"He who asks of life nothing but the improvement of his own nature...
is less liable than anyone else to miss and waste life." - Henri Frederic Amiel
Of the many common complaints made by those working on building a better physique, be it more muscle, strength, agility, coordination, balance, speed, stamina, endurance, power, flexibility, and for many, a better body composition, one of the first complaints (and often its own folly, as well), is “It’s taking so long to get the results I want.”
Patience is key. Impatience is a killer folks. It is much wiser to carefully consider what it is one desires to achieve, and just as carefully create a plan of action that is well thought out, allowing for flexibility, yet still challenging at the same time. Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly progress needs to be noted, as well as, what is not working so logical adjustments can be made along the way..... to success!
10 MOST COMMON EXERCISE MISTAKES
1. IMPROPER WARM-UP and/or NO WARMING UP OF THE MUSCLES TO BE USED:
Muscles appreciate being warmed up before moving, lifting, and carrying heavy loads. The joints appreciate it, too. Allowing one’s body temperature to rise, blood circulation to increase, and the synovial fluid of the joints to begin lubricating the joints, is wise to do, every training session.
Be sure to specifically warm the muscles you’ll be using, for instance, when aiming for your 1RM (1 rep max), on bench press, a brisk walk on the treadmill for five minutes gets only half the job done, be sure to do some push-ups, pull-ups, and PVC pass- throughs, to prime the chest without burning it out, before your lifts.
2. IMPROPER LOAD:
Countless well meaning people are generally lifting either to light or too heavy, or simply do not know or realize when to switch their weights. Just because one picks up a weight and can move it around doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best weight for them to use. Too light a load and the muscle is not stimulated enough to cause ‘tears’, hence, bring further growth. Too heavy a weight and it can easily be the straw that broke the camels back causing a literal bicep to tear (full tear that takes months to heal, unlike the micro tears for proper weight lifting), a hamstring to get pulled, etc.
Say you are going to do a set of 15 reps. Use enough weight that you can barely squeeze out rep 14 and 15. When you can do all your sets and all 15 reps consistently, it’s time to change (up), your weight.
3. IMPROPER FORM and/or TECHNIQUE:
This is more common then people realize. A well meaning young man will look up a training program online, cause it’s free, and look up any exercises he is not familiar with on YouTube, and figure he’s good to go. He does everything as best as he remembers, and looks in the mirror feeling good about things.... the only problem is, training is like the old military phrase I constantly shout at my military people, “In the field you will fight how you trained... if you train half ass, you will fight half ass.”
The habits an athlete creates early on and practices for years, can take some time to overcome and change, more so mentally than physically, as physically I can have someone squatting with spot on form within 5-15 minutes. I do not bring a mirror into the equation until they are spot on, and then ask them to use the mirror only as a guideline. I prefer they ‘feel’ the proper squat, instead.
Work with a qualified trainer/coach, don’t guess. Looking in the mirror helps, but one’s perception can also be skewed. What we see doesn’t always convey correct information.
4. STICKING WITH THE SAME ROUTINE / EXERCISES / LOAD:
Just as a person’s brain grows ‘sleepy’ with the same training routine, so does the body. Muscles have ‘memory’, which is a blessing as this allows an athlete to learn an exercise, and the muscle, through repeated movement, remembers it. An athlete can have an injury that requires no use of the right arm for several months. Of course, there is atrophy at the end of his treatment, but due to muscle memory, once the athlete begins lifting and using the bicep again with light weights, the muscle quickly responds and adapts, due to muscle memory.
The muscle ‘memory’, also knows when Judy is going to do an upper body workout because Judy always does the same upper body workout; the same exercises, in the same order, using the same weights, for over a year now, perhaps three years... Judy thinks she’s doing a good thing by getting her training in each day, but her muscles basically go on auto-pilot, just as Judy does as she talks with her girlfriend while training. in fact, on days Judy’s friend isn’t around, Judy practically sleep walks through her training.
Make some changes, somewhere. Now, I’m not a proponent that exercises need to be constantly switched out for new ones, as any new challenge presented to the muscle will do the job, so Judy could actually do the same program but add more weight, consistently, throughout each exercise, throughout the years, or simply add another set, etc., however, depending on Judy’s program, she could very well be lacking building a symmetrical physique, and/or strengthening various muscles at the expense of others very seldom used, that could make for it’s own injury somewhere down the road.
The mental faculties appreciate a change in a routine, and it spices things up, enlivens the session, and gives the athlete something new and challenging to look forward to. This is especially important to those desiring to make changes in other areas of their life, as well, as the more you change things up, the more new genes are triggered, creating new thoughts, feelings, emotions, and in return, new behaviors are created, and experiences are had, breaking many of the ‘old’, habits one may desire to change.
- If you run indoors, run outdoors a few days a week.
- Usually indoor biking? Take it outdoors a couple days a week.
- Never tried yoga? Try it.
- Yoga indoors? Take it outdoors. Beaches, the mountains, a green grassy park.
- Never done a Spartan race? Do it! Challenge yourself.
- Go white water rafting, plans hikes, and outdoor workouts while you’re there.
- Usually swim in Olympic pools? Go water skiing and swim in open water while you’re at it.
- Hiking the same path each spring/summer? Go somewhere new, more challenging.
- Tired of the same group fitness classes? Take a martial arts class or tennis lessons
Usually speed walk? Go rollerblading.
Always done 5k’s? Challenge yourself to a 10k.
Tired of a gym atmosphere and looking for something different? Take a CrossFit class. - Run the same three routes? Challenge yourself to go to three new scenic places, run. - High stress? Take a yoga, pilates class or Tai Chi class.
Tired off being in the same basketball court? Go outdoors, or switch it up to volleyball. - Running in neighborhoods/city streets, go trail running or sand running.
Cross Country Ski
Always do dips on equipment, learn to use gymnastic rings
Good swimmer, yoga regular? Do you yoga on a paddle board
The following can be done just to change things up:
- Learn to swim
- Jump rope
- Learn to ride a long board - Mountain bike
- Play soccer
- Play baseball or softball
- Take an adult ballet class
You get the idea....
So many times, athlete’s (and all people, really), are ready for change, they just don’t realize it.
I started training athlete’s over three decades ago. I can honestly tell you, I have not had an athlete yet, who hasn’t appreciated change. The more advanced an athlete is, the more they grow to appreciate the change(s), and they no longer fear the changes.
Understand, for most people it is the fear of change that keeps them in the same routine(s), habits, relationships, careers, and so forth.
Fear, folks, like impatience, is a killer. It is a killer of life, dreams, progress, health, happiness, and ALL things that are worthy of one’s efforts to obtain. Fear can be likened to a large trap, quicksand, and the like. Fear keeps one in a state of indefinite suspension, with fear in control.
One can never be truly free unless they are willing to let go of fear.
This world thrives on fear. The wicked powers that be make sure all the television stations play up fear, and dish it out 24/7, radio talk stations, news ‘programming’, movies, books, children’s stories, yadda-yadda-yadda. I speak of this because fear is a part of your life as well, to what degree? Only you can decide.
The opposite of fear, is love. Think on this. As fear is a big one. I spoke of the
‘100th Monkey’, in a previous newsletter. Realize, if enough people in this world live by love instead of by fear, the ‘100th Monkey’, can literally take affect. It has been proven time and time again. Do not be deceived by this thing called fear, see it for what it is, an imposter, and turn to love.
If one is afraid to change their training routine, hair style, personality, view point, etc., and instead wake up each day, and look the mirror to remember who they think they are, and then go dress as everyone expects them to dress, and on the day goes... it is an auto-pilot program, is it not?
Wake up and do not leave your bed, until you do three things:
5. LACKING PROPER DIRECTION:
Tearing out a routine one found in Men’s Health, will get you so far.
Talk to a qualified coach to be sure you are working towards what you want to achieve, both short term, and long term goals.
6. NO GOALS:
Training day in and day out with no goals, starts to lack in both luster and momentum.
It is wise to set goals regularly. Just as life, having and knowing one’s purpose gives life to, meaning to, and drive to, one’s actions.
7. UNREALSTIC EXPECTATIONS:
Ectomorph: Thin, hard to make muscle gains, size, and/or shape. Endomorprh: Easily puts on weight, as in soft tissue, body fat. Mesomorph: Stocky build, builds muscle, works hard to lose fat.
An ectomorph has a friend (mesomorph), who put on 5 lbs. of muscle in the past two months. Their friend was new to training, and took to it like a fish to water. The ectomorph, wants to do the same thing.
Keep goals and expectations REAL. Talk with a qualified coach/trainer to get a training program and meal plan that is personalized for you.
8. LACK OF OR NO STRETCHING PROGRAM WHAT-SO-EVER:
I preach this over, and over, and over, again, stretch. Keep the muscles pliable. Yes, it takes time, no, it doesn’t feel like you’re working anything or ‘doing’, anything, and yes, it will seem like an utter waste of time until one understands its importance, but do it anyway.
Men, generally, are less flexible than women. It is no surprise. Who do you find in yoga classes? Ninety-five percent or more are women, ditto, dancers, etc. Any group fitness class (and you will find these classes are full), contain stretching at the beginning and end, and the majority of these classes are filled with women.
Observation alone tells us, men could be every bit as flexible as women if they just simply took the time, and made the effort to do so. I know many male gymnasts, and they will all readily admit, they had little flexibility, until they began gymnastics, regardless of age. What changed, they were required to stretch.
Learn basic stretches. YouTube has all kinds of stretching programs you can stretch with until you feel comfortable stretching on your own. Many health and exercise magazines have stretching programs one can follow. Take a yoga class regularly, or talk to a qualified coach/trainer, to get a personalized stretching program.
9. EXERCISING WHEN ILL OR VERY FATIGUED:
It does the body absolutely no good to exercise when ill, or overly tired. In fact, it will only bring negative results, as the energy that would be going towards fighting off bacteria, etc, instead is forced to try to accommodate weight training, or worse yet, cardio training, and this basically leaves the person with further bacterial growth, not less. The muscles are weakened due to illness, and will not put out as a result.
Go home and take care of yourself, until you feel at least 70% better, then take it light.
10. NOT FUELING PROPERLY / LIFESTYLE HABITS
The greatest athlete can rock their training, but if they are not fueling/supplementing properly, and/or living in such a way that is not conducive to performance and health, in the long run, they will suffer, whether it be no gains in muscle (rather gains in fat), or a drop in performance, endurance, etc. Many people train day in and day out and nothing changes with their physique, they are basically exercising so they can continue their poor eating habits, drinking habits, etc., without becoming overweight. Fear is the driving force here.
I have worked with many people who have gone this route. They feel it was working for them, as they were not interested in competing on stage or for an event, building a physique etc., however, this puts tremendous stress on the individual over the years physically, mentally, and emotionally. Sooner or later, they burn-out, life itself becomes a daily grind, and they begin to dread the whole process.Their habits catch up with them.
As always, the sooner one learns how to eat and properly nourish the body, the better. The sooner vices, habits, and addictions are confronted, the better. The longer one procrastinates, the more courage it takes to turn things around. Be a quick learner, and be courageous, do not allow habits to run your life, as that makes you, the prisoner/ slave.
I have worked with beginners to elite, they and all categories in between suffer as a result of this mistake. It is one of the ‘Game Changers’. When an individual decides to put their comforts, and comfort zone aside, and embrace the suck, miracles happen.
I have had men go from the bottom of their class, for years, to the top (2nd Place), in the course of 7-9 months, by making simple changes in diet, supplementation, and lifestyle habits. I say simple, but it’s not necessarily easy, however, it can be as easy or as difficult as one makes it.
When one is truly ready to ‘let go’, of their vices, habits, poor lifestyle choices, and so forth, amazing things happen. Until then, it is a learning experience, as that one has got to learn through trial and error what works and what doesn’t. If that one never allows them self to learn what works, then they are on a road of disappointments. As I’ve witnessed first hand throughout the years, these individuals are also afraid to take accountability and responsibility for their actions, they tend to play the blame game, rationalizing game, ignorance game, when deep down they know why they are not getting the results they desire.
One will only get the results they deserve. The results they’ve worked for. Period. Unless, of course, there is a legitimate health reason to indicate otherwise, which a very, very, small amount of people fall into this category.
I hope this has been helpful for you. Use these fixes as tools in your health and fitness toolbox. Check them regularly. Life is too short to waste your time, energy, resources, efforts, and reserves.
If one were to give you a budget to build a house for yourself, would you not take time to think on what you desired it to look like, the functionality of it, practicality of it. Would you skimp on things, or would you build perhaps, a smaller house with the best materials you could find? It’s all a choice.
Fortunately, when it comes to you, and all things body, you have choices as well. No one forces you to eat Frosted Flakes, makes you sit on a couch for hours, or makes you go to a bar every night. The choice is yours!!!!
Choose wisely, as all these seemingly little choices make a huge impact in the long run. You aren’t here to survive, you are here to thrive, yes?
Have a great week. The time to plot of the person you desire to be. Assess your habits, routines, and lifestyle. Check the mindset regularly. Overcome fear in all it’s disguises. Master the art of Creation.
"I have a tremendous desire to learn, and to grow, and to develop whatever I have that will make for any kind of improvement in me." - Lawrence Welk