EIGHT REASONS YOU’RE NOT SEEING RESULTS AT THE GYM
By Julian Gaylor
If you are finding that you are not getting the results that you would like, maybe it’s due to one (or more) of the reasons below.
1. You don’t have a specific goal
We all go to the gym for a reason. Common reasons include ‘To lose weight’, ‘To get fitter/stronger’ or ‘To build more muscle’. If you are serious about getting results, these goals are not specific enough. Give yourself a deadline. For example, if your aim is to change your body weight, make it specific by saying ‘I want to gain/lose 5 kgs in the next 6 weeks’.
2. You don’t keep a training journal
A training journal is your road map to results. If you don’t keep one, you don’t know where you’re going or how fast you are getting there. A training journal can be a program sheet written up by a trainer or your own gym diary. You need to fill this out every session. Write down what exercises you did, how many sets, reps and the weight lifted. For cardio sessions, depending on the machine you use, write down the time, speed, distance, incline or resistance. Because you are documenting your sessions, you know exactly what you have done in each workout and therefore, can try and improve each session.
3. You undo all your good work by not eating well
So many people sweat it out in the gym and give it their all but then go and sabotage themselves by eating badly. The most common problem is with those trying lose weight. If you come to the gym and work hard, but then leave the gym only to continue on with your poor diet, sure the exercise might help a little but if you are still making poor nutritional choices and eating WAY too much, chances are your weight will stay the same or even continue to rise! The worst part is, not only do some people not change their diet, but because they are working so hard in the gym they feel the need to reward themselves with a little treat in the form of fast food, chocolate, cake, alcohol etc. Chances are this little treat is a calorie bomb which has more calories than they actually burn in the gym (possibly in the whole week!) which more than counteracts all the hard work they do in the gym.
4. You’re doing the same workout you were doing 2 months ago
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result- It?s an old adage that’s been beaten to death but is still relevant. You may not realize it but our bodies are smart and lazy machines. If you do the same exercises repeatedly, the body will find the most efficient way of completing them. This is bad news because it means when our bodies become more efficient it will be harder to lose weight or gain muscle, strength, and cardiovascular fitness. Keep your body guessing by starting a new program or even doing your program in the opposite order. If you do 30mins on the treadmill, do 25mins at a higher speed or use a different machine altogether!
5. You are not consistent with your training
It?s not about what you do SOME of the time, it?s what you do MOST of the time. Missing a rare session here and there is ok but when you start to miss sessions every week, you are seriously hindering your ability to make progress. Let?s do some quick math here- There’s twenty-four hours in a day, yes? Ok, so if there?s seven days in a week that’s a total of one hundred and sixty-eight hours. Still following? Good. Doing three- one hour session a week is a whopping 1.78% of your whole week. Is that too much to spare?
6. You?re exercising too much
Here?s the opposite of #5 They say too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Exercise is no different. Training too hard, too often can actually hinder your ability to make progress. When training in the gym, you put your body under a lot of stress (good stress). When weightlifting you actually damage your muscles and make micro-tears in them. When you are resting, the muscles repair and rebuild bigger and stronger so in actual fact, you don’t get bigger and stronger in the gym, you get bigger and stronger when you are resting. This means if you don’t rest enough, you don’t give your muscles enough time to repair and recover which leaves you prone to injury and can make you smaller and weaker! Even when you train different body parts each day, it still taxes your body as a whole so it still needs time to recover.
The same can be said for cardio training. When putting in a hard cardio session, it taxes your whole body. Among other things, your immune system becomes suppressed as all your bodies resources are trying to help you recover from the intense exercise. This really isn’t a big problem as your body returns to its normal state after time but if you continually put your body under intense stress and don’t allow for sufficient recovery time, you will gradually run yourself into the ground and exercise will become less productive and less enjoyable! I even take a whole week off from training every 8- 12 weeks. I actually find i come back more motivated and stronger as I’ve let my body fuller rest and recover!
7. You’re not pushing yourself hard enough
As with everything in life, if you want to truly succeed you need to get out of your comfort zone. It’s no different in the gym. If you want to see results, you must challenge your body and give it a reason to change! Now with that said, I don’t want you to train so hard that you are at the point of literal exhaustion. That’s just dangerous and actually has adverse effects on your body. With that said, chances are when you think you are working your hardest, you are actually nowhere near your maximum potential. The reason you think you couldn’t possibly put anymore effort in is because you’ve never tried to! Next time you are exercising, put the treadmill up an extra 0.5km/h or go for another 30 seconds. When weight training and you think you’re done try squeezing another one or two reps out. Dig deep! You might surprise yourself.
8. You’re weightlifting with your ego, not your brain.
Ever notice that the biggest guys in the gym or those with the best muscle tone don’t lift the heaviest weights? That?s because they lift smart and target the right muscles. In general, most people who lift weights do so with the intention of improving their lean muscle mass. Unfortunately, it is an all too frequent occurrence that people let their ego get in the way and get caught up in worrying more about the amount of weight they are lifting rather than the technique they use. When lifting with bad technique you usually bring other muscles into the movement which then takes all the stress of the desired muscles. For example, if someone is doing a bicep curl with too much weight, they will usually swing their upper body and bring the shoulders into the movement. This means that the muscles in the back and the deltoids (shoulder muscles) are doing a lot of the work rather than the biceps.
You’ll get better results lifting a lighter weight with good form that really targets the desired muscles than a heavier weight with bad form. Remember- it’s not how much you lift, it’s how much you look like you can lift!