Don’t make these 8 gym mistakes

If you want muscle growth, more strength and improved fitness, don’t make these mistakes.

There’s no point wasting time in the gym. When you come to Hammer’s Gym, you want to make sure that all the effort you’re putting is in paying off. So, if you’ve ever asked yourself why you aren’t progressing in the gym, it might be because of some of these eight common errors:

1. You go in the gym without a plan
As they say, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Sure, some experienced trainees benefit from training intuitively but for the majority, knowing what you’re going to the gym for is the best option. Stick to a program — whether it’s a body part split, a push/pull/legs split or something different altogether — and you can focus on putting your energy into the workout, not the exercise selection.

2. You don’t use progressive overload.
The number one way to tell if you’re improving in the gym is progressive overload. What is progressive overload? It means increasing how much you do in the gym over a period of time, putting your body under more and more stress so that it doesn’t adapt and get stronger, more muscular, more fit. At its most simple, it’s lifting more weight in a given exercise than you did last week or completing more reps. Any small change in a positive direction is a good thing for your overall fitness and strength. It also makes it a lot easier to track your progress because there is an actual measurement to look at.

3. You don’t track your progress
These days, it’s easier than ever to track your progress in the gym. Whether you use a specific app or just takes notes in your phone, it’s important that you can see where you’ve come from on a particular exercise so that you can get better. Whether it’s being able to see the weight you lifted last week so you can beat it this week or trying to best your total volume of work, tracking your workouts is the key to progressing with your fitness.

4. You don’t challenge yourself
Do you avoid training heavy? Or always leave something in the tank during a workout session? Or cut your cardio sessions five minutes short?  You might be guilty of this. Just ask yourself this one question and be honest: are you working hard enough?

5. You don’t change things up
Variety is the spice of life and the same is true when it comes to the gym. If you don’t give your body new stimulus to respond to, it has no reason to progress, get stronger, work harder. Some ways to mix it up include: lifting heavy with more volume work, changing your rep ranges and changing up your training system from month to month.

6. You don’t seek advice when you need it
We all hit training plateaus from time to time, which can often be fixed by the above points we’ve already gone over. But at a certain point, if we’re really struggling, we need to bring in the big guns: the coaches, personal trainers and experts whose job it is to help people with their training. Don’t be afraid to ask Hammer’s Gym staff if you’re unsure or enquire about personal training or group fitness classes to help you reach your fitness goals.

7. You don’t utilise post-workout nutrition
It’s often said that fitness is 20 per cent training and 80 per cent nutrition. Are you fuelling your body properly after you’ve hit the gym? After a hard session in the gym, you’ve likely broken down your muscles and they’re craving amino acids rebuild and repair them. This is why protein is so important around a workout: if you don’t give your body the extra protein it needs, your body will go ahead and break down the existing amino acids itself — that means muscle loss. Eating after a workout also elicits an insulin response, an anabolic hormone that encourages protein synthesis. Whether you choose a full meal of whole foods or a protein shake, your body will thank you. With the right nutrients fuelling your body, you’ll be able to function at your best in the gym — and out of it.

8. You don’t rest enough
We’ve talked about not working hard enough in the gym but it’s also true that you might be training really hard and just not recovering — which can be just as bad. Recovery is what helps you hit your fitness targets and keep progressing. If you’re smashing yourself in the gym week after week but not recovering properly, eventually your body can’t cope with the fatigue and it will shut down on you. There are many ways to ensure good recovery.
Nutrition is a big one (see above); so is sleep. Sleep is extremely important to get the body and fitness level you want. Remember: you don’t build muscle in the gym, you build muscle at rest. Getting eight solid hours is a good start and developing good sleep hygiene is key.
Structuring de-load weeks or even taking some weeks off hard training also help with recovery. It will help your joints and muscles recover, so you can return to the gym feeling refreshed and better than ever.

Are you making some of these mistakes? If you need advice on how to address them, talk to one of our friendly staff members of personal trainers next time you’re at Hammer’s Gym.

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