Everyday, millions of people decide they want to get in better shape.
Some want to lose fat.
Some want to build muscle.
Some want to get as strong as humanly possible.
And then there are people who just want to be able to play with their kids, and improve their qualities of life by improving their fitness levels.
In this article, I’m going to discuss the most common problems I see people making in pursuit of their fitness goals. In no particular order here they are:
1) Lack of Consistency
Being consistent is often the key to succeeding with a particular task.
Think back to high school or college for a moment. Remember when your teacher or professor would announce a test to the class, usually at least a week or so in advance?
This would give you enough time to prepare and go over the material you needed to know in order to ace the test.
But what did I do too many times?
I waited until the last minute to start preparing.
Instead of being consistent with my study habits leading up to the test, I often waited until the day before to cram all that information into my head.
Can you guess what happened when I practiced better study habits and became more consistent?
My test grades improved remarkably. And my mom wasn’t mad at me anymore for waiting until the last minute to study.
This nostalgic analogy is very similar to achieving your fitness goals.
Just about everyone is gung-ho when starting a new exercise routine or diet plan.
And that’s great!
Many people quickly fall off because they lack consistency. They start out full steam ahead but do not fully realize the efforts needed to achieve their goals.
It’s super duper important to understand that consistency is really what separates decent results from phenomenal results.
Day after day for months and months, the overall consistency has to be there. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life and have a meal out, attend social gatherings, or heck, even skip a workout.
Consistency over months and months is what is going to give you the best results no matter what your goals are.
Take my awesome online coaching client, Shanti for example. He lost 10 lbs over the course of several months to improve his body composition and make him a leaner and stronger version of himself. He was consistent in the long run and it definitely shows!
The fact is, you’ve got to put in enough consistent effort over time in order to see the best results.
And that’s what I hope you are striving for.
Why wouldn’t you want to get the best results you possibly could?
I sure as heck don’t want average results. I wouldn’t expect you to want that either.
Keep the principle of consistency in your vision as you move closer and closer towards your goals.
2) Not Having a Plan
If you want to make the most progress you possibly can, having a guideline, or a plan of action can help keep you on the right path.
For example, if you say you want to lose weight but don’t really change any of your current dietary or lifestyle habits, chances are you won’t see much in return.
If you need some direction and help with planning your workout routine, head over to my online coaching page.
This “map” should include all components that will affect your progress in one way or another. This includes training, nutrition, recovery, stress, schedule, social life and work as well.
All of these various factors are important because they all contribute to the common goal, whether it’s fat loss, muscle gain, or improved performance.
Make sure you’ve got your map before you begin your journey.
3) Over Commitment
This is a huge mistake I see many eager beavers make.
A person is so intent on making a change that they over commit to what they time for.
Now don’t get me wrong. I LOVE when a prospective client is pumped up about starting their training and diet plan.
But please be realistic with yourself and commit to what you know you know you can commit to.
If your schedule is crazy busy, and you know for a fact you would not be able to get in 4-5 days of training in a week, don’t commit to that.
Instead, be honest with yourself knowing that you can realistically only get to the gym 2-3 times a week to do your weight training.
You will see much better progress being consistent (there’s that word again) training 2-3 days per week rather than committing to 4-5 days per week but missing half of those sessions every week.
*This concept also applies to life outside the gym as well. Your friends and family will definitely appreciate when you have to say no to something rather than saying yes and then not following through.
So, be honest with yourself and commit to what you can. Then put in 100% effort along the way.
4) Focusing on Too Many Goals at Once
A hugeeeee mistake that can actually prevent you from making progress is picking too many goals to accomplish at once.
Instead of trying to lose serious body fat, build maximum muscle and learn how to juggle all at once, try picking the one that is most important to you and dedicate a certain period of time to that one area.
If you pick too many aspects to work on what you end up getting is sub-par results.
This won’t really allow you to maximize progress in one specific aspect of fitness.
If you’ve got extra body fat you’d like to lose, start with a fat loss phase. Check out these tips to help you lose body fat.
Conversely, if your goal is to gain mass and put on some serious muscle, you’re better served eating more calories while trying to do so than restricting your calories because you don’t want to gain any fat.
Once you know your primary goal, put all of your efforts into maximizing progress in that one area. Then once you have reached the desired level for that area, then you can decide to focus on another goal.
5) Following Fad Diets
Gluten free. Fat free. Paleo. Mediterranean. Low fat. Low carb. Atkins.
There’s a million and one “diets” out there.
Some have aspects that are good. Some have things that make me question life LOL.
For example, focusing on whole food sources for the majority of your intake is probably a good idea. Avoiding carbs at nighttime, not eating gluten, and only eating exactly what our paleolithic cavemen ancestors ate is probably not the best route to success.
Try to avoid the trap that is fad dieting by learning more about a particular diet before jumping right in.
Just because so and so celebrity follows a certain “diet” doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good or will help you to reach your goals.
A particular diet should be something that you can follow regardless of how busy your life gets.
Yes, if you are cutting, the diet will more than likely get harder the leaner you get because you will have to eat less calories to get even leaner than you currently are.
You should be able to rotate cutting, massing, and maintenance phases throughout the year to fully maximize body composition changes.
You most certainly want a nutrition plan that fits your goals and your lifestyle. If you want to maximize your progress, be sure to check out my nutrition coaching program.
6) Your Training Style Doesn’t Match Your Goals
I’ve certainly fallen victim to this before.
I thought, man, if I just get a lot stronger I will surely be way more muscular. Right?
Well, not necessarily.
It wasn’t until I dedicated several months to hypertrophy training that my physique really started to improve.
The point is, the type of training you are doing should be getting you closer to your goals, not further away.
If you want to lose body fat, your training should be geared towards doing so. Same goes for building muscle. Both of these are best served utilizing hypertrophy phases, which are blocks of training that are higher volume in nature.
If your goal is to get as strong as possible, then you might want to follow a hypertrophy, strength, and peaking progression to fully display your strength.
For fat loss, muscle gain, and strength, a steady dose of barbell and dumbbell lifts would be a great place to start.
If you’re playing around on wobbly boards and slinging the cable machine handles in every direction thinking you’re gaining strength, then you won’t be making the most out of your gym time.
Maybe your goal is to complete a 5k. Your training for that race had better include lots of running, unless you’re walking it of course.
Make sure that the way you’re training is getting you one step closer to achieving your goals.
7) Not Training Hard Enough
This one kind of irks me, I’m not going to lie.
It seems like I hear all the time about people wanting to get into great shape or accomplish this or that.
And then I see them training. And they aren’t really doing anything much at all.
I’m not saying you have to be a super hardcore pumped up gym goer, but you definitely do have to put in some serious work.
If you want massive legs, you’re going to have to squat a lot.
Want a bigger and stronger chest? Lots of benching will be on the menu.
If your workout doesn’t really feel very challenging, then you probably aren’t training hard enough to have a positive affect on your physique.
Don’t mistake this as me saying you should be sprinting around from one exercise to the next with no rest in between sets.
What I mean to say is simply this:
Work hard, put in the effort to the best of your ability, and be willing to feel a little discomfort in order to achieve the greater good.
8) Failing to Get Started
How will you ever make progress if you never start in the first place?
While I mentioned the possibility of over committing to a new fitness routine earlier, I want to make sure that you do get started.
Don’t wait for the right time.
Don’t wait until the summer. Or the winter. Or after the holidays.
Because you know what?
These happen every year and you’ll just end up putting off until a later date, which means that you’ll never actually do it.
Get started right now and adjust along the way. The hardest part of any new situation is getting going. Start now and you’ll be glad you did!
If you can hurdle these obstacles you will be well on your way to great progress!