If you're not getting the results you expect from your workouts, then you're likely making one of two major mistakes:
- You're not training with enough focus and discipline.
- You're training with such blinding fury that you aren't paying attention to what you're trying to achieve.
In this article, I highlight eight common training mistakes many people make, as well as how to correct them. Read my list and see if you're guilty of any of these training sins. Then make the suggested rethinks and start training like you mean it!
SIN 1: SKIPPING WORKOUTS WHEN YOU'RE NOT IN THE MOOD
Many of us don't achieve our goals because we allow small distractions to overwhelm us. Eventually, your day gets away from you, and you don't have time for your workout. By the time your schedule clears, you talk yourself out of training because you're no longer in the mood.
When was the last time you skipped a night's sleep because you weren't "in the mood" for it? Your training should become as automatic as every other aspect of your daily routine. You should never consider whether or not to train; you should just go to the gym when it's time for your workout. Set the alarm on your phone and get your butt into the gym.
SIN 2: GOING TO THE GYM WITHOUT A SHORT- OR LONG-TERM PLAN
While getting to the gym is half the battle, you'll never win the war if you don't have a good plan for the day—or for the next few months. First, it's crucial to identify a particular goal you want to achieve over the next year.
Then you should break that down into cycles of about eight weeks each. You can adjust these depending on your achievements during each eight-week phase. The crucial thing is to have a long-term (about six months) and midterm (about eight weeks) goal.
Once you have both a midterm and long-term goal, you need a daily plan. Write up every workout before you go to the gym. You can do this several days ahead of time or in the mornings before each workout.
A good tip is to write up your workout on your phone or in a notebook and take it with you to the gym. Then adhere to it when you're training.
SIN 3: OBSESSING ABOUT STRENGTH SO MUCH THAT YOU DON'T VARY YOUR WORKOUTS
Becoming stronger requires you to periodically challenge and stimulate your muscles in different ways; you can't simply perform the same exercises in the same order every time you go to the gym. This may work well for a few weeks, but it will ultimately fail.
Virtually every strength-training protocol relies upon cycling reps, weights, exercises, and volume to allow you to increase overall strength. Find a strength-building protocol designed by a professional athlete or strength-training coach, and follow it to the letter.
Recovery and cycling is as important for increasing strength as pushing heavy weights is.
SIN 4: LETTING A BAD WORKOUT DERAIL YOUR LONG-TERM GOAL
So let's say you hit four reps with a particular weight during your last workout. Today, you expect to get five for that same exercise, but you only pump out three before your muscles give way. Your mindset immediately shifts; you deem the workout a failure. This puts you in such a crappy mood that you cut your workout short and head home.
When such sets occur, acknowledge that everyone has a bad day in the gym. Rather than quitting, make some immediate shifts to your workout. Take a two-minute break and modify that day's workout. Go for reps instead of weight. Find a way to make today's workout a success.
SIN 5: USING WEIGHTS THAT AREN'T HEAVY ENOUGH
This happens when you don't compare your sets, reps and weights from workout to workout. If you're not keeping track, you're likely to grab the dumbbells that you "feel" are the right ones to use that day. Many women also fail to lift enough weight for fear they'll become too bulky.
Keep a journal that not only records your exercises and sets, but also your weights and reps. Review this when you're putting together your daily plans. You can even note these previous accomplishments in your daily plan so you'll have them with you while you're training.
SIN 6: TREATING YOUR NUTRITION PROGRAM AS THOUGH IT'S SECONDARY TO YOUR TRAINING
This can happen whether you're training for muscle gain, fat loss, or both. When your diet is secondary, sometimes you hit your calorie and macronutrient numbers, and sometimes you don't. But you'll never maximize your ability to attain your goals when your diet is crappy.
Put more effort into planning your nutrition protocol than you do into your training. What? Yes. You read that right. You eat six times a day, but you don't train more than twice a day.
Therefore, nutrition takes quite a bit more planning and preparation. Make sure you're not only hitting your daily nutritional numbers, but you're also hitting them meal by meal.
SIN 7: PARTYING MORE THAN YOU TRAIN
Suffice it to say that if you party as often as you train, you aren't going to maximize your results. If you're a party animal, you have to establish reasonable boundaries for yourself if you want to attain your goals.
Slow down the party train. Stay home at least one weekend night a week, and volunteer to be the designated driver when you do go out so you don't overimbibe. Keep in mind that going out too often also takes you away from your rest and recovery schedule, and you likely won't follow your diet as carefully when you're out until the wee hours.
SIN 8: EXPECTING IMMEDIATE RESULTS
Motivation is a powerful tool, but having unrealistic expectations often leads you to train with extreme intensity for a week or two. But then your body gets fatigued, or you stop seeing results because you're overtraining. And so you begin to skip workouts.
Stop measuring immediate results such as pounds lost or increased reps or weight. Base your success on staying on your program. Eat every meal you plan. Perform every workout with focus and dedication. This is the ultimate guide to succeeding in your short- and long-term goals.