Have you been pounding your body for weeks on end at the gym with minimum results? Perhaps you’ve been toiling hard for months but you’ve seen little shift from fat to muscle? What are you doing wrong? Why is your gym-buddy so much stronger and leaner than you are? There are mistakes that you could be making, preventing you from building the muscle you long for. Read on to find out the 5 reasons why you may not be getting the results you want from your training and start ringing the changes today!
You’re Working the Wrong Muscles at the Wrong Time
What’s the first exercise you do when weight-training? If you’re starting off your session with bicep curl it’s likely you need to make some changes – luckily, it’s easy to switch up your exercise routine. This type of exercise works one muscle in isolation; it’s usually better to perform solitary muscle exercises towards the end of a workout. When you do larger compound movements when fresh, it increases the potential for “hypertrophy”, this is when the muscle grows. So, it’s best to begin your work-out session with compound lifts like a bench press or squat. The body needs to use more muscle groups for these types of exercises. Work from Deadlifts, pull-ups or bent over rows to lat-pull downs, seated rows and then onto isolation exercise such as bicep curls. This way, you’re more likely to build overall body strength.
You’re Speeding Through your Repetitions
Avoid rushing your reps! In your mind, you may think you have to complete 6, 8, 10, or 12 reps and psychologically – the quicker you do them, the quicker its over! To grow muscle you often need to do your reps slower, with control and give your muscles time to pump up the blood to flow taking as long as 40-70 sec to complete a set. For strength training you can lower that time to 20-40 seconds which will help increase strength and allow you to lift heavier. Unless you have a specific goal that requires it, maintain the pace. Don’t speed up as you see the end goal approaching. Make every second count.
You Get Distracted by your Phone
Your phone can seriously ruin your training session! In fact, it’s probably best to lock it away when you’re in the gym. Yes, it’s good for listening to music but as soon as a message pops up or an important work email arrives it’s easy to get distracted. Even if you manage to avoid answering, it’s in-mind and can subconsciously reduce concentration so you just want to get your work-out done and get back to your phone! The only distraction you should have is time to sip water and change your weights. The effects of texting while training are documented in this study from Kent State University where it was found that it reduces the heart rate View Here. The only thing your hands should be doing is lifting weights. Also, touching your phone during training just transfers germs – apparently, according to the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, gym dumbbells carry 365 more germs than a toilet seat! Yuck.
You’re Not Eating the Right Food
If you don’t eat the right food when training your body, you’ll unlikely to get the most benefit out of it. Lots of people start their day with a gym-session, which is great, but good nutrition is key and if you’re not eating enough, your body won’t have anything to work with and lowers the intensity of your training! For a morning workout, start with a slow release food like porridge or if you train fasted ensure you have the appropriate nutrition the night before. If you train late, you should still start your day with a good slow-release food and eat plenty of protein during the day, keeping your carb intake steady (and avoiding processed foods and refined sugars). Eating a high quality meal 1hr 30min to 2 hours before is a good rule of thumb, just ensure there is time for the food to digest and fullness has passed before training.
You Don’t Track your Progress
You should always track your gym sessions. Plan your sessions and review past sessions. You could put together a 4 to 12 week routine. Speak to a qualified trainer or read around reliable sources of info about what’s best to reach your goals and review it regularly to see if it’s meeting your needs. Many people just stick with the same gym session week in, week out and while they see results initially, in the long-term the body gets used to what it’s doing and needs more of a challenge to progress whether for endurance, muscle growth or general fitness.