It’s supposed to be simple, this fitness stuff. Want to lose weight? Eat less and move more. Want to build muscle? Lift weights and eat protein. And yet millions of people struggle to achieve their goals, get frustrated and quit.
Why? What’s stopping people from seeing the kinds of results they want? Naturally, there’s no one answer. So we thought we’d give you six. We asked each of our trainers what they see as the biggest roadblock, and how to overcome it.
Fee Pocock – Not making time for mobility.
Poor mobility will lead to poor lifting technique, which limits how much weight you’re able to lift. Not to mention putting your body under unnecessary stress and injury risk. Not lifting correctly also means recruitment of desired muscle groups is compromised so what’s the point.
The Fix – Warm up properly. For a proper warm up, remember RAMP: Release, Activate, Mobilise, Prepare. Release would mean foam rolling any tight areas or knots. Activate refers to “waking up” lazy muscles such as the upper back and glutes (with, for example, band pull-apart and glute bridges). Mobilise means stretching and mobility drills for tight areas such as the hips, thoracic spine and ankles. And Prepare means drills that specifically address the particular lift you’re about to do, so maybe a few extra lighter sets on the squat to really work on range of motion.
Hakim Medfai – Not paying attention to recovery.
All athletes prioritise recovery in their programming. People with stressful lives and regular sleep deprivation need to be conscious that ‘crushing it’ 5/6 times a week is counterproductive and is often a reason for plateaus.
The Fix – Do whatever is in your power to get more high quality sleep (blackout curtains, magnesium supplementation and no screen time after 8pm is a start). And learn to manage your training volume. Take a recovery week every 4-6 weeks where your overall training volume is lower.
Lee Bennett – Not having the right mind set and controlled aggression.
If you don’t put intensity into your workout you won’t become a god. Focus on what you’re doing stop thinking about stupid bullshit while you’re lifting.
The Fix – Training is a different mental state. Find your trigger, something that gets you in the mood. It could be music, it could be a mental image of your goals or a memory. When it’s time to train it’s time to train. Give yourself permission to leave whatever stress you have outside the gym doors.
Otaniyien Ekiomado – Not being thoughtful on form.
People turn up a go through the motions sometimes not really thinking about what their targeting.
The Fix – Never do an exercise unless you understand what muscles it is targeting, and the basic actions of those muscles. This is relatively simple to find out, but too few people actually do it. If this is something you’ve neglected in the past this one change will supercharge your training.
Tim Walker – Not being consistent.
Most people never stick to the correct nutrition and training program long enough to get real results.
The Fix – Have a set of objective measurements and refer to them every two weeks while you’re on a program. Only change the program if you’ve: A – Been at least 90% consistent and B – Have seen no change in those objective measurements for two weeks.
Scarlet Hollands – Not using progressive overload.
Your body won’t change if what you ask it to do is always the same. You have to keep pushing it past previous limits if you want it to grow. This is the concept of progressive overload. In a nutshell, it means breaking previous personal records, whether they’re for strength, number of reps, or whatever.
The Fix – Keep a training log and refer to it during your workout. What did you lift on this exercise last week? Can you add weight? Or a set? Or more reps? How can you do more work than last time. This is the key to exercise. If you’re not seeking to improve week on week, you’re not training.
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