Sometimes the reason one person makes progress in the gym while someone else doesn't is a mystery.
Training for most people is like going through a maze: a process of trial and error. It's easy to give up if you're not getting the results you want, but success is sometimes just around the corner. The key to getting results is to get rid of all the things that aren't working, and keep the things that are.
Finding which elements of your training programme aren't working can be a real challenge. This checklist of common gym mistakes should help you on your way.
1. Emphasising quantity over quality
The same holds true when it comes to the amount of weight you use in each exercise. Many people are so hung up on how much weight they're lifting, that they ignore technique.
2. Use weights to stimulate growth
When you're in the gym, the goal is to use weights to stimulate growth, rather than simply to see how much weight you can lift.
Ten perfect repetitions are better than 15 sloppy ones. Leave your ego at the gym door. You can always pick it up again on the way out.
3. More is not always better
If 3-4 hours of training a week is good, then 6-7 hours will be twice as good, right? Unfortunately not. When it comes to building muscle, gaining weight or shedding fat, more is not always better.
Overtraining is one of the biggest mistakes people make, especially beginners. If in doubt, do a little less than you want to. That way, at least you'll be enthusiastic about training and you won't burn yourself out by doing too much too soon.
5. Doing the same thing over and over again
If you're following the same routine as you were 6 months ago, using the same exercises and the same weights, then something's wrong. Keep your muscles guessing. Introduce changes into your programme on a regular basis. Maybe you can do incline bench presses first, rather than second in your chest workout. Perhaps squats could come last, rather than first, when you train your legs.
You don't have to change something every workout, but introducing something new every 2-3 weeks will keep things interesting and avoid gym mistakes. Then, you can give the whole routine a complete overhaul every 6-8 weeks.
6. Too much change
Just as using the same routine all the time will eventually kill your progress, switching from routine to routine in a desperate search for the magic? one that work best is also a big mistake.
You need at least 6-8 weeks to determine if a routine is working for you. Give it time and be patient. Nobody ever built a great body in a few months.
7. Lack of goals
Do you ever see people wandering around the gym, without any clear idea of what they're doing or why they're even there? The chances are high that they'll join the 8 out of 10 people who give up on their exercise programme after 12 months or less.
The first step that you must take when you want to get in shape is to decide exactly what you want to achieve, and when you want to achieve it by.
A vague notion that you want to "lose weight" or generally "tone up" is not enough. Having a specific goal of losing 7 pounds of fat in the next six weeks, for example, makes it far more likely that you will achieve it. Pick up a pen and piece of paper, and write your goal down. Put it somewhere you'll see it every day. Keep working until you get it.