Well this just in....it's fall! The combination of the my schedule becoming pretty jam packed, a few leaves already started to turn their autumn colors, and the colder weather (ok, mostly the colder weather) has reminded me that this month is my favorite time of year.
What's not a favorite of mine, however, is when people get stuck or bored of the gym, and feel like they're not making any progress. That's why today's post is focusing on three of the biggest barriers I've seen to progressing at the gym. Now, if you're among those, I may suggest you take a helping of humble pie before you read on..
1. You're not making it a priority to pick up heavy things and then put them down.
When it comes time to talk about priorities, a discussion about goals is inevitable. I've made it no secret on this blog that absolute strength is the key to many different goals. Want to lose weight? You need to get stronger. Want to tone up? Well that's code for "I want to look less fat," and thus, need to get stronger. Want to get stronger? Then you need to, well, I think I made my point.
Simply getting stronger has helped many of my clients get out of pain, lose fat and even ride a few unicorns. Yes, traditional running and "cardio" will help you shed pounds, but many of those pounds will come via muscle loss, versus fat loss. That difference is crucial, as keeping as much muscle as possible will help you lead a healthier life.
2. Your form is terrible.
While this may be a bit harsh, but the more I learn, the more I realize that plateaus are code for "my form needs to be tweaked." Very few of us will ever hit a genetic wall in something like a deadlift or a squat, and a reason your progress is stalling is simply because your form needs to be adjusted. Now, if you've hit a wall in your bicep curls, I'd like to suggest that your time is probably better spent elsewhere.
I always like to say that if something was wrong with your car, you'd most likely go see a mechanic. Yet, when it comes to our body (which, I'd like to argue is much more important than a car), we think we can just take care of it by ourselves. But if your car couldn't go above 30 mph, would you just try to fix it yourself? That's why some of the best trainers I know still seek opinions from others when it comes to their training sessions.
3. You're not increasing the weight.
Perhaps this third reason can be filed under the first (see: You're not making it a priority..), but increasing the weight you use is crucial for success. Why? Because your body adapts to your daily activities, making the same workout you do every day less and less effective.
For example, back when I was much less spoiled and belonged to a commercial gym, I can't tell you how many times I saw the same people every single day....lifting the same weights. Now, it breaks my heart to see people wasting such a precious resource - their time - but many people just don't want to be pushed outside their comfort zone. In reality, you need to continually make gains in order keep those that you've achieved. That doesn't mean you always have to keep putting on muscle (most gains are actually neuromuscular), but it does mean you have to keep progressing.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone, and you'll see the progress you want. And who knows, maybe you'll learn something about yourself along the way.