Is your workout not working?

Did you know the average health club exerciser quits after just six months for one of the following reasons:

1.Not Enough Time

2.Not Seeing Results

Everybody begins an exercise program with the intention of sticking to it faithfully. However, not seeing the desired results, clashes with work or school schedules, boredom with your workout plan,  or any number of other distractions can quickly make us forget our goal of fitness. What can you do to stay on track?  Sadly, most people become frustrated and quit exercising before they see any real results. But it’s not surprising given the common mistakes many people make with their training programs. Are you making these workout mistakes?

Common Reasons Your Workouts Don’t Work

  • All Quantity, No Quality

Most people in the gym don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan!  Take a look around the gym (if you haven’t quit going yet) and see how many people are really getting a quality workout. I’m always amazed by how many people are wandering aimlessly, walking leisurely on a treadmill while reading a book, lifting weights so light that not one hair moves out of place, or simply look bored.  A lot of exercisers head to the gym out of habit, and as if on automatic pilot, put in some time and head back to work or home. If you are one of these people, ask yourself, “What do I want to get out of this?” If you want serious results, you need to do serious exercise. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it and have fun. But it does means you need to focus on what you are doing and increase the quality of every movement. Once you start exercising with a real purpose and pushing both your aerobic capacity and your strength you will find your workouts take half the time and give better results.

  • Overestimating Your Exercise

Most exercisers are far too generous with estimates of exercise intensity and time, the amount of weight lifted and the frequency of their workouts. To avoid overestimating it’s helpful to keep an exercise log and track these items. Additionally, many people mistakenly believe that if they exercise at a moderate pace for 30 minutes they have burned lots and lots of calories and fat. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. While exercise does burn calories over time and consistent exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight and keep it off, it’s hard to lose body fat through exercise alone. Which brings us to the next mistake. . .

  • Underestimating Your Eating

Many people are in denial about the foods they eat and especially the quantity consumed. Being overweight is the fine you’re going to pay for exceeding the feed limit.  If you really want to lose weight you need to be honest with yourself about what you put into your mouth and how that helps or hinders your weight loss goals. To get real with yourself, write it down. Tracking what you eat in a food diary will help you break the cycle of food denial. (The iPhone and Android based phones have some great free apps like Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal  and online versions like calorieking.com)

  • Doing the Wrong Type of Workout

Where did you learn your current exercise routine? Watching others at the gym (who are exercising incorrectly)? From your friends, coworkers, the web, TV, newspaper, the latest research findings, or perhaps your 9th grade gym teacher? What you are doing for exercise directly determines the results you will get. To learn what you should do, there is no better place to start then by writing down your goals and then working with a professional trainer to design the right workout to meet those goals. Haphazard exercise will provide haphazard results.

  • Never Changing Your Workout

When you do the same thing day after day, you get very good at it. Even if you’re on the right track, you’re going to get run over if you just sit there.  In exercise this is called the principle of adaptation. It basically means that we become very efficient by doing the same exercise over and over. This is great for sports performance, but not that great for weight loss, strength increases or physical fitness progression. If you always do the same workout for the same amount of time you will eventually hit a plateau where you fail to see any additional change. One way of overcoming this plateau is to modify your workouts every few weeks or months. You can change the type of exercise you do, the length, the amount of weight lifted or the number or reps. This is why professional athletes change their program during the off-season.

  • Using Incorrect Form or Technique

Learning the right way to exercise is essential to getting results. Form does matter, especially when doing any strength training exercise. Incorrect form or technique also sets you up for potential injuries, pain and soreness. To learn proper technique, there is no better place to start than with a personal trainer or coach.

  • Setting Unrealistic Goals

So, what are your goals? Are they realistic for you? If your goal is to be the next Lance Armstrong, and you only have 30 minutes a day to train, or wanting to lose 25 pounds in a month, well, how realistic is that? Again, it comes back to being honest with yourself about your abilities, your level of commitment and your lifestyle. We need to set appropriate goals that start from where we are and progress at a reasonable rate or we are sure to get frustrated and quit.  Remember, there is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.

  • Measuring the Wrong Results

It has been said that, “If you don’t know where you are going, than any road will take you there”.  Many people think their workout isn’t working because they don’t measure the right things. Looking for proof in a scale is often a set-up for disappointment because some new exercisers build muscle and lose fat, but the scale doesn’t provide information about body composition. Better ways to measure your fitness progress include tracking your heart rate at a given pace, measuring the distance you can cover in a certain amount of time, tracking the amount of weight you can lift, or even writing down how you feel — physically — at the end of each day. Many of the benefits from exercise are subtle and not visible by looking into the mirror, but things such as cholesterol level, blood pressure, and the ease with which you can do daily chores are every bit as motivating — if you monitor them.

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