You’re Revising Your Workouts Too Often

compass-300x219As 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.

Pinterest Hell

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.

Pro Fix

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.


You might also enjoy:

Trainer Tip #2: The (Real) Best Fat-Burning Workouts and Foods

12 thoughts on “You’re Revising Your Workouts Too Often

  1. So so so true: the “workout of the month,” just like the “diet of the month,” is great for selling magazines but not very effective at helping people achieve their body goals.
    Investing in a knowledgeable coach like you can make all the difference.


  2. Pinterest Hell – I love it. The guys at Iron Radio did a show about this not too long ago. It takes months to get a belt in a martial arts school. Why won’t people stick with a workout program longer than a few days before proclaiming it a failure? Change is fine but not just for changes sake.


  3. I was never one to change from workout to workout–especially not to do the magazine workouts. I have always wondered when I read those “WHO actually DOES these?” I think the magazine workouts are good to get ideas or possible moves to incorporate into an existing workout, but other than that, nyah.
    (and just for the record, I wouldn’t touch Shape, but I do like Oxygen). 🙂
    I will admit though that I change the sport that I do. I like them all! Sometimes I focus more on weight lifting and sometimes I am focusing more on swimming and sometimes its running. It just depends. That probably makes a difference, but I never cared too much about sculpting my body with MUSCLES until last year. That’s when I started focusing on weightlifting. I’m still on it too. And I didn’t switch programs yet. I want to finish the one I’m on, and it’s a six month program. That’s long enough, right?


    • I can’t think of a better way to exercise than sports. It’s cross-training, it’s full-body conditioning, and it’s “happy.” 🙂 Now that you’re into weightlifting we’re iron sistas! Yes, six months is quite long enough – good job!


  4. I think people expect instant results. And when they don’t see it, they give up and change. I say give ANY workout at least a month of consistent effort before switching.


  5. What can I add – so true!! Especially early on, ya need to learn the principles & get the progression right… With Pinterest & everything else out there these days, people k=just are haphazardly picking things… do it right as you say! 🙂 Such a great post Suzanne!!!


  6. I’m working with my trainer again – we meet every two weeks for him to tweak and add new moves to keep my strength training and overall fitness effective. I might look like a geek taking notes on everything he says, which I then type up at home and use several days later (okay, geek guilty as charged) – but sticking to that plan is really generating some results. Great advice!


    • Too bad I’m not your trainer – I give my in-person clients workouts for their days away from me. Of course, being an online trainer doesn’t hurt… I have everything in place to do such a thing. Ha!


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