If you’ve started working out and have hit a plateau, I have some simple solutions to common problems that I have witnessed and overcome myself, in my 16+ years of training.
We are constantly bombarded by what the most effective workout is, the best workout products to buy, and countless supplements to give you a better workout. I’m NOT talking about any of that, but I am going to share with you practical and easy to change steps to ensure that you are making the most of your workouts. Let’s jump right into 6 things you can look for in your training regimen to make sure you maximize your time and energy!
Mistake 1 — No Specific Goal Set
This is all too common and I think the main reason is, it’s easy to overlook. A lot of times we know that we want to lose weight or we want to get stronger or be healthier, but that’s not specific enough and therefore it’s hard to gauge progress and stay consistent when you have no real outcome in mind. Let’s just take saving money as an example. You can say I want to save money, and that sounds great, but if you don’t have a specific goal in mind, saving money will drop down on your priority list. Whereas if I say, I want to save $2000 to take a trip to the beach, I have a specific goal in mind. This makes it much easier to keep that goal in focus. Having a health goal is the same, too broad and it’s really hard to make the changes you need to achieve the result
Easy Fix — Get specific with your goal
If you have one really big goal, for example, lose 50 lbs, break that down into smaller/attainable goals each month. This will ensure that you have your mindset in the right space to help you achieve that goal! Writing your goals, workouts, and anything additional to keep you on track is also super helpful! If you are looking for a free fitness journal template, you can get that here!
Mistake 2 — Following the same exact workout day after day
This is something that I’ve witnessed so often and myself was victim to before I gained the knowledge I have now. Let me give you an example from my past self. I would wake up go to the gym and get on an elliptical for 45 minutes almost daily. I completely hit a plateau and was so confused! How could this be?! I never skip a workout and I am consistent! While consistency is key, doing the exact same thing day after day with no change in intensity, duration, or resistance will not produce any worthwhile changes, that’s not to say that it’s not a great habit to get into! If you’re not looking for changes and enjoy doing the same activity, then doing the same thing is perfectly fine! However, if you are working towards a change in doing the same thing over and over won’t get you there.
Easy Fix — Mix things up
Even if you are on the bike for a majority of your workouts, that’s fine! The important thing is that you mix it up! For example, work heavy climbs one day, add a HIIT bike workout in, and include a sprint-focused session! This is an awesome way to mix it up, but do what you love! This goes for resistance training too! If you really want to get stronger, you will have to mix things up with heavier weight, varied working times, and a variety of exercises.
Mistake 3 — Not taking enough rest
Rest days are just as important as training days! Rest days are actually when your body builds and gets stronger from the hard work you’ve been putting in! I do understand the struggling of feeling like all of your hard work will go down the drain with one rest day, but really and truly your body is doing so much on your day off!
Easy Fix — Take a rest and enjoy it!
Pretty simple and straightforward! If you are having a hard time determining what your training schedule should look like, this blog might help! Although it specifies indoor cycling, it can relate to any workout! Your body definitely deserves the rest if you have been sticking with your workouts. And don’t worry, you won’t lose any of the gains you’ve made with a rest day! However, if you don’t take proper rest, you could find yourself at risk for injury, burnout, and even mental exhaustion and this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to overtraining!
Mistake 4 — Focusing only on calories burned
I get it, it’s awesome to see a huge number in the calorie burned section of your watch after you’ve completed a workout, but workouts are so much more than a number! With that said, there is certainly nothing wrong with tracking calories, this can be great to help you track, just don’t base your entire workout on reaching a specific number. There are numerous mental and physical health benefits associated with working out. Not to mention, if you are only tracking a number, you may be pushing yourself too hard during your workout, or you may even be holding yourself back! You also might be skipping resistance training because the caloric burn is relatively low vs. a moderately intense cardio session, but we are going to talk more about this in mistake 6!
Easy Fix — Skip the calorie counting watch for a session or two a week and acknowledge all of the benefits that come from your workout
I know this can be easier said than done because it feels pretty good when your watch buzzes and notifies you that you hit a new record on the bike, but disconnecting for a bit can be a beautiful thing! Even if the watch doesn’t know you completed a workout, I promise, your body will!
Mistake 5 — Bad Form
This of course had to be on the list! I am a FORM FREAK, whether it is on the bike for a cycling class, out for a run, lifting weights, form is seriously important! If you don’t have the proper form you will be at risk for injury, certain muscles might not be firing appropriately, and you could even be making the exercise harder than it needs to be.
Easy Fix — Focus on correct form
If you’re not sure if you have the proper form for a certain exercise, try and find a reliable coach or trainer to evaluate the exercise in question. A mirror can also come in handy if you are following a video or article online. Helpful tips to pay attention to will be things like what muscles you should feel working, what the range of motion is, and hand or foot placement (depending on the exercise).
Mistake 6 — Only doing cardio and/or skipping certain muscle groups in your strength routine
This may go against what you’ve heard in the past, but cardio is not the best way to lose fat. I know! It seems crazy, you can burn loads during a cardio session, but including resistance training into your workout routine is an amazing way not only to boost fat loss, if that’s what you’re working towards but build muscular strength and tone your muscles as well. Resistance training has other amazing benefits such as a slight boost to your metabolism, longer calorie burn after your workout is over, more muscle mass, a confidence boost, increased bone density, and decreased risk for injury! Those were just a few of the benefits too! If you are already doing resistance training but you are skipping muscle groups on the regular, that can put lead to muscular imbalances which are not all that fun to correct!
Easy Fix — Find a resistance program that works for you
There are so many options when it comes to building muscle. You can use free weights, kettlebells, suspension trainers, machines, bands, I’ll stop there, but as you can see there are tons of options to choose from! I know that using a new piece of exercise equipment can be intimidating, however, taking the time to discover this area of fitness is completely worth it! What’s awesome is having affordable and useful gym equipment at home is so accessible now! If you are looking to get into resistance training, you can join me here, and here is a peek into my Amazon store with everything we use for our training sessions!
Those are the 6 mistakes you might be making in your fitness routine and why you may not be seeing the results you want! There are more out there, these are just common oversights I’ve noticed others and myself experience!
Don’t forget, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, a healthy mindset, and consistency are non-negotiable when it comes to maintaining a fit, happy, and healthy lifestyle! But, if you have hit a plateau, take a look at your routine and see if you might need to make a change! If you notice more than one you’d like to work on, take it slow and work for one change at a time!
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