The New Year is here, you got some new gym outfits and a dope new pair of shoes, the shoes that will carry you into a year of health to create the best version of you. The gym is packed. In a couple of weeks the numbers will dwindle, and dwindle more going into February. By the time March comes around those that will stay are in a routine, those who have given up are making their plans to make it stick in 2021. But before you throw your hands up in disgust, it would be beneficial to know some pitfalls beforehand so that you can see the warning signs that what you are doing may not be sustainable. Behold, my ten reasons why your fitness regimen could get derailed.
Too Much, Too Quick
This is the all or nothing approach and I see it the most with former athletes or those that used to have a healthy relationship with the gym. It sounds great to tell yourself that you are all-in, that if you aren’t in the gym 5-7 days a week, it is not worth it. But that just is not the case. Let’s look at it in working out terms. If you walked into the gym for the first time today, would you put 225 pounds on the bar and try to bench press it? Of course not, that would be an absurd thought, you aren’t there yet. Well, same idea goes for how often you should be in the gym and what you should be doing. If it’s your first month back, your body is not ready for 5 or 6 days a week. Take it slow. Three days is usually good, maybe even two depending on the person. Then you can gradually add in days as you see fit. Doing too much, too fast is a sure fire way to get burnt out and when the soreness puts you out for a week, it’s harder to get back. Also, you must start with the basics of exercise and movement. If you cannot perform a near flawless air squat, you have no business putting weight on your back because the dude next to you is. That’s a recipe for injury and an injury at the beginning of your new lifestyle is enough to convince some people that lifestyle is not for them.
Not Asking For Help
You walk in your local commercial gym where everyone is seemingly doing their own thing. Naturally, you are intimidated and don’t want to show your novice level by asking too many questions. Lucky for you, there are people you can hire to show you how to do everything correctly. But I get it, maybe a personal trainer is out of your budget. Well, what about that guy or gal that looks like they were born in the gym? There is no way someone that advanced is approachable, right? Wrong. Here’s the secret; the fittest people in the gym love to talk about how to get fit in the gym. Getting asked how to perform a movement or about a program being followed is a sort of validation that your hard work is noticeable, and that is a good feeling. Use common sense as to when approach someone and I can almost guarantee that person would be more than happy to offer advice. Just leave the flirting for happy hour.
Following Fads and Influencers
We all have our favorite fitness accounts on Instagram to follow. Usually it’s a lot of half-naked photos and videos with some product codes mixed in convincing you that you need this and that. If the accounts you follow show workout but only tell you how many sets and reps they did, they should not influence you, their trainer should. A good fitness account like @elevatedfitnessco should be able to explain why they are doing what they do. Truth is, the real titans of the industry are boring and well-versed in the science of exercise. Their content can be boring, where they are stressing the basics and aren’t always changing their minds and programs.
Which Brings Me to My Next Point… Jumping Between Programs
Finding a good program to follow is vitally important. A huge mistake I see is people jumping between programs. There are different programs for different goals. If you want the strongest squat possible, a strength and conditioning coach would cringe if they found out you went on a 3 mile run. If you want to get great definition and muscle growth, I hope you stay in the 8-12 rep range. Specific goals need specific programming and doing different influencers workout, or whatever you found on Pinterest is not the most efficient path to your goal. Click here to check out our personal programming and remote coaching options.
Quitting Too Soon
How many of you leave the gym and immediately look in the mirror to find those gains? How do your abs have the audacity to not be showing after a full week of clean eating and exercise!! The game takes time people. And more importantly, it takes consistency. I know you might see people with crazy transformations in short periods of time but you don’t know what that person did, who helped them, or any other factor in their life. Real change takes time and remember, small progress is still progress which adds up over time.
Which Brings Me to My Next Point… Comparison
Some people have some very inspiring transformations and sometimes it may only be 8 weeks, maybe 12. But like I said above, you have no idea what that took. Do they have a job? Kids? Other commitments? Maybe they were able to spend hours a day in the gym and could afford perfectly portioned meals delivered to their doorstep. The point being, their journey is not yours and while it is good to find inspiration, if those people are actually making you feel worse about yourself, look away. Compare yourself to, yourself.
Avoiding the Weights
Ladies, I’m mostly talking to you here. If you haven’t heard this before a million times, allow me to tell you; lifting weights will not make you look like a man. There are some genetically gifted females that can bulk up quickly, but they are few and far between. For most of you women, just lifting weights will not make you bulky. It will increase your metabolism. It will make you stronger and strengthen your bones, and it will give you that firmness that you want.
Obsessed With the Scale
Unless you are competing in a weight class sport, there are very few reasons to weigh yourself. Weight is a number that is constantly fluctuating and not a very good indicator of your progress if you are weighing yourself daily or multiple times a week. Better options are to take photos and take measurements. An even easier measure of how you are progressing is simply, how do your clothes fit? So, ditch the scale.
Not Enough Recovery
#nodaysoff I even had a shirt that said that at one point. It was the idea that more is better and even more than that is even better! However, recovery and nutrition have more of an affect than the time spent in the gym. If your goal is a better quality of life, then being sore every single day is not achieving that. This is not to say that you can’t be in the gym 5-6 days a week, but you have to work yourself up to that point and it won’t be affective unless you are recovering just as hard as you are working.
Your Weekend Binging
This is probably the biggest thing I see that derails people’s fitness and aesthetic goals. I can write an entire blog on this, and maybe I eventually will, but for now I’ll keep it as brief as I can. Losing weight is a numbers game. On the most basic level it is expend more calories than you consume. So, let’s assume you are in a 500 calorie daily deficit to try and lose a pound a week. Monday through Friday afternoon is a breeze since you meal prepped for work and had healthy dinners with some killer workouts. Then, Friday night rolls around and it’s time to hit the town. A few beers and some cocktails and now you find yourself at Taco Bell eating 2500 calories in a sitting. Saturday brings the hang over so Gatorade and a greasy breakfast it is and Saturday night is a repeat of Friday. So now the 2000 calorie deficit from the week has not only been erased, but surpassed by the extra 5000 calories you consumed on the weekend. Now do you see why you haven’t seen any changes? Have your fun, but if you are serious about your goals, you must do it responsibly.
You may have seen yourself in one or more of these common pitfalls, and that’s ago. Knowing some of the reasons that can cause your setbacks creates an awareness around your daily life and only once we are aware can we make the necessary changes. You are not alone! But with some solid goal setting and discipline, you can actually use the next 365 days and beyond to be the best version of you.