1.Not Being Consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to progress. Without consistency, your body has no reason to adapt. The Arnold Schwarzenegger adage of constantly ‘shocking’ your body in order to keep it guessing and, therefore, get better results is, unfortunately, untrue.
If you want to increase your muscle mass then you need to keep one thing as a priority: progressive overload. Increasing the amount of weight you lift over time will be the primary contributor towards increasing the size of your muscles.
If your goal is fat loss then you need to keep a regular amount of workouts in your routine. You can’t keep missing workouts because you’re ‘not in the mood’ or ‘can’t be bothered.’ A lot of people make the excuse that they ‘don’t have time’ when they do but haven’t scheduled it in properly.
Keep consistent and work hard. Your training should become an important part of your life. Not so much that you’re missing out on social events or have no friends because you’re always at the gym, but exercise is healthy and good for you and, therefore, needs importance placed upon it.
Consistency is great but without a proper plan you won’t be getting the best results possible. Turning up to the gym is a great first step but once you’re there you can’t just do whatever you want to do, you need a good routine.
First, identify the goal that you want to achieve. Is to become more toned? More muscular? Leaner? Perform better? Just get healthier? Once you have identified your goal then it’s easier to reach your goal.
You should break your training down into 8-week cycles, adjusting them according to how you perform in these periods. Focus on short term goals of 8 weeks such as increasing the weight on a specific movement, losing a certain amount of weight, or reaching a certain target. Then, you need slightly longer 6-month goals and yearly goals. These smaller goals mean that you’re getting that sense of achievement often which is motivational and should spur you on.
Once you have your goals you need to come up with a routine for each day you hit the gym. Write it up in a notebook or on the notes section of your phone so you can take it with you. Then, stick to it.
3.Letting A Bad Workout Get You Down
You can’t let a bad workout derail your longer term plan. We all have times where we hit the gym and don’t quite get as many reps as we wanted, can’t run as far or do as much as we thought we could. Yet, you can’t just label yourself a failure and let that wreck the rest of your training.
When that detrimental mindset kicks in don’t quit. After your workout has finished, go home and get some rest. You may simply not be as recovered as you thought you were. Sleep is incredibly important, aim for 7-9 hours every night and go to bed between 10-11pm.
4.Not Making Nutrition A Priority
For any body composition goal, your diet is going to be 80% of the battle. Normally people treat it as an optional supplementary part of their goal when in fact your calorie and macronutrient (fats, carbohydrates and protein) numbers will make a dramatic difference on your eventual goal.
Nutrition, like training, takes planning and consistency. Choosing when and where you hit your macronutrients and calories will get you nowhere.
There are plenty of online calculators to help you determine how much of what you should be eating. As a general rule, multiplying your weight in pounds by 15 will give you your basal metabolic rate. This is how many calories you need to eat each day just to maintain your current weight. If you want to lose weight, take off 200 calories from this amount. If you want to gain weight then add 200 calories. Test out these numbers for a month and see what happens. If you’re not gaining/losing weight then add/subtract a further 100 calories to/from your BMR.
Also, the type of food you eat will have a huge impact. Healthy eating isn’t just a fad it needs to be a priority. Aim to eat healthy foods 80% of the time and save that remaining 20% for social events where you can enjoy the food in a fun environment with your friends or family. Your exercise and diet, though important, shouldn’t take over your life.