In this Top 5 Gym Mistakes blog, I’m going to touch on 5 things that I see as a common challenge/mistake. The idea is, that by sharing these mistakes, you can avoid what I did and improve your efforts when it comes to getting it done right!
Okey dokey, let’s crack on shall we?
1) Bouncing Calves
When training calves we should make sure that the muscles are doing the work, right? However, unlike most of our other muscle groups, when working calves they have a ‘little helper’, which is the Achilles Tendon. The Achilles Tendon is a very strong yet elastic tendon which can take a lot of the force when doing calf based exercises and then allow you to BOUNCE the weight back up.Let's take calf raises for example; If we do them FAST…meaning we push the weight up, go down and then straight back up again (with a little bounce) the muscle isn’t working as hard as it could. This is one of the reasons many people don’t really FEEL the calves working, as the Achilles Tendon is doing half of the work. It’s not like the tendon is actually lifting the weight, rather the elastic properties of the tendon are being taken advantage of. So instead of letting the weight bounce, focus on PAUSING at the bottom of the movement for 1-2 seconds, feeling the stretch and THEN raising the weight back up and squeezing at the top. Do this over time and you’ll get far better results - bouncing the weight isn’t doing anything for muscle gain.
2) Too Much Cardio
Many of us who go to the gym want to grow MUSCLE. Muscles grow when they're stimulated to - they adapt to their environment. If we are lifting weights, the muscles will get bigger so that next time, it’ll be easier. The body reacts to the stimulus, so in future the body can better handle that stimulus. When we do a lot of cardio (particular longer forms of cardio), the stimulus is now heavily cardiovascular based. The body will adapt to this, making us able to handle cardio based exercise more efficiently. However, if our goal is muscle mass and we are doing lots of cardio we are sending ‘mixed signals’ to our body. We are sending out both ‘build muscle’ and ‘improve cardio’ signals due to the different training techniques. Now we CAN improve both at the same time, however if you are struggling to add muscle mass yet are doing a lot of cardio, the latter may be one of the reasons you aren’t getting those all important gains.
3) Not Being Patient and Having Unrealistic Expectations
How many times have you heard somebody say that they want to get lean in 4 weeks, or get ‘huge’ before they go on holiday and it’s 6 weeks away! Sometimes people can have an unrealistic expectation when it comes to what can be done within a relatively short amount of time. This may be due to seeing transformations online that aren’t exactly ‘playing by the rules’ due to photo editing or drug use, or any other reason. Because of this, expectations can be very varied and when things don’t go as planned we get frustrated. Although I could go on for a long time here…when it comes to getting results, think LONG term. Think in weeks, months and years…hitting little goals along the way. One meal at a time, good choices, good workouts over a long period of time equals results. This is a mindset, it takes a lot of experience, so keep at it and keep pushing yourself - before you know it you’ll be getting breakthroughs and a better understanding of what it takes to get results!
4) Comparing Ourself to Others
When it comes to working out, it’s a very visual endeavour for many of us…sure we do it for health, however a large motivator is looking good. This 'looks component' understandably causes us to observe what other people look like and if they’re bigger than us, have better ‘muscle bellies’ or whatever - this can cause negative thinking. I’ve seen people who look AMAZING yet they are saying to me that they wished they looked like ‘that guy’ or ‘that girl’….for me, let’s just appreciate what we DO have. Our genetics aren’t going to change, focusing on what we can’t change is NOT helping. Doing our best with what we have is what we should do, not concerning ourselves with others. This may require a mental shift and that takes time…however if you start working on this now, chances are you’ll be able to free yourself from this comparison mentality. What about people who aren’t as fortunate as you? I’m sure there’s somebody who looks at you just the way you may look at somebody you admire…but do we think about that???
5) Not Focusing On Lagging Body Parts and Complaining About the Results!
Abs, calves, rear delts…a few common lagging body parts for many of us. However when we really get honest with ourselves…we don’t train them with half as much intensity as our favourite body parts (plus we skip them sometimes if we’re not feeling like it…), yeah? I know I have! But, if we COMPLAIN about our lack of results or ‘poor genetics’…does this make sense? If we don’t have a job and just sit around all day, it makes no sense complaining that we don’t have any money…we need to do something about it, not complain - it’s not helping. If you have lagging body parts, take responsibility for your actions (or lack of) and be at ease with it. No more 'I’ve got poor genetics for this body part', just move on…sure you may have poor genetics for a certain body part, however if you don’t train it properly you’ll never know.
Okay, so they are 5 common gym mistakes…if any of these are familiar then take action to remedy your situation.
If you have any topics that you’d like to hear about, make sure to let me know via email: [email protected]