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Six Common Training Mistakes.

Here are six common mistakes people make when training and why they are probably not making any gains even after training for a very long time. See if you are making these common errors.

Mistake #1
Not Keeping A Training Journal

Imagine running a business without keeping any records. You just keep working and hope that you are making more than you are spending. You have no way of knowing for sure if you are even making a profit and no way of knowing for sure if you are improving each month.

Without proper accounting, a business is doomed. Training is no different. When you keep a training journal, you keep yourself accountable. You learn what works and what does not work. You learn how lack of sleep affects training, and how stress in your life affects your training.

Do You Keep A Training Journal?


An honest training journal allows you to avoid having the illusion that you are making progress when you not making any progress at all. Do not just write down what you did at each workout. Write down other things that are going on in your life.

If you had a great workout, think about what happened to result in a great workout that day. Did you sleep well the night before? What did you eat before the session? Were you in a good mood that day? Did you take a new pre-workout supplement?

The more you know, the more you are likely to repeat the same feeling at another workout. On the other hand, if you had a terrible workout, think about the factors that may have contributed to that and see if you can avoid them in the future.

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Another reason to keep a training journal is that there is a natural human drive to want to improve. If you know what the number is, you will want to beat it at the next workout. If you have no idea what you are doing at each workout, how will you know if you are moving forward or not?

You cannot just rely in how you feel. You could feel great after a workout and think that you are stronger and then look at your training journal and realize that you are weaker than your last workout or that you showed no improvement at all.

Let's use the example of teaching a training seminar to illustrate this point. Let's say that you made $2,000 profit at a seminar in NYC and generated $5,000 revenue at another seminar. On paper, it looks like the second seminar was more profitable. However, let's say that the expenses that went along with the second seminar amounted to $3,000.

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Thus, your profit is $2,000 again, which means that there is no improvement in profit between the seminars. If you did not keep track of expenses you would not know this valuable information. Training is the same. Run your workouts like a business and you will stay on track and increase the likelihood of making progress.

Mistake #2
Training For The Stimulus Rather Than Results

Go to any gym and you will see trainees that have been doing the same workout for many years. They are doing the same exercises, same weights, same workout order - and enjoy the same lack of results. As the saying goes, "expecting different results from the same actions is a form of insanity."

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Many trainees become process-oriented, in that they just go through the motions at each workout. Now, don't get me wrong, going through the motions is better than not doing anything at all (unless you are doing Richard Simmons' "Sweatin' To The Oldies"). Moreover, training for the stimulus is not necessarily a negative thing.

If the stimulus of training makes you feel better, then your time is not wasted completely at the workout. However, if you want to make progress, you have to be results-oriented rather than process-oriented or attached to the stimulus. Your discipline will be rewarded with progress in training rather than stagnation in training.

To use an analogy from business, you want to be focused on making money rather than acquiring praise. Of course, acquiring praise and feeling good about what you do are important and nice perks. However, if your business is not making any money, then the latter perks do not really matter.

Whether you like it or not, money is a measurement that allows you to know if your business is improving or not improving. Getting more reps in a workout, using more weight, getting more done in less time, are all forms of progress measurement.

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In addition to being focused on the results, you want to be focused on the most efficient path to the result. If you can achieve a goal in three weeks with three workouts per week rather than six, why do six? Why do more, if you are not going to get improved results?

Sure, the extra work is worth applying for an improved outcome, but not for the same outcome or worse yet an inferior outcome. If you just focus on being process-oriented when you run a business, you will have the illusion that you are improving but will not necessarily have the results for it. Focus on achieving results and measuring your work and you will have no doubt that you are moving forward.

Mistake #3
Lack Of Focus

Ever get excited about one thing, and then two minutes later, forget about it and get excited about something else? Sure, all of us probably have at some point. Regardless, to get good at something you have to put in some time.

People that get bored easily are most likely people that fail often. Staying on course takes focus and discipline and the ability to manage boredom. I think that failing at everything is more boring then getting good at a few things.

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Now when it comes to training programs, there are a lot of options and it can be difficult to pick one. Regardless, it is critical that you do exactly that and stick with one program for at least three weeks. Just make sure that you have a clear idea of what the program that you pick entails.

If you are going to start a high volume training regimen, make sure that you do it at a time in your life in which you are sleeping well, have time to eat well, and have time to train consistently. If you have a lot of stress in your life and an erratic schedule, pick a program that is more appropriate for that situation.


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Once you get started, stick with the program for a while. Pick one goal, accomplish it and then move on. You should know exactly what you are going to do at 90% of your workouts and what the end result is. Going to a job and punching in hours might work for nine to fivers, but will not work for training.

Do not start a workout without knowing what you are trying to accomplish. Do not start a set, without knowing how many reps you are going for. Just remember that lack of focus and lack of discipline will equal lack of results.

Imagine opening a bike shop and then closing it the next day and deciding to sell lampshades instead. Then a week later, you decide that you want to be a personal trainer. Chances are high that you will fail at everything that you try, as you do not have the focus and discipline to finish what you start.

If you change your mind every two minutes in business, you inevitably go under. It will not be a question of if, but a question of when. Training is not any different. Know the target, and go after it until it is achieved. Then switch gears. Remember that it is easy to start a project and much harder to finish what you start.

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Mistake #4
Assuming Training Has To Be Complicated To Be Effective

Strength training is not rocket science. Your program does not have to involve what is the equivalent of a calculus equation to be effective. In fact, the more complicated a program is, the more likely it is to fail.

Develop a strong foundation in the basics and focus on exercises that will give you the most bang for your buck. Forget about tons of exercises for your arms when you can only bench press 185 and squat 155. Forget about bicep specialization programs when you cannot even do a pull-up.

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I often get emails from trainees that are beginners that train six days per week in which they designate a day for each body part. Such programs may be fine for experienced trainees that have a solid foundation. However, for beginners it is far from the best path to take.

Full body workouts with a focus on compound exercises, such as the:

are a great place to start. Get your bench press up to 300 lbs, Military Press up to 200 lbs, and Deadlift up to 400 lbs before you think about complicated routines.

Mistake #5
Training With Maximum Intensity Too Often

No doubt that productive weight training takes lots of hard work. Regardless, with the exception of money and sex, too much of anything is not always the most productive path to take. Training with maximum intensity too frequently will fry your central nervous system.

The Central Nervous System.
The human central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. These lie in the midline of the body and are protected by the skull and vertebrae respectively.

This collection of billions of neurons is arguably the most complex object known.

The central nervous system along with the peripheral nervous system comprise a primary division of controls that command all physical activities of a human.

Neurons of the central nervous system affect consciousness and mental activity while spinal extensions of central nervous system neuron pathways affect skeletal muscles and organs in the body.

Once that happens, you will become sluggish mentally and your body will follow accordingly. In other words, everything will feel heavy in the gym and you will feel out of sync. The harder you train, the less frequently you can train. However, training infrequently is not ideal either.

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Training is a skill, and like playing the piano or learning a new language, it is something that has to be practiced often. The more you do something (without burning out), the better you will get, and the more efficient you will become.

If you are on a program in which you do the military press once every two weeks and are not doing any exercises that are similar to the military press in between each session, each time you execute the military press it will feel like you are doing it for the first time.

Take some advice from top strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline, and treat the majority of your workouts as practices. Every once in a while do a maximum effort such as every 10-14 days to see how you are progressing and to keep you excited about training.

Mistake #6
Not Having A Life Outside Of Training

Real strength goes far beyond what you can do physically. If someone can bench press 500 lbs but is weak mentally and morally, then that person does not have complete strength. One of the greatest benefits of physical training is that the confidence and strength that you build in that arena can be carried over to other areas of your life.

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The confidence that you build with productive strength training should be carried over to other areas of your life. If the gym is the only place in which you feel comfortable and confident, then you have missed out on the major benefits of training.

About The Author

Visit Mike's website at for more training tips. Also, feel free to sign up for Mike's free "Aggressive Strength" newsletter.