As a lifetime fitness enthusiast and trainer for the past 12 years, I have a lot of empathy for people out there who are working their butt off at the gym but not seeing results. There’s a lot of information about fitness out there leading you in 1000 different directions. I’ve been there! It’s hard to know the best kind of exercise to get to where you want to be.
I especially find this common among people who are just starting out, but even among athletes with very specific performance and aesthetic goals. They want to build muscle, lose fat, get stronger, and/or improve their level of fitness. But they just can’t seem to get there.
After years of education as well as troubleshooting with myself and with clients, it’s clear that there are 3 common behaviors that are holding most people back from those results they want.
#1 – Shiny Object Syndrome.
Does this sound familiar? You see a workout on Instagram or Pinterest, and the person doing it looks fit, so you give that a try. But, next week you then switch to someone else’s workouts…and, in the end, you don’t stick to one plan for long. It’s not that these workouts don’t work, but by not focusing on one specific goal at a time and spending a consistent amount of time working toward it, you will end up not hitting any goals.
Some people may mislead you and say that you can build muscle, lose fat, and improve your fitness all at the same time. But even if you could, do you think it is possible to achieve all three effectively? Definitely not.
The best way to reach your goals is to focus on one goal at a time. We talk in more detail about this here, BLOG. But in a nutshell, the best way to smash your goals is to spend a cycle dedicated to each one. If you want to get stronger, spend a cycle focused solely on strength, not trying to diet and do a bunch of cardio to lose fat at the same time. When this seems like it may take longer, you’re right, but it will also yield better results. The multitasking approach will just lead to mediocre results in less time.
If you’re not sure how to create these cycles, check out our pre-made workout programs for where these cycles are built in for you. WORKOUT PLANS
# 2 – Not following the true concept of a training method.
Consider these scenarios:
You want to get stronger but you’re not really pushing as hard as you could, thus not progressing as you should.
You want to build your shoulders but you only work them once a week, or you only do 3 delt-specific exercises.
You’re supposed to do high intensity interval training (HIIT), but you’re really doing high intensity training (HIT).
A workout calls for an RPE 8, but you could have pushed yourself to doing RPE 9-10.
Ultimately, there are 3 training parameters to consider & you have to understand what they mean and align them with your goals.
Intensity: Refers to how hard a lift is, not how much you sweat or how much your muscles burn. Intensity is the key to increasing your strength and power. Underestimating your ability behind your efforts in your workouts could be your downfall. Believe it or not, learning how to gauge your efforts in a workout is an important skill to to master if you want success in the gym. Having a buddy or a trainer there to provide you support and encouragement is a great way to build this up.
Intensity in conditioning workouts is a little different, but still refers to how hard it is to perform. True HIIT, for example, should leave you breathless and gasping in 10 -15 seconds. You should give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of an exercise, followed by short, sometimes active recovery periods. This is why interval or circuit training are not considered examples of a true HIIT workout. So, if a protocol calls for HIIT, do true HIIT.
Frequency: The amount of workouts you perform each week. Maybe it’s time to change up the order the workouts are scheduled. For example, if you’re working out 2 days/week, you would need to increase your frequency by adding on 1-2 workouts throughout the week. Frequency also pertains to how often in a week you work a certain muscle group.
Weight progression: Or progressive overload. Meaning, you must strive to increase the workload on the muscle over time. There are so many methods to go about doing this, but regardless of what method you choose, it needs to be done effectively in order to see strength & muscle gains. For example, you could increase the weight set by set or you can change the amount of reps to be performed set by set.
Here’s what that would look like:
- Chest Press: Set 1: 100lb, Set 2: 105lb, Set 3: 110lb (increase weight set by set)
- Chest Press: Set 1: 10 reps, Set: 15 reps, Set 3: 20 reps (Increase reps set by set)
# 3 – Ignoring your Internal Health
Say you have applied all or most of these concepts but are still not seeing the results you want. You’ve even dialed in nutrition and are still struggling.
Perhaps, it’s time to take a closer look on what’s going on internally. Meaning, taking a look at the condition of your gut microbiome, how well your metabolism is working, or how efficient your digestive tract is with breaking down the foods that you’re eating.
Sometimes there can be issues or imbalances that are not obvious. Take, for example, one of our clients, Sam. When Sam came to work with us, she had struggled with weight loss for years. She had been trying to change her body composition via several nutrition regimens that included trying a vegan diet or low carb diet with little success. She had committed to taking morning walks to optimize her circadian rhythm and hormones for several months, and, of course, she picked up strength training with us. Working with us, Sam saw some success losing several inches but then she plateaued, and on top of all that, she was always feeling very sore and fatigued. This was a clue to us that there was something deeper going on.
So, we had Sam take our Metabolic Assessment Test. The test provides a comprehensive snapshot of several aspects of the body that can affect hormones and body composition. It looks at vitamin and hormone metabolism, gut imbalances, inflammation markers, nutritional and antioxidant deficiencies and how well your body metabolizes food. Overall 76 markers are explored in the test!
Sam didn’t have any digestive complaints, but the metabolic assessment test indicated she had a yeast overgrowth, which disrupts your hormones & inhibits your ability to lose fat. She also learned that her body does not metabolize fat very well either! So her attempts to limit carbs and increase fat to improve body composition were working against her. After our Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist provided a plan to remedy these issues, Sam went on to lose 15 lbs, felt more energized and no longer felt excessively sore and fatigued. She managed to do all of this while using daily walks as her sole form of exercise!
So, when you find yourself feeling like a hamster on a wheel working hard but not going anywhere, stop and assess these 3 behaviors that may be inhibiting your plan. We guarantee that if you fix these, you’ll start seeing results in no time.
If you want a more personalized approach to achieve more results, then I highly recommend joining our online coaching group, THE STRENGTH SOCIETY. To learn more (click here).
The Strength Society provides so much value because you’re basically getting everything you would get from a one-on-one training session. It’s easy on your wallet and you’ll have the support from a trainer in your corner to answer questions, clarify any technical issues in your workouts and much more.
You’ll have a whole community of like-minded people with a common goal and provide you additional support.
If you’re curious to learn more about THE STRENGTH SOCIETY, click here!