When it comes to getting into shape, we all want the biggest bang for our buck and the best results in the shortest amount of time.
5 Fitness Mistakes to Avoid
Turning up for 3 workouts for 3 weeks in a row then having a 2 week break and people wonder why they can never make much progress.
Just as you start to get in the groove you take a step back by having a break.
A common trend in people who live a healthy, fit (both subjective, so I may be wrong in your view) lifestyle is that they consistently exercise. Be honest with yourself about what you can commit to and make it a priority. 2 sessions a week for a year is better than 3 sessions a week for half of the year.
2. Poor Exercise Technique
Taking the time to learn how to correctly perform exercises will go a long way for your progress and training longevity. No one wants to be injured, that’s the fastest way to slow progress.
How do you know if your technique is right? There are plenty of Youtube tutorials to help you learn, for some people they can teach themselves but I would advise finding yourself a good coach, just to go over your techniques or you may have a friend that knows what they are doing (but just be aware that just because your friend may be in good shape it doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to train correctly.)
It’s okay to admit you are unsure if you are doing it right and ask someone for help. If I decided tomorrow to take up tennis and teach myself, I’m pretty sure I would be doing a lot wrong technically. Spending the time with someone who knows what they are doing would save me time & speed up my progression, training’s no different.
3. Lack of Structure in your Routine
Heading into the gym with no plan at all and just winging it with whatever equipment is available might work for the first couple of months of training (anything works at first) however this won’t work long term.
If every workout you do is just chest & arms, yes you will develop your arms & chest to a point but you’re likely to develop some kind of muscular imbalance that may affect your posture, potentially picking up injuries and you may end up getting weaker due to constant overuse of the muscles.
You should have some kind of ‘balanced’ structure in place.
This structure needs to be in place to allow for progression, recovery, and for muscular balance. For some people following a training program is too restrictive which I don’t agree with as I think having a program to follow is one of the key points to progress.
For the person who doesn’t like the ‘restraint’ of a program at least having some sort of structure in place such as:
Monday – Upper body day, pick 3 exercises for horizontal pulling/pressing (back/chest) & 2 exercises each for biceps/triceps.
Tuesday – Lower Body, perform a squat variation, a hinge, single leg work and some hamstring isolation work.
This gives a structured template that still allows for flexibility, while it may not be the best way, its certainly better than winging it each day.
4. Trying to Rush Progress
‘The one thing all famous authors, world class athletes, business tycoons, singers, actors, and celebrated achievers in any field have in common, is that they all began their journeys when they were none of these things.”
We all have a first time in the gym, some will be naturally stronger than others, some will progress quicker than others. What counts is YOU. Don’t compare yourself to others, accept that you need to dedicate time & effort if you want to improve, keep on adding those little plates, keep on pushing out those few extra reps that you couldn’t do before.
Progression will come, be patient and enjoy the journey. Take pride when you hit a new personal record and focus on the next small jump.
The person who is deadlifting 200kg, didn’t just walk in the gym on their first day and lift 200kg. They started with much lighter weights and slowly built up.
While you may have no intention at all of lifting that much weight, the same principles apply to any training methods, if you want to make progress take the slow & steady route.
“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.”
5. Training to Failure Every Workout
NO pain no gain, if you’re not suffering you’re not working hard enough!
You may have heard or seen these kind of quotes before and while there is a time & place to leave yourself crawling out the gym….at the end of every workout is not the answer.
Some of my best workouts I have experienced have been brutal and left me in a pool of sweat on the floor. Would or could I repeatedly do this? NO. I would burn myself out, I might be able to maintain it for a short period but at some point it would catch up to me. I would constantly be feeling tired, my progress would begin to slow down or stop.
There are certainly some benefits to training to failure as evidence shows particularly in untrained individuals but any new stimulus will work with this type of individual so this isn’t really saying much.
If you can get the same results without the risk & potential negative affects of training to failure why wouldn’t you take that option?
Pushing yourself to failure means you may potentially sacrifice good technique. Bad technique combined with fatigue isn’t a great idea, which is why learning correct technique is important as when you do get tired and concentration begins to drop your body automatically will resort to what it knows best to get the job done.
You have to weigh up the risk vs reward. Avoiding failure doesn’t mean that you train lightly but on the whole I recommend leaving 1-2 reps in the tank on the majority of your exercises or save it for your last set until technical failure.
What are the common mistakes that you think people make when training?