8 Reasons you’re not making progress in the gym.
Its happened to all of us at some point i’m sure, perhaps right at the beginning, a few months in or even a few years in to your fitness journey.
What am I talking about? Not making any progress! Here are some common reasons your progress has stalled recently.
1. Not eating correctly for your goals.
This is the biggest one, so I thought id start off with it. A large percentage of people think they can out-train a bad diet but the truth is, unless you have been gifted with god-like genetics then this just isn’t going to happen.
Have you ever seen that motivational picture on Instagram, something along the lines of “Your dream body is 80% diet and 20% gym”…well that is actually spot on, physiques are built and sculpted in the kitchen, not the gym!
If your progress stopped after you spent hours working out your macros 6 months ago then the problem is easy to fix, you cant expect to progress on a diet plan you made 6 months ago, your body has changed dramatically since then, you may be lighter or carrying more muscle, depending on your goal, so you need to re-adjust your plan to continue working towards your main goal.
I would suggest checking your macros every 6 to 8 weeks to stop your progress from stalling.
Talking of goals, this brings me to point number 2…
2. You have no defined goals.
‘Lose weight’, ‘Tone Up’, ‘Get Stronger’
All of the above are rubbish goals, why? Because you cant measure or quantify them. If you bench 80kg on Monday and the following Monday you bench 85kg, have you met your goal of getting stronger?
The answer is NO you haven’t, the reason for this is that you never said HOW strong you wanted to get and by WHEN, so how are you measuring the success or completion of your goals? What you need are SMART goals, I will cover these in a later article to get you started.
3. Wasting time in the gym.
And i’m not talking about all the time you spend on your phone in the gym. I’m talking about all the time spent performing those isolation exercises that hit one muscle at a time, don’t get me wrong, they have their time and place, but for now you should be concentrating on the big 4 to boost your progress, these are;
What’s so special about these 4 exercises you say? Well let me tell you.
These multi joint movements (compound exercises) use a multitude of muscles at the same time, this means you get more bang for your buck, so stop wasting half a session hitting your biceps 3 different ways, look up and grab the chin up bar, you’ll get stronger and bigger quicker than you will from curling those 22’s till the sun goes down.
There are of course other exercises you should include, but the 4 above should be your main focus no matter what your goal is as they are just excellent exercises.
4. Your form, yeah its terrible.
I think everyone has seen someone swaying like a tree in the wind trying to get that overloaded EZ bar up to their chest or leaving 12 inches of space between their chest and the bar while bench pressing.
If you’re one of the above people then you’re selling yourself short and letting valuable progress slip between your fingers.
There is no excuse for bad form in the gym and by performing half reps or using your whole body to perform a movement when you shouldn’t be you’re risking injury, developing bad habits and making yourself look a fool.
Now don’t get this confused with breaking form on the last rep or 2 at the end of your set, if you’re training to failure then a drop in form is bound to happen to the most seasoned gym rat, bad form however should not start from the first rep, you want to aim for a safe full range of motion (ROM) in every exercise.
The next point ties in with this one, so ill throw it in here…
5. Your gym partner is your ego.
And he thinks you can lift 20 kilos heavier than you actually can.
If you find yourself struggling on every single set, to the point where you’re getting injured often and breaking form constantly just to lift a weight then you need to take yourself outside and have a word with your ego because he’s going to cause you some long term damage if you’re not careful.
It might feel great to slap on all that weight on the bar, but your shoulders wont be thinking that when your rotator cuff is torn and you can barely lift your arm to feed yourself.
Gradual progression is key here, you need to overload your body to make progress, but not so much so that you’re actually hindering progress, swap that 10kg plate for a 2.5kg and get full ROM for a whole set instead of snapping yourself in half trying to go too heavy too quick, no one else is counting your lifts anyway, we’re to busy watching the ego lifters hurting themselves!
6. You’re not adding any weight.
This may seem a bit odd considering what we just said above, however stick with me, let me explain.
Progress is made when you push your body each session… but you just told me not to do that?! Correct, we did say that, however we also said that gradual progression is the key, as long as you are lifting slightly more each week, SLIGHTLY more that is, you will make progress towards your goal.
This doesn’t always mean adding actual weight to the bar either, it could be total volume of weight lifted that increases, this can be achieved by doing 10 reps instead of 8 or finally completing that 5×5 where you’ve been falling short on the last set for a couple of weeks.
7. Your rest days are non existent.
Less is more.
Not less rest days! Less training days, if you’re in the gym 7 days a week or spending more than 2 hours in there per session then you’re most likely burnt out, remember what I said earlier? Physiques do not grow in the gym, if you’re constantly in there, when are you giving yourself time to grow?
Go home, eat some food, get some GOOD sleep.
8. Switching it up too much.
The internet is a wonderful thing, information at your finger tips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
However, too much information, good and bad, can result in you jumping from one routine to the other, barely giving one a chance to work.
There is no need to jump on to the latest routine you read in a magazine, you just need to fix your current one!
Sculpting a better physique is not meant to be that complicated, but you can certainly over complicate it by reading too many articles on the internet (apart from mine of course). Just focus on improving your diet and pushing yourself in the gym, the progress will come as a result!