If you’ve noticed that your workouts are not generating the results you’d like, there’s a good chance you need to upgrade them. Today I’ll discuss six things your workouts are missing that are slowing your progress.
I use a home gym setup these days, but when I used to go to a gym to work out, I would often see people exercising with minimal intensity. For example, people would read the newspaper between sets for 3 minutes, gab away for long stretches, or just be there for extended periods of time doing little.
Any form of exercise can be beneficial when done with enough intensity. If you want to walk, do so with purpose, speed your pace, or try more hills. When lifting weights, make sure you’re using sufficient weight and/or repetitions to challenge the muscles. If you’re into yoga or Pilates, make sure you’re focusing on each stretch or contraction rather than what you must do later.
A mistake I see often is the repetition of the same workout repeatedly. This could be a run at the same distance and pace, a workout where you do the same exercises in the exact order each time, etc.
Your body is an efficient machine. It will not change unless it must. For your body to get stronger, faster, endure more, or lose fat, it needs to have a reason to do so. In other words, you must shock your body into better results. As an example, if you start adding more weight and/or repetitions to your weight workout or trying different exercises, your body will detect these new demands and you will develop more muscle strength. Varying your workouts will keep your body guessing and results will come faster.
3. Better structure.
There is no such thing as a bad workout, but some are better than others. I often encounter patients or clients that don’t know how to build a proper program for themselves. For example, many women love to focus on legs but forget other areas while for men it’s often the opposite.
Workouts can be designed in diverse ways. You may want to focus on certain areas at a time, activate different muscles simultaneously, focus on strength at certain points and endurance at others, the choices are endless. The key is that you want to have a structure so that you’re not spinning your wheels and that your time is spent productively and progressing toward your goals.
“I was in a good routine working out but haven’t been back for weeks.” I hear versions of this all the time. Consistency is the most common missing link in terms of exercise. In fact, for those paying monthly gym memberships, only about 25% show up to utilize them regularly.
To establish consistency requires planning, preparation, commitment, time management, and more. If you allow yourself to stick with exercise long enough, you will not want to abandon it and find that it becomes easy to stick with.
5. Ignoring other forms of exercise.
We tend to find a certain type of exercise that appeals to us. Too often, this causes us to ignore other types. For example, runners often don’t want to lift weights, and weightlifters often don’t want to run. I believe it’s great for your body to have exposure to various forms of exercise.
This helps you discover other methods of challenging your body, work your muscles in diverse ways, derive benefits not available in the type of workouts you’ve been doing, and more. You do not need to be an expert or commit yourself full-time to every form of exercise you attempt but it’s good to give different things a shot.
6. The correct nutrition to support it.
There are people that have the workout piece of their health down, but their results remain sluggish. Commonly, the missing link here is pairing exercise with the right nutrition.
The fastest race car in the world will be useless without the proper fuel. In general, you will need to reinforce your physical activities with the correct macro-nutrients, vitamins, minerals, quality of ingredients, amount of food, and more. I like to remind people that exercise, and nutrition should always go hand in hand and that without one, the other will be less effective.