplementation, you still need to be patient. If you lack patience and expect things to happen rapidly, then you will be disappointed.

Where to Find Workout Programs

If you want to find some solid workout programs to implement the three principles of progress and really test yourself, Boostcamp is the place to find a program for just about any style of training you can imagine. When you are looking for a program that will really push you to the limit and help you continue progressing in a linear fashion, look no further than the Boostcamp App.

Aside from Cody Lefever’s awesome GZCL Program, there are plenty of free programs to choose from on Boostcamp, over fifty to be exact. When it comes to following a new workout program and seeing how you are progressing with it, you would want to find a platform that caters to your needs and guides you in the right direction. Boostcamp can help with that, and it can even help you to measure your progress, track your workouts, and continue with linear progression. You also do not have to choose from prewritten programs, you can create and customize your own program!

Principles of Progression Wrap Up

Overall, Cody Lefever has a great point in stating that there are three main principles of progression when it comes to your fitness journey. The three principles of consistency, effort, and patience are good ones to keep in mind, and you truly do have to implement all three of them if you wish to see yourself progressing and becoming bigger and stronger.

Do you agree with Cody Lefever’s three principles of progression?

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Some images courtesy of Cody Lefever's Instagram (thefeverfever)