The Biggest Mistake in Gyms



You must have direction to reach your fitness goals. Whether it’s making gains and feeling great on the beach, partaking in a triathlon or marathon, or simply to just take care of your health and fitness, without a goal there is no motivation.

When I observe those in the gym there are some common behaviours I see time and time again. If you look around at any one time you will probably see half of the people in there on their phones. Then there are others looking around like they are there to put their feet up and relax. It saddens me to see they are spinning their wheels hoping that the few bits they do come and do will be good enough to see progress and change. However I can’t understand why anyone would go in blind.

Why would you leave your results up to chance?

Let’s move away from fitness and use this in another situation to help understand. You have this dream job you want to do, but at moment you don’t have the skills. So, where do you start? You’d begin learning, taking courses, perhaps gaining qualifications and you have a path to follow to give you the tools to achieve that dream career someday. Now why would it be any different with your fitness goals?

What you need is a plan of action to direct you to get where you want to be. Having a plan set means you use the most optimal approach to get quicker results rather than wasting precious time and never properly reaching your goals. It means putting your energy into the things that will actually make the difference.

Sometimes there are cases of those who ‘wing it’ without a strategy, and they do see results and make progress. Up to a point. The reason they see results is because without knowing why or how, they have accidentally created an environment that is conducive to their goal. It probably just so happens to be that luck was on their side this time, but why risk it when the chances are it could swing either way, and at any rate even their programmes could be improved to be even more effective with more knowledge.

Having a plan in place using evidence-based training methods is always going to achieve better and faster results compared to a programme you found from an instagram idol or in a fitness magazine. It is the difference between seeing results that are “not bad” and seeing results that are amazing in half the time!

Lots of people out there are putting so much time and effort into something that is simply making the journey frustrating for them because of the lack of changes they see in the mirror.

In my time training I’ve been to different gyms up and down the country, from those specialising in strength and conditioning with a body building-esque environment, to the big corporate gyms and the health club/spa places. I can’t speak for everyone, but generally I look around and watch how people are using their time training, and they simply aren’t fired up to push themselves. If they could push hard to see what they might be capable of fulfilling I’m sure they would be shocked. Yes, it does mean you have to go somewhere you find uncomfortable but it’s worth it in the long run. If they had a plan or trainer these people would be working with more efficiency and seeing changes both physically and mentally sooner than they could imagine.

Are you a drifter in the gym?

Drifters are people who move from machine to machine having almost no clue as to what they should be doing. This goes for both the routine and how to execute the movement properly with maximum efficiency. New gym members will often receive a free induction where a trainer shows them the basics, mostly how to operate the machines, and writing a generic programme or giving vague advice as they go round the gym. I’d be lying if I said this can’t get results, but there are two main flaws with this. The first thing is that the trainer doesn’t know you yet, your goals, your capabilities, or your experience so can’t really provide the absolute best programme for you. Secondly the only way to keep seeing results is to challenge your body to do more over time through simple progression schemes like increasing the weight and/or reps.

Defining your goals is important before choosing a programme.

The simple reason for this is because different goals have different training requirements. A goal like losing some fat and feeling fitter wouldn’t mean you jump onto a power lifting routine, as while this can still lose you the weight it is certainly not optimal. If you aren’t interested in lifting maximum loads for 1-3 reps and increasing your total you’d be wasting your time in doing so, even if it is the chosen programmes of your favourite instagrammer.

Sit down and write out what you want from the gym. It’s important to find out honestly why it is you want to exercise. Once you can find the emotional trigger you’ve got you motivation to be consistent no matter what life throws your way, you will always remember the reason you chose to begin this journey and when you succeed you’ll be a stronger person for it, both inside and out.

Got your goal?

Next thing is to find a routine to match your goal. This can be stressful because even I’ve been here when I first started out and basically never know who to trust. You’ll start questioning “will I be wasting my time” and “can I even get results using this programme” because of conflicting advice. My suggestion is to find someone who you like and inspires you, with the same goals, and someone who has knowledge in this area. Most importantly you have to like the look of the workouts they show otherwise you just aren’t going to want to do them. Even with that checklist in place, over time you may find it might be not what you excepted. Take the parts you enjoyed and got results from and discard the stuff that didn’t work for you. I found the longer you train you start to take influences from all different people and programmes. The phrase ‘success leaves cues’ comes to mind, and the best in the business have very similar styles they preach.

If you’re tired of wasting time searching for the best routines and aimlessly jumping from one style to another, you owe it to yourself to send me message and find out how I can help, provided I tick everything on that checklist!


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