In the past 15 years in the industry as a personal trainer, I have seen people sign up for gym memberships and fitness programs only to fall off the bandwagon because they don’t see the benefits of working out. Here are the most common training mistakes I’ve noticed and why they should be avoided –
1. Being too eager
In the first chapter of almost every personal trainer manual, the content is always about how important it is to set goals.
Being committed to your goals is a good start. But if you are a beginner and spend 2-3 hours of training in the gym each day, your training can be counter productive, leaving you exhausted, discouraged, and potentially injured. Your body starts producing greater amounts of the hormone cortisol as your workout approaches the hour mark. A certain amount of this is normal and beneficial, but too much cortisol and it will eat away at your muscles and health, negating all the good work you’ve been doing. As you get more experienced, your capacity for hard work will definitely rise, but until then, it’s important to stay within your limits.
2. Skipping your strength training.
Your primary training focus should be devoted to building a foundation of strength with classic movements like squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, bench presses etc. These compound exercises will help you build muscle all over your body, because they demand that many muscle groups work as a unit. Standing moves like the squat and overhead press also help to stabilize the torso.
You will also be lifting more weight when doing compound movements versus isolation exercises. This will make your body release more growth hormone, which is essential to building muscle and staying youthful. Look at me. Can you tell that I’m actually 75 years old? I joke I joke.
3. Trying to mimic the pros
Pro athletes have coaches that plan workouts for THEM. Their workout was not planned for you. It probably has exercises prescribed for them to fix their weaknesses. Weaknesses that you may not have. So it would not be advisable to follow a program you grab off the Internet without understanding it.
Pro athletes also do nothing but train, eat and sleep. They can spend hours in the gym and more importantly, hours on recovery. But most of us have jobs/school to attend. And thus following their routine schedule might not be a great idea, no matter how dedicated you are. More is not always better.
4. Using machines
The most obvious way to grow is by mastering barbell, dumbbell, and cable movements. Some exercises can be done on every one of these implements; each provides a slightly different growth stimulus.
Machines have their place. You can use them to fix an imbalance, do auxiliary exercises and my personal favourite use for them – hanging my gym towel.
5. Not changing your workouts.
If you’re not getting results, you need to make changes. This could be exercise selection, load, volume, intensity, technique, or even the overall makeup and configuration of your training. Making these changes to your workout has the added benefit of keeping you mentally fresh as well. Don’t change them like you change clothes though. Give the changes you make some time to work before you ditch them for another program or scheme. Put it this way, you can’t be doing 90% of your max rep the whole year round.
6. Not resting enough
There’s only one part of the workout where the rest periods are kept really short. That’s during the METCON. During the strength component, you can rest anything between 3 and 7 minutes. Why? Because you want to do good reps. Not raise your heart rate. So the answer as to ‘why’ is simply this – why not?
7. Not acknowledging pain.
“ Pain is weakness leaving the body”
This is actually a pretty foolish statement because it is actually the opposite. When you are in pain, you can’t perform/train as well because the pain will be hindering proper movement. Never ignore pain. If you have an abnormal pain, find out what is causing it and get it treated or fixed before you move on. Ignoring pain can lead to a permanent injury that will shorten your lifespan as an athlete or trainee.
“ Pain is weakness entering the body”
If you aren’t making any of these mistakes in the gym, good on you. If you need any help, contact us and enquire about our personal training programs.