As I look back on my earlier weightlifting days when I wasn’t making significant progress, I can see my mistakes so clearly. Somewhat predictably, I realize now that it wasn’t until I became a personal trainer that I finally started seeing real results. I became educated about what works from an evidence-based perspective and began following through with that knowledge.
Today, I see people doing exactly what I did: spinning their wheels, frustrated that they never see the results they want.
You don’t have to be a personal trainer to reach your goals, but you do need to get real about the mistakes you’re making. This is the first of several posts to help you stop making these mistakes and start reaching your goals.
Do you find yourself “revising the plan” frequently? If so, check to see if any of these characteristics fit you:
- You’re Not Seeing Results
- You Don’t Trust Your Program
- You’re Bored
These are red flags that cause people to switch their workouts randomly and without a plan.
One of my biggest non-trainer mistakes was jumping around from program to program, trying this or that magazine workout, then switching again when it got too easy or I got bored. In observing other people, “revising the plan” is the most common mistake I see.
You get excited when you see a cool 10-minute workout you find in Shape magazine – it might just jolt you out of your workout doldrums. You look at the model and think she looks great. And if a magazine says it torches fat and sculpts abs, then it must!
So you diligently begin the workout, full of good intentions. This is where it breaks my heart every time seeing people excitedly starting yet another new program. Of course, this time it will be different.
However, if the new plan you’ve found is a single workout, you’ll burn out faster than a meteoric event. If it’s several workouts, you may last a few weeks. Boredom sets in and the results are slower to come after awhile, if at all.
When you switch randomly from 5 Steps to a Perky Butt to 10 Butt-Firming Moves, you might get stronger or see your muscles pop in the short term. That’s because your body is busy adapting to the unfamiliar challenge. But even if you do stick with it, you’ll most likely stop seeing progress within a few weeks. That’s when most people quit in frustration.
Another problem with switching programs too often? You can’t measure your progress. Constantly changing variables means you don’t know what’s working and what’s not. So instead of tweaking, it’s an overhaul every time.
To see meaningful, long-term change in your body, you need a progressive training program; that is, workouts that continue to challenge your body over time. When you choose a random workout from Pinterest or Instagram (or one that someone else is doing) it may be beneficial and interesting in the short term, but after awhile your body will adapt and the workouts will become stale.
It was only when I became systematic in my workouts, manipulating the important variables yet sticking to the same basic plan for 3 to 6 months, that I finally started seeing my muscles growing and becoming more defined.
The Hard Truth
The truth is that most people don’t have the knowledge to progress themselves properly. Thus, most people never reach their ultimate goals. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic when I say this; I’m simply speaking from a realistic perspective that you must come to terms with in order to be successful.
If you don’t know how to progress yourself, you must either (1) learn the principles of designing a training program, or (2) put your trust in an online or hands-on personal trainer.
If you decide to teach yourself, you need to follow knowledgeable experts instead of random magazine or Pinterest workouts. You can always ask me questions as well; I started this blog out a passion to help others. I’ve written a number of articles on program design and they’re listed below.
Another hard truth – just because you have the knowledge doesn’t mean you can implement it. Some people can benefit from a having a professional build a program based on their own unique situation. Online coaching has made personal training affordable and accessible to many more people; my own clients get customized programs that progress them over time. If you’re interested in finding out more, drop me a line.
- Random Training No More: Your Periodized Program for Progress
- Stop Winging It: Using Periodization to Get Buff
- Designing a Workout for Your Dream Body
You might also enjoy: