5 Reasons Your Workout Routine Is Holding Back Your Results (And How To Fix It!)

5 Reasons Your Workout Routine Is Holding Back Your Results (And How To Fix It!)

In the past, I’ve had many clients who come to me for help, saying that they’ve tried “everything” but haven’t gotten the results they’re looking for. As a personal trainer, my job is to construct a fitness and nutrition plan that will help get these clients over the hump.

What changes can they make?

What’s holding them back from success?

Most people don’t know this, but there are a couple of crucial mistakes that many people make when it comes to their workout routine. These missteps are preventing their success, and often lead people to frustration, and eventually quitting altogether.

Are you in this boat? Are you exercising regularly, but seem to be “stuck” where you’re at? Progress just isn’t coming your way?

To help you fix this problem, here are 5 reasons your workout routine is holding back your results – and how to fix them!

Reason #1: Your Intensity Is Lacking

Now this one is a given. How are you supposed to make progress if you’re not pushing your body beyond its current comfort zone?

Every exercise session, you should make it a goal to beat your last workout, even if it’s just in a tiny way. Whether it’s adding an extra 2 reps of squats, increasing your usual weight for lunges, or even working on the treadmill at a slightly increased incline, changes comes from new challenges.

So of course, exercising without increased intensity is going to hold back your results.

This concept is called progressive overload. In simple terms, it’s making sure that every workout you do pushes you towards getting stronger, leaner, or fitter. Even if it’s an increase by 0.1%, you’re still improving.

How can you achieve progressive overload?

Start tracking your workouts. Write down exactly what you do in each workout. Which exercises? How much weight? How many reps? How long? Then, instead of just showing up at the gym, you can actually compare your results week over week to ensure that you’re continually making progress.

Reason #2: You Lack Exercise Variety

Your body is built to adapt. Your body learns quickly, and specifically it learns how to make things easier. After all, your body is only concerned with one thing: survival. So, anything that makes survival easier is a step your body will take, even without you realizing it.

With exercise, if you continue to apply stress using the same exercises for weeks, or months, or years on end, your body will adapt, and will stop being challenged.

Think about your workout routine for a second. When was the last time you changed things up? What changes have you made this month?

As you can guess, the easiest way to stop this mistake from happening again is by switching up your workout routine on a regular basis. The key factor here is recognizing when you need to switch it up. There are 3 main signs that you be on the lookout for:

  1. You’ve noticed that your results are beginning to slow down
  2. You’re becoming bored of the workout and it no longer excites you
  3. Your goals have changed (e.g. from building muscle to losing fat)

It’s hard to give a definite timeframe since everybody is different, however a good rule of thumb is to change up your routine every eight weeks at a minimum.

Reason #3: You Have Too Much Variety In Your Workouts

The flip side of “lacking exercise variety” is using too much variety in your workouts. I’m sure you’ve seen this before when it comes to dieting…someone tries out a new diet, only to quit after two weeks because the “diet didn’t work” or they “didn’t get the desired results.” They then jump into the next new diet fad, hoping for better luck this time.

The same goes for your workouts. If you’re constantly changing up your routine then you’re never giving that set of exercises a change to work their magic.

The trick to beating the “too much variety” bug is to stick with the exact same workout for an extended period of time. This ties back into mistakes #1 and #2: You need to give your body a chance to learn new exercises, and give yourself time to track results so that you can experience progressive overload. Jumping from one plan to the next just doesn’t allow for these steps and you’re unlikely to ever see any meaningful results.

So ask yourself, “Am I prepared to stick with an exercise plan for at least a month so that I can see the results consistency will bring?”

Reason #4: You Just Keep Tearing Your Body Down

There are two sides to the coin in regards to getting in shape. One side is the working phase – the gym workouts, yoga sessions, cardio routines, etc. The other side of the coin is the recovery phase – the healthy eating choices to fuel your body, micronutrient and macronutrients balance, stretching and massage, and the quality hours of sleep that you get each night.

In order to get optimal results, you need to respect both sides of the coin and incorporate both work and recovery phases into your routine. If you’re focusing too much on the working phase, you’re not giving your body enough time to recover, which will definitely hold back your results.

So, plan a rest day each week, make time to care for your muscles, and feed your body with recovery in mind.

Reason #5: You Exercise Far Too Long

One common mistake that you could be making is exercising for too long. Many people have been told the story that in order to get in shape, you have to slave away at the gym for an hour or two, undergoing intense workouts that completely burn out your body.

No pain, no gain, right?

That’s simply not the case.

As we discussed earlier, while the working phase is an extremely part of getting in shape, it’s also important to note that exercising for too long and placing too much stress on the body is actually detrimental to your body.

Plus, super-long workout just aren’t necessary for optimal results.

The most important part is to understand where you’re at on your health and fitness journey, and go from there. If you’re completely new to exercise, it would be a good idea to start with 20-30 minute sessions until you’ve built a sound level of strength and cardiovascular health. If you’ve been exercising for a while now, or are training for a specific athletic activity, maybe it’s time to add some volume to your workouts.

Just remember that more is not necessarily better.

With so much information online these days, it’s hard to know who to listen to and which workout program to adhere to. But, by avoiding these common 5 workout mistakes, you’re guaranteed to be on a good path towards improved fitness!

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Dave Smith is a professional fitness and weight-loss coach who was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” in 2013. He shares awesome health and fitness tips through his blog and podcast that you can find at makeyourbodywork.com

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