Image by: Katie MF19
By: Ken Lucas
There’s nothing more devastating to a person who takes the time out of their daily life to exercise than seeing no progress, results or, what the in vogue call “gains.” The routine may be vigorous and your personal trainer may be working you as though he were a drill sergeant, but if you’re holding yourself up well in the gym room and wondering why you can’t break the plateau, then the problem may lie either in your technique or what you’re doing outside the gym room.
You may have heard it time and time again, but often times what you do–or don’t do, for that matter–outside the gym room does has a heavy influence on the outcome of your workout regime. If this person sounds like you, then here are five mistakes you may be guilty of in or out the gym.
#1) Bad Form
Proper form is something that a lot of people struggle with when first starting out. The way you lift the weights shouldn’t seem to matter so as long as you’re getting them up, right?
Proper technique is essential to get the maximum contraction of whatever muscle you’re stimulating–which means your muscle would be being worked to its maximum capacity, thus improving the quality of the workout–which leads to more results.
Also, proper form helps prevent injury by keeping your body in a more consistent, stable position while lifting weights or doing anything exercise related. Injuries could play a big role in the reason why you may or may not have the drive or motivation to drag yourself to the gym room. In this state your body will be limited to what it can do–or lift–and that will inevitably lead to no gains, or even a loss of any gains you previously managed to accrue.
#2) Lifting Too Heavy
The entire point of lifting heavy is to make gains, right!? Yes, that may be true, but do keep in mind that if you lift too heavy or are maxing out on a regular basis, then you may find your strength increasing, but not necessarily the size of your muscles. Muscle hypertrophy is better activated when the muscles receive higher repetitions, rather than one or two rep maximum loads.
Anywhere from 6 to 8 reps per upper body exercise is ideal for hypertrophy, while 8 to 12 reps for legs tends to be more proficient with increasing size.
#3) Lifting Too Light
Okay so if I’m not supposed to lift heavy, then why can’t I lift light!? Well, as stated above higher reps is better suited for muscle hypertrophy, but if you find yourself going too high, then that means you’re not taxing your muscles as much as you want to, as the higher the reps you’re able to lift, the lower the weight will be.
While the muscle will still be being stimulated with the constant motions of high reps, it will have more of an aerobic effect on the muscle than the anaerobic muscle building effect.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are situations in which higher reps are ideal: if you are looking to lose a few extra pounds then you will want to incorporate this type of workout to define your muscles and give them more of a 3D effect.
Also, if you just happen to be middle-aged or above, your body will undoubtedly not be capable of handling the same stress as a 25 year old, so an increase of reps would be ideal for you as well. That doesn’t mean you have to fork out 50 pectoral flies, but more along the lines of reps ranging from 12 to 15.
#4) Not Resting Enough
Proper sleep is one of the three major factors in dictating the amount of progress you see in the gym. Some doctors have suggested that 6 hours is enough for us to make it throughout our days, and I’m sure it’s true, but if you’re consistently working out then you are considered a special case.
8-9 hours of sleep may seem like an eternity, especially with your 9-5 job and your time consuming relationship, but anybody who’s serious about receiving the benefits of their workouts will certainly find the time to squeeze in an extra couple hours of Z’s.
When we workout our body’s muscle fibers are torn, and the reason we get the feeling of onset muscle soreness is because our body is still in the process of healing. And like broken bones, our muscles need the appropriate amount of rest to get back to proper working condition.
I bet you can guess what time throughout the day our bodies decide to clock in and work on restoring those fibers? That’s right, when the moon shines and you’re dreaming about your crush at work, our bodies are grueling their way toward giving us results.
#5) Not Eating Properly
If you’re trying to lose weight and desperately wondering why its refusing to come off even though you’re starving yourself throughout the day, then the answer lies right there. It is a common misconception that in order to lose weight you need to eat as least food as possible. While restricting your calorie intake is an effective fat burning method, food intake is still of great importance, because when your metabolism runs at full pace, so does your body. And when your body runs, the fat hits the bricks, too.
That’s right, if you eat more, you will actually find your bodies will burn much more fat than if you eat one or two meals a day.
But don’t jump the gun quite yet and begin engorging yourself, as there are still a few rules you may need to follow. As mentioned above, the less calories you intake the more fat you will burn, but in order to function properly, your body also needs a nice mixture of proteins (for muscle growth), fats (for energy) and complex carbs (for more energy).
Eating 4-6 meals a day along with a couple snacks–or even supplements–throughout the day will enhance your metabolisms functioning capabilities and will give your body the stuff it needs for you to see results.
Have you been the victim of any of the aforementioned plagues? Tell us in great detail below in the comments section about how bad form caused you to, as the Hodgetwins would say–“snap your shi* up.” We appreciate it!