As we are drawing further and further from January (A.K.A. the New Year’s Resolutions Month), more and more people are giving up on their fitness goals and falling victim to the downward spiral of the aftermath of the New Year hype.
Consistency is the key to success but it requires motivation and persistence. And the only way to experience motivation is to experience results. So here are the 6 most common mistakes you are likely making that are wounding those results and bleeding your motivation dry!
1. You Are Full Of Excuses Once The New Year Hype Is Over!
Believe it or not, not everyone in the world is super excited to train hard each and every day. In fact, it is a very small percentage of us that are crazy enough to enjoy the daily pain and agony of pushing it to the limit. But that does not mean you can’t stay focused too! Just like waking up for work every day, you need to make the gym a part of your weekly routine. Convince yourself that no matter what, you need to go to the gym 3 – 4 times a week. The key is to not think about it. Just like when you wake-up and put on your work clothes before work, you need to just grab your water bottle and gym bag and do your training.
Try to find ways to continuously motivate yourself to stick with your goals. Maybe you enjoy listening to music in the car or while you are getting ready at home. Maybe scrolling through social media photos and tips helps you get in the mood to train. Or maybe it could be as simple as hanging photos on your wall of people who you look up to or wish to obtain a similar physique.
Whatever you do, always remember that no matter how tough life gets there are always other people out there going through the same struggle. Stress from work, a family to take care of, car trouble, and even traveling. We all have to deal with the same situations and no matter what if you stay focused you will make the time you need to go to the gym and accomplish your goals.
2. Your Workout Is Not Focused On Continuously Challenging Yourself
Many of us fall into this habit of thinking that just because we went to the gym and left feeling tired and sore that we had a great workout session. Now if you are a beginner you will experience “newbie gains” very quickly. These are gains that will happen regardless of what your diet and training program is like because a change has happened in your lifestyle. You are now ACTIVE! But after these gains wear off, which usually takes 3 – 4 weeks, if you are not continuously pushing yourself with your training you will plateau very quickly and that goes for both muscle/strength gain and fat loss. Each week you should be trying to add more weight to your lifts, more reps and sets, or shortening your rest periods. Even if you add just ONE POUND to a set you are still working harder than the week before. So continuously push yourself for continuous results!
3. You Are Not Honest With Yourself About What You Are Eating
How many times have you convinced yourself that you had enough protein for the day because you drank that ONE protein shake in the morning and ate some chicken for lunch or dinner? Sound familiar? How about those of you who justify eating loads of junk food because you plan to do 20 minutes of cardio later or because you are “bulking”?
Calories are calories and if you are not paying attention to what you are eating you are going to either not eat enough food or, more commonly, overeat. Everything that goes into your mouth needs to be accounted for. Even that pumpkin spice caramel mocha-latte you have in the morning before work and after work on the way to the gym. You need structure if you are going to reach your goals and you DO have to hold yourself accountable for eating foods that have nutritional value. Period
4. You Are STUBBORN & Close-Minded
Do not think that just because you saw some results with ONE diet and training program that you have found the golden ticket for reaching your goals. Remember when we talked about newbie gains? If you are just starting to train, either as a beginner or if you have taken a lot of time off, you will see results from almost any program and if you are a stubborn and close-minded person you may not pay enough attention to your body to know that your results have tapered off and you need to switch things up.
Understand that technology is always advancing and studies are being done on training and diet techniques that you need to be aware of to take your results to the next level and if you are no longer seeing results, you need to try something different.
For example, if you are training with a tradition bodyweight split and your results have tapered off., maybe it is time to switch to a “push, pull, legs” split or a program like “5x5”. If you are no longer seeing results in terms of fat loss or muscle gain and you are on a high protein diet, maybe try something new like carb cycling. It just comes down to always being aware of your body and being willing to try something new until you find the right program and diet to maximize your results.
5. You Don’t Have A Plan – Going Through The Motions
For those of you who have been lifting for a while, you have a general idea of what a workout should look like and do not really plan your workouts. You might have specific days for specific muscle groups, but you do not really have a plan for which exercise you are going to do. How many sets, how many reps, what your rest periods will be like and you do not really remember everything you did the week before.
Because of this there really is no measure of progress with your workout plan. You need to have a 6 – 8 week plan and you need to see results with that plan. If you do not, you have no way to measure progress to see if the plan is actually working for you. But if you are structured, now you can determine if that style of training works, if you should stick with it or if you need to change your plan.
Lastly, a structured workout plan holds you ACCOUNTABLE and this is the most important point here. You will mental push yourself harder if you have a written plan and you will be less distracted and more focused than you ever thought possible. So get on a PLAN!
6. You Think You Need To Eat Big To Get Big
This is the biggest misconception when it comes to “bulking” and growing stronger. Eating MORE does not automatically grow muscle tissue. What usually ends up happening when you start to eat everything in sight, as opposed to counting calories and macros, is that you end up with big arms with a big belly. Now it is true that this looks great in t-shirts and sweaters, but not so much shirtless. Now if a big belly and arms that are only big because you have a higher body fat percentage is the look you are going for, that is your personal choice and you should do it. But if you want to grow muscle without packing on loads of fat, all you need to pay close attention to your diet. It is VERY possible to maintain your abs while bulking by eating clean and gradually increasing your daily calories throughout your bulk. Do not let anyone convince you otherwise!
Bonus Reason - Your Mind Is Not Right
Perhaps this is not just a bonus reason, but the MAIN reason why most people are having trouble reaching the goals they set back in New Year’s. Their mind is not right. They are not seeing clearly enough, they are not focused on their goals and most importantly, they are not persistent enough to fight through their failures and mistakes and get the results they seek.
So, try not do not fall victim to the 6 mistakes mentioned above, but before you go changing your meal plan or training schedule, make sure you have a game plan and as always…get your mind right.