We all make mistakes in life. Hopefully, most of us are smart enough to realize when we make them and make the changes necessary to ensure we don’t make them again. The gym is no different – except it can be a little harder, at times, to pinpoint those missteps.
Here are five common mistakes that could be hurting your progress, and tips on how you can fix them.
MISTAKE #1: NOT PLANNING AHEAD
Would you walk into a business meeting that could potentially benefit your career without planning ahead for it? If you want to achieve the physique you want, the gym should be no different. One of the most common training mistakes is walking into the gym and not knowing what you will exactly do – and having a back up plan in case the gym is so crowded you can’t do the exercises you originally wanted. I
Develop a plan of attack for each week – know which body part you will be training on those days, and have a general idea of what those workouts will involve. It’s hard to tell how your body is going to feel until you wake up in the morning, so plan each workout – exercises, sets, reps, rest periods and more – each day before you train.
Don’t have a strategy for 2015? Not a problem. Here’s a guideline to help you figure one out.
MISTAKE #2: SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME ON STRETCHING AND CARDIO
They definitely have their place in any well-rounded program, but if your goal is to physically improve your body, stretching and cardio alone won’t get you there. Don’t spend more time preparing for your workout than you spend on the workout itself. Beginning any type of physical activity warmed up and ready is crucial, but a warm-up and stretching session don’t need to take more than 5-15 minutes. A light cardio session of 5-10 minutes and 5 minutes of dynamic stretching will ensure you are ready to tackle the weight room.
MISTAKE #3: ALWAYS DOING THE SAME THING
It’s simple human nature to want to do something we have done before. Our brains operate that way. But for our bodies to change, we must put them under new ways of stress. Sometimes these new ways are a bit more uncomfortable than we want them to be, but that’s good if you are performing the exercise/movement correctly and not putting your body in harm’s way. Some people start associating harder exercises like squats and deadlifts as movements that are too hard or unnecessary for their goals, but it’s usually the exercises we dislike the most that are the best for us. Albert Einstein said it best – Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
MISTAKE #4: GETTING DISTRACTED BY YOUR PHONE
I’m guilty of this one myself. Sometimes we carry thoughts of work, relationships, finances and more into the gym without even realizing it. The problem is that instead of truly focusing on what we are supposed to do, we start thinking of random thoughts that don’t help our training at all. I’m sure most of you are guilty of checking texts, social media or the score of the game while training – some of the best athletes in the world do this all the time. The issue, though, is how this negatively impacts the mind-muscle connection, a vital part of any effective workout. Start leaving your phone somewhere safe and out of reach so that you can focus completely on your training. If you use your phone to listen to music, then simply put it Airplane mode so you’re not tempted to check texts or social media.
MISTAKE #5: LEAVING THE TEDIOUS EXERCISES FOR LAST
Raise your hand if you leave abs for last in your workout. Isn’t it ironic how six-pack abs are one of the most sought-after body parts to develop, yet we don’t prioritize training them as much as should? Our brains operate in such way that if we don’t enjoy something, we’ll typically leave it for last or simply avoid it. But that’s all about to change, right? You want to improve and take your body to the next level, and part of that means doing the things you dislike first and getting them out of the way. This way you are guaranteed not to put them off, which will go a long way to improving your weak areas and helping you achieve the physique you want.