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The 9 Indicators that You’re NOT Training Properly
I’m not judging you for making these mistakes, my intention is to help you STOP making them and help you finally achieve your goals and live a fitter and healthier life.
It certainly isn’t uncommon to feel like you’re getting nowhere with your training; it’s even more common to convince yourself you’re doing the right stuff when you’re not. As humans, we are naturally designed with an ego and don’t like to admit when we’re wrong, making it very hard to accept to and better alternatives.
Bringing this back to the original point, it is fair to say that the majority of people are more inclined to keep doing what they ‘know’ than to explore alternatives and look to improve; this is the main reason why I see so many people doing the wrong stuff and getting absolutely nowhere (or maybe a little closer) toward their goals!
Being someone who invests a lot of time into learning and being able to help people with this stuff, it’s often frustrating to offer this knowledge and insight to people for them to simply dismiss it or even get offended by me trying to help them. This method of telling people they are doing something wrong is not the best way to go about helping people achieve REAL results with their training. No. Instead, I must lay that knowledge out there and allow people to seek it and take action themselves.
So I really appreciate you being one of those people, hunting for better knowledge and ultimately Investing In Your Health.
Part of this process of handing out information is this blog right here: 9 indicators that you aren’t training properly, and ultimately not achieving the results you’re there to achieve.
With no further rambling, I will lead you onto this carefully selected list of errors in training that can be easily fixed with a bit of intent and commitment to something that really matters dearly to you – your health, fitness and appearance.
1. You get sidetracked or distracted easily –
When you go for a workout, you are there for only ONE reason (and that should be clear in your head) and that is all you should be focussed on. If you’re looking at other people training, thinking about what you’ll be doing after your workout or (please tell me you aren’t) checking your phone between sets then you’re either allowing too much rest time or you’re not working hard enough. A lot of people don’t want to hear this, but you have to work hard and feel uncomfortable in order to make any changes because that is the way the body works. Your body reacts to a stimulus (any request you or your environment makes) and will always try to remain at a comfortable level where it doesn’t have to work hard; this means that if you don’t give it a good enough reason to change, it won’t. If however, you are working your socks off to earn the change that you want from your body, it will have to change with you in order to try achieve homeostasis (stability and ease)
AND if you’re working this hard then there just isn’t any way you will have the spare brain power to think about anything other than the task at hand.
2. There is no structure to your training– With every single exercise you do; you should be able to answer this question: Why are you doing that exercise, specifically, above any other?
Every component of every exercise of every workout should be completely relevant to your goals (which you should have thoroughly refined and clarified prior to even starting the programme) and if it isn’t, then you should be asking yourself this question: Why on earth am I even doing this exercise?
One thing that particularly bugs me is getting the response ‘I saw So & So (usually a celebrity or elite athlete) doing it’. But does that person have the exact same goals as you? And even less likely, does that person have the same physiology, level of fitness and physique as you?
You should be personalising EVERY aspect of your training around YOUR body, YOUR preferences and YOUR goals – that includes everything from exercise selection to rest time between sets.
3. You don’t track your progress
Extending from the last point I made; if you don’t know where you are physically, in relation to your goals, then you have no idea what exercises you should be doing and how to achieve the outcome because you don’t even know what the outcome is! Quite simply, you should know exactly where you want to get to, where you were when you started and how far away you are from achieving your goals. These goals should be formed using the SMART method that makes sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. Here is a goal of someone I just had a Goal Analysis with the other day:
Specific: Perform 5 unbroken pull-ups in 3 months time
Measurable: Via a Physical Assessment
Achievable: Diet & Training will contribute to making this achievable
Realistic: Primary goal is to lower fat %; this exercise is a great representation for low fat %
Time-Bound: To be completed in 3 months
4. You’re doing the same workout you did 2 months ago – Adaptability is a thing. As I mentioned earlier, your body is naturally inclined to return to homeostasis. Although it seems bad that you have to keep changing your training to continue to see progress, it’s actually a pretty great thing! You just have to know how to utilise it.
Your body will always be trying to catch up with you and match your body to your environment (the definition of fitness), so you’ve just got to stay one step ahead and then it will always be getting better. It makes your training fun, varied and never stagnant. BUT, if you’re still doing the same workout you were doing 2 months ago then the chances are that your body HAS had the necessary time to catch up to you and is now comfortable with what you’re doing (meaning that it’s easy and isn’t getting you anywhere). Depending on the frequency of training, type of training and how quickly your body adapts, you should look to change your routine every 4-8 weeks. Just make sure that the change isn’t affecting the outcome of your training.
5. You dread your workouts – Is this actually a thing? I mean, I get that it’s tough to drag yourself to the gym when your sore, tired or just know it’s going to be a hard workout, but really? You dislike your training? Then you, my friend, are doing it wrong! It should be fun, rewarding and challenging ALL at the same time or you’ve missed something down the line.
When I first started out as a personal trainer, I heard this from someone and I was upset and even a little offended. I thought that I was doing something wrong by giving them a session that they didn’t enjoy.
So I did what (unbelievably) not many trainers do: I asked them what they didn’t enjoy and what they would prefer to do. After a few jokes regarding a ‘magic pill’ that would do the work for them, we got down to the nitty-gritty and designed a programme that they enjoy and that still achieved their goals in an effective way. Now, as a vital part of what we do here at RAW, during our goal analysis with you, we establish what training you enjoy and incorporate this into your training; because what’s the point if you’re never going to stick to it?
6. Your performance is inconsistent – I know, it happens often that you come in for a session expecting to do a lot better than you do and your ego takes a bit of knock-back when you get stuck at the bottom of a squat with 175kilos on your shoulders (I completed it this week though!). But that’s not what I’m referring to with this point; I’m talking about when you have a crap workout and can’t be bothered with anything and your performance is not nearly up to scratch. This isn’t ‘just what happens’ and there are three common reasons for WHY it happens: lack of sleep/preparation, poor dietary protocols (eating junk before a workout) and over-training. I could try helping you figure out which one it is, but really you should know which it is and you should be working to correct it. It’s common sense really.
– You don’t get enough sleep = you sleep more
– You are preparing yourself = take time to prepare before a session
– Your pre-workout nutrition is poor = make better choices (and read this blog)
– You’re overtraining = increase time between working the same muscle/intensity
7. You aren’t hungry after your workout – It has become probably the most clearly proven area of exercise nutrition; the post-workout is the most important meal of the day (not breakfast). When you work hard in the gym, you fuel your exercise with calories, deplete your glycogen stores and require an intake of protein to repair your muscles effectively. So if you’re finishing a workout and not feeling full then you’re body is telling you that it doesn’t need any more calories, which in turn means either you had too many in the first place or you didn’t work hard enough to use the calories you had stored up. Whichever it may be, the answer is the same: you need to eat fewer calories before your workout. This will make you hungry after the workout and will give you space to fill with all those nutrition foods to recover and repair.
8. You’ve never had a movement screening
For those of you that didn’t already know; a movement screening is where you have a professional assess how your body moves and look for any tightness, instability or weakness that occurs. If you haven’t had one of these then really you don’t know what needs fixing and you could very likely be ‘building on bad foundations’ which will only lead to further tightness, instability, imbalance and ultimately injury. Before you begin a training programme, ensure you have had a movement screening to outline what needs to be included in the programme. Some of these weaknesses you may already know about, but the point where you experience the issue is not always the point that issue stems from. This stands very true with regards to lower back pain, a topic that we at RAW have got a specialist to come in and write Next Week’s Blog on – make sure you don’t miss it!
9. You don’t seek knowledge or advice from professionals – There’s no more sure-fire way to get your training wrong than to think you know it all, because you don’t. Neither do I; neither does anybody. The more you know the better you can train and you must be always seeking this knowledge to ensure you keep getting better. But there are people who specialise in this field and can save you a lot of time, effort and failure if you go to them for advice. Obviously, we are limited with what we can give away for free (and, in honesty, people rarely respect what they get for free). This means that you have to be willing to Invest In Your Health to get the best training, service and advice. You have to be able to see the value, not the price, to help you make that decision of what is worthwhile and what is ‘unnecessary expenditure’. One professional that we will be introducing you to is Low-Back Pain Specialist Jake Guinness who will be writing up a meaty blog on everything Low-Back Pain focussed in a couple of weeks.
Those are the 9 main indicators that you aren’t training properly, there are many more I could think of but not nearly as important as these 9. Make sure, now you’ve read all this content, that you don’t just look at the words, nod along and then do nothing about it! This stuff is just a big compilation of words UNLESS you implement it!
So please take notes of what you have just read, re-read if you have to, but just make sure that you use the content I’m giving to you because it is VITAL to your progress and enjoyment through your pursuit of that health & fitness that you do care so much about.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed and benefitted from this content then be brave and share it with the people you know will also benefit. A like on the FB post would be much appreciated to let me know that I’m giving you the content you want and please please PLEASE don’t be afraid to comment on the blog or send me an Email to let me know something that you would like to read about so I can give you the content that matters to you.
Side Note: click here to have a listen to this week’s Diet Starts Monday podcast with Christopher Dean from KLFM 96.7 where we offer advice to Chris as he sets off on holiday.