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Why you might not be making progress

Why you might not be making progress

Whether you’ve just embarked on your fitness journey a month ago or 10 years ago, there are a few pitfalls that we are all likely to fall into that stall our progress at the gym. Fitness professionals, your coaches, and the internet offer you tons of information. While that is great, it is also inevitable that all this information makes us susceptible to inaccuracy, misunderstandings and faulty applications. Applied long term, faulty knowledge, and information often leads to injuries and stalling of progress. There are a few common mistakes that people do that halts their progress and, or leads to injuries. If you are finding yourself constantly injured through training or have noticed that you haven’t been making progress the following mistakes are likely responsible for that.  

1. “More” is Not Always Better
If you have just started your training journey, the volume will surely lead to adaptations in your muscles. BUT! Do not move through your training program thinking that “more” volume is better! You shouldn’t be pulling off 20+ reps of an exercise thinking that this will lead to muscle growth and strength. Start with moderate volume and flow through different volumes throughout your training. LET GO OF THE BELIEF THAT MORE REPS MAKE MORE PROGRESS.

2. Training to Failure
Similar to that mentality of striving for “pushing for more”, you shouldn’t be aiming to max out and train to failure at each exercise. This might come across as shocking but constantly training to failure will actually lead to less volume and will halt your progress. Think about it, if you train to failure during your first set of 8 reps, your muscles will actually start to collapse too soon in the following sets, leaving you with less total volume than if you had been wise and stopped before reaching failure. Also worth mentioning that this can be very taxing on the nervous system, it will eventually start to take its toll on you.  

3. Not Changing Up Your Training
So you have signed yourself up for a training program, you’ve seen results at the beginning and you are still sticking to it. Well, our bodies respond to different stimulus and the program has done what it could and now it is time to move on. Now it’s true that the longer you train the slower your progress gets BUT that does not mean you can not make any progress. Along with changing up training volume and intensity, introduce a new stimulus to your body by adding new exercises and changing them up with simple swaps like using free weights instead of a machine…etc. 

4. Build a Solid Foundation First
It will be tempting for you to try new things that seem cool and interesting but before you jump into them make sure you have built a strong foundation first. Deadlifting for a few weeks does not make you ready to do crazy drop sets the next time you are at the gym. Take it slow and make sure you have built a very strong foundation first before trying something new and “leveling up” and getting complicated. Make you sure you’ve mastered the basics first before you complicate your exercises, make sure you’ve got a good form and your muscles have adapted well. This keeps you safe and ensures smooth gradual progress.

5. Failing to Plan
It might feel more convenient for you to “wing it” each time you are the gym training whichever feels right to you at the day. While that can be ok sometimes, the majority of your training must be planned and well thought out in order to see progress. Consider buying a training program or seek a training coach if you can’t do the planning yourself. This not only helps you stay structured it helps keep you accountable too.

6. Not Resting
Most of us have been at that “more, more, more” in our training journeys, more training and no days off. Believe it or not, having rest days is just as important as training in order to see results. Ditch the “no days off” mindset. YOU NEED DAYS OFF! Overtaxing your body is a thing and it will most definitely set you back in your progress at the gym. Your body will likely let you know when it needs it, take days off or even weeks off when you need it. Not only will it allow your muscles to recover, but it will also help get you motivated for your next training session.

7. Avoiding Things You Don’t Like
Ignoring your weaknesses and neglecting the ways to improve them is a major thing that could be halting your progress. We all have favorite exercises and muscle groups to train and a few exercises that we dread to death. This should probably make sense but avoiding these exercises and muscle groups will create imbalances in your body and will set your overall progress back. Face your weaknesses and do those exercises you don’t like.

8. Too Much Cardio
To maximize results from your resistance training you must be smart about your cardio. No, this is no to say that NO CARDIO will help make the best out of your resistance training. Make sure your program is well structured with enough cardio to help recover from and enhance your weight training sessions. Don’t overdo it, stay moderate.

9. Not Getting Enough Sleep
There are MANY reasons why you should be getting enough sleep but just in case you needed another reason to get your sleep in, you need enough sleep to get the most out of your training at the gym. You do some of the work at the gym and your body finishes off the rest as you sleep. Your sleep is the time your muscles recover and grow from your training sessions. Your sleeping hours are just as important as your workouts. You will not see progress if you are skimping on sleep.

10. Fun is Important
Don’t force yourself into anything that doesn’t speak to you. You like the energy vibes of cross fit and dread the gym floors? Then don’t force yourself into becoming a bodybuilder. Find what you enjoy the most and don’t force yourself into activities that you don’t like. Embrace trying new things but remember you must be enjoying what you are doing and having fun. 

If you are guilty of falling into these habits it’s OKAY, we have all been there at one point in our training journeys. The key is to be aware of your habits and how they may be setting you back. Now is the time to set a course of action to keep you on track for progress.