Common Training Mistakes That May be Slowing Your Progress
Author: George Barker
Whilst adhering perfectly to an optimal exercise and nutritional plan is generally unrealistic, and in most cases not possible unless you are a full time professional athlete, there are a number of common things which may be slowing your progress. For the most part they are easily changeable and can add up to create large positive changes!
- Letting bad days get you off-track
It’s all too common to be thrown off by one simple mistake. For example, eating something that isn’t part of your nutrition plan, or doesn’t fit into your calories for the day. But that shouldn’t stop you from getting quickly back on track.
It’s okay to have one bad day of eating. If you eat poorly one day, make up for it during the rest of the week. Do an extra workout, eat less in the following days, there are a number of possible options. If tracking calories and/or macronutrients, it is best to look at your caloric intake on a weekly level. So, let’s say you are supposed to be eating 2000 calories a day, if we multiply that by 7 to get the weekly caloric intake, we get 14,000 calories. If, for example, you slip up on a miserable Wednesday night, and eat 3000 calories on that day, you can simply reduce your calories by approximately 170 each day for the rest of the week, and you’re weekly intake is the same. Or, eat 500 calories less for the next two days, there are a huge amount of variations you can do, and the choice is yours.
- Assuming longer is better
Working out is great, and incredibly important. But, that doesn’t mean countless hours in the gym or out running are required to achieve results. In fact, shorter workouts at higher intensities such as HIIT and Tabata style workouts have been shown to improve cardiac output and your body’s ability to process oxygen to a greater extent than longer, lower intensity sessions (1).
- You’re pushing too hard
It’s important to know when to push, but it’s equally as important to be aware of when you’re doing too much. People will often rush through exercises, especially in group-based settings, thinking the faster and heavier the better. However, frequently they aren’t executing the movements correctly or focusing on good technique. Sometimes it is important to get back to basics, slow the movement down or lower the weight in order to focus on form, and feeling the exercise where it should be felt. Once you are doing things correctly you are more likely to see results!
- You’re not pushing hard enough
On the opposite end of the spectrum to above, it is also important to know when you can work harder. This can be especially important during HIIT-type workouts, where the intensity is the key factor for getting the desired results! HIIT training is great for building the cardiovascular system, muscular endurance, and burn calories long after the workout has finished. On the other hand, when working with longer rest times and less repetitions, it is important to load heavier weights to improve strength and promote hypertrophy. You shouldn’t be using the same weight for 3 repetitions as you are for 15!
- You’re not hydrated enough
A lack of adequate hydration can massively impact performance during a training session. You should be regularly consuming water throughout the day, try and start with at least two litres, and you should be having approximately another litre for each hour of exercise completed!
60% of the human body is made of water, including the brain and heart which are 73% water. It is also vital for a plethora of bodily functions needed to survive, including lubrication of the joints, digestion, regulation of body temperature and delivering oxygen to every tissue in the body.
In short, drink more water!
- You’re not engaging your core
Engaging your core isn’t something you only need to think about while doing ab-focused moves, you want to keep it in mind throughout your entire workout. Imagine the trunk as a pillar of stone upon which the limbs attach. If this pillar is weak or limp, all movement at the limbs is effected and is far less efficient. Alongside this, a weak, inactive core will increase the risk of spinal injuries. It is important to remember that the core is not just the abdominals (6 pack muscles), but there are a deep core muscles responsible for stabilising the spine and achieving good posture.
- Your posture needs some work
Posture is important for all aspects of life, and while there is no “perfect” posture due to everyone body being different, there are a few things which can help make your posture optimal for you. Think long neck and spine, chest up, and core engaged. The stronger and more stable your foundation is, the better your results will be across the board – increased strength, reduced risk of injury, and a boost in confidence too!
- You’re ignoring the eccentric
When lifting weights there are three phases, concentric (muscles shortening), isometric (muscles staying the same length) and eccentric (muscles lengthening). The eccentric phase of the lift, for example lowering the dumbbell during a bicep curl, is just as important as the concentric phase. The eccentric phase has been shown to elicit the same amount of muscular growth (or greater) as the concentric phase, as well as having a direct carryover to concentric strength (2).
- You’re not thinking positively
One of the most significant mistakes people make is having a negative attitude, both in terms of their workouts and in general. It is said that one’s thoughts form their reality, and this is often true. A more positive attitude in the gym will allow for a better workout to be achieved, thus giving you better results.
- You don’t have appropriate gear
While you do not need a fancy gym or equipment to get a high quality workout, having proper gym attire can be important. Properly fitted trainers appropriate for the type of exercise that you will be doing is key. Old, worn out, or ill-fitting trainers can change how the foot works and moves, and can cause a number of issues further up the body such as knee, hip and back pain.
Alongside this, having good gym clothes and gear can make you feel better about yourself and feel more prepared to get a good workout in!
At Body Complete we offer 1-2-1 accountability meetings with all of our clients to measure progress and to help our clients stay on track. It’s all too easy to have ‘bad’ days which affect our willpower to stay focused and cause fluctuations in consistency. Knowing someone is consciously trying to help you reach your goals makes all the difference. It’s an opportunity to get advice or simply have a ‘reset’ to keep you motivated.
Furthermore, our sessions are restricted to just 6 clients so we can offer you all the personal attention you need within the exercise programme. This training model works well with this low client-trainer ratio to ensure you get what you need out of the session.
If you have any questions about the content of this article or if you think we can help you get the most out of your body, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We have all the experience you need to ensure we are providing you with the right service to see the results you desire.
Stay strong and move well,
Astornio, T.A., Edmunds, R.M., Clark, A., King, L., Gallant, R.M., Namm, S., Fischer, A., Wood, K.A. (2017) High Intensity Interval Training Increases Cardiac Output and VO2max. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol. 49(2), pp. 00–00.
Franchi, M.V., Reeves, N.D., Narici, M.V. (2017) Skeletal Muscle Remodeling in Response to Eccentric vs. Concentric Loading: Morphological, Molecular, and Metabolic Adaptations. Frontiers in Physiology, Available from https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.00447 [Accessed 31/07/19].