There are common themes among the guys who come to me searching for help with their fitness worries.
The same mistakes come up over and over again. It is not surprising given that the mainstream fitness literature is filled with quick fixes and misinformation!
These sources feed on the desire to gain muscle and improve our fitness by sucking us into the endless trap of short term fixes. Once these short term fixes fail we can just move onto the next short term fix!
Today I will share with you 10 of the most common mistakes I see and what to do instead:
1. Not following a program
Do you go into the gym with a plan or just wing it?
Most guys who come to me say they have never really had a proper workout plan. They go in Monday and do a body part and then Wednesday they will do another body part with a haphazard approach.
This rarely gives you much progress as you have no plan of attack to work on week after week to ensure you are getting somewhere.
You need a plan in the gym. What exercises you will do, how many sets and reps you plan to do, how much rest, your warmup etc.
You want to be able to go into the gym knowing exactly what you want to achieve that day!
2. Not STICKING to A Program
Following a close second to the above issue is not sticking to the program you do have for long enough!
A solid workout program should be continued for at least 6-8 weeks before you can really judge its effectiveness. If you are chopping and changing programs too regularly then you are going to find it difficult to work out if you are progressing or not!
The body can only move in so many ways. Get a solid program and stick to it for at LEAST 6-8 weeks before changing anything.
3. Avoiding the big lifts
If you go into any gym you will see endless curls, chest flies and work on machines.
There is nothing wrong with these lifts as part of a wider program, but they are really the smallest and most useless exercises to spend your time on.
You need to be doing big compound lifts to get the most use out of your gym time.
This means DEADLIFTS, SQUATS, BENCH PRESSES, PULLUPS etc.
There are many variations of these and there is always a type that will suit you.
A workout program taking these lifts into account will get you FAR more progress than any amount of bicep curls will!
4. Not progressing
How long have you been benching 40kg? Or curling those 10kg dumbbells?
I have seen guys who in 3 years have not increased the weight that they were using on various exercises. Your body needs some stress placed upon it if it is going to get any sort of fitness increase.
You can do this by using more weight, more repetitions, less rest between sets, more overall sets etc.
The bottom line is you have to be progressing steadily on the various movements if you want to gain any muscle or fitness boost!
5. Eating Poorly
It doesn't matter how hard you smash your gym session if you aren't eating right.
If you are trying to lose weight then the gym is going to be of little help unless you can also adjust your dietary intake.
Conversely, if you are trying to gain muscle and size by hitting up the gym each day but aren't eating sufficient calories then you will find yourself stuck!
Take your eating as seriously if not more seriously than your training. No amount of training will be able to change the garbage you eat!
6. Trying to Let Supplements Take the Slack
Eating poorly and training hard often leads to turning to supplements.
Pre-workouts, post-workouts, powders and pills of all kinds. There are literally thousands of different supplements available now.
The reality is if you aren't training properly, eating properly and progressing then you aren't going to achieve what you want!
Supplements are only going to have the smallest effect on your results!
99% of what you will see with your progress will come down to the basics. Don't waste your money on supplements.
7. Focusing on Certain Muscles
Are you a professional bodybuilder?
Bodybuilders will typically train specific body parts in a training session and rotate through such as arms, chest, back, legs etc.
This may work well for somebody in their position but for people who aren't trying to stand on stage it is not the most efficient way to train.
Focus on training movements rather than individual muscles and you will find your injury rates reduce significantly, your results will actually improve and you can spend less time in the gym for better results!
I have seen far too many guys hitting the gym 5 days a week for a few weeks, then stop going for a month then back to 5 days a week and so on.
The time they aren't at the gym is spent eating poorly and undoing any results they may have gained.
You are far better off doing 2 sessions a week consistently than stopping and starting
9. Replacing Intensity with Time
How long do you typically spend at the gym?
I have seen guys spending 3 hours or more in the gym each time they train. If you are spending longer than an hour in the gym then it is likely your intensity is not very high!
You will not get the same result from a 2 hour workout where you only do a little bit of work compared with 30 minutes where you absolutely push your muscles to the limit!
Get in, work hard and get out again!
10. Not Resting Enough
How much sleep do you get each night?
Do you have a physical job?
If you are working hard in the gym 5 days a week, working a physical job and then sleeping 4 hours a night it is only a matter of time before you injure yourself badly or totally burn yourself out.
You need rest to improve your fitness.
Make sure you are taking care of your overall health, stress and well-being as sooner or later it will catch up with you!
Are you making any of these mistakes?