I have been working out for about 25 years now, including around 15 years as a personal trainer. Over the years, I have noticed the same things people do over and over again that may be limiting their results in the gym. I’m going to lay these pitfalls out for you so you can avoid falling into these traps and get more out of your workouts.
Pitfall #1 – Not working out hard enough. If you are talking more than you’re working out, you probably aren’t doing enough to stimulate change in your body. 3-5 minute rest periods aren’t necessary unless you’re training for a powerlifting competition, and you absolutely CANNOT get a good workout in while you are talking on your cell phone. Pay more attention to your workout, work hard, and get it done!
Pitfall #2 – Doing the same thing…again. Too many people get stuck in a routine and just do exactly the same thing every time they workout. Consistency is good (see below), but you occasionally have to change up your routine to stimulate your body to adapt. Try any type of periodization technique to plan variations in your workout, and you will see better results.
Pitfall #3 – Not being consistent. Working out a couple of days and then not going back for 2 weeks just won’t add up to results. Going back and working out extra hard for 4 hours won’t catch you up either. There is a genetic component to working out, and it takes a certain frequency over time to cause your genes to express muscle growth or fat loss. Shoot for a minimum of 3 days per week and plan ahead so you don’t have long breaks.
Pitfall #4 – Bad gym etiquette. Gym etiquette has definitely declined over the years. People don’t want to share machines or even be polite to each other. Others talk excessively loud or don’t bother to rack their weights. The gym should be a community and we should really all try to make it a positive experience. How does this affect our results? If going to the gym is an unpleasant experience, we won’t go as often, and our workouts won’t be as good.
Pitfall #5 – Inadequate nutrition. It’s harder than ever to get high quality nutrition these days. A protein shake after you workout is great, but it’s not enough. Strive to eat high quality, organic foods, and supplement appropriately. Be as consistent with your diet and supplements as you are with your workouts and your results will go through the roof.