Have you been hitting the gym for a long time without getting any results? Hitting a plateau is quite common for people who work out. There are many reasons for this – from not following a proper diet to not doing your exercises properly to not upping the intensity. Here are the five most common mistakes people make that results in them seeing no major gains:
You don’t have a specific goal
A lot of people just go to the gym because they’re told that it’s good for their health. So they go to the gym, loiter around, spend some time on the cardio machines, lift a few weights and then call it a day. If you fall in this group, you shall never ever see any change or transformation, because for a transformation you need to have a specific goal. It can be anything from losing 4 kg in two months to reducing body fat percentage but it needs to be a measurable, tangible goal. Once you’ve a specific goal in mind, you’ll need to plan for it, which brings us to the second point…
You’re not following a proper plan
This is another common problem of the dilettante gym-goer. None of them have a proper plan which means that they often end up doing random stuff, which results neither in muscle gain, nor in weight loss. What you need is a proper plan, where you decide on which days you’re going to do weights, when you’re going to do cardio, which body parts you’re going to work on specific days, etc. So if you haven’t already, make a plan and stick to it. Note down what body parts you’re hitting that particular day and even mention what weight you’re lifting and the number of sets and reps. This sort of accountability will mean that you’ll constantly try to improve your previous bests.
You’re not pushing yourself
If you’ve been hitting a plateau in recent months, ask yourself, have you been doing the same exercises time and again? When you keep on doing the same exercises with the same intensity for a long time, your body stops responding to the stimulus. That’s why it’s important to have a plan where you can note down your previous records and improve upon them. It’s also important to try and hit failure. Failure means exercising to the point so that after that last rep, you’ll not be able to perform another rep no matter what. It’s important to try to hit failure or at least come close to that stage with each exercise. Unless you do that, it clearly means you’re not pushing yourself.
How to see if you’ve reached failure?
Say you’re doing an exercise and your target is to 10 reps. If you’re able to do 15 comfortably, that means you need to increase the weights. If you can’t go beyond, you need to use lesser weights. Similarly, if you’re maxing out around 8 reps, you need to reduce the weight.
You’re not doing the exercises right
Many people do a lot of weights in the gym but they don’t do it right. Either they lift weights that are too heavy and then compensate for it by ‘cheating’. Cheating often results in not seeing gains. It can happen in both cardio and weight training workouts. For example, someone who’s using the treadmill while holding on to the sides is cheating; i.e. they’ll burn fewer calories than what it shows on the machine. Similarly, doing biceps curls with a jerky motion using your torso so that you are able to lift more means you’re using muscles from your upper body other than your arms to lift the weights. This often results in the biceps not getting targeted properly. These small tactics to cut corners often manifest into no results. So be honest with yourself, the mirror doesn’t lie. If you’re confused how to do a particular exercise, ask your floor trainer to show you, he/she will never say NO!
You’re not following a proper diet
A good diet is the cornerstone of any workout regime and unless you follow one, you can keep on lifting like Arnold Schwarzenegger without any major gains. The food should be the fuel for your workout and also help you recover. For a proper diet you need to follow a proper plan which include cutting down on salt, eating more fibre, staying hydrated, avoiding digestive stress, avoiding alcohol, eating small meals, getting enough protein and even getting the right kind of carbohydrates. If you’re confused about what to eat you can consult a dietician and if you don’t want to do that, just check out our weight loss diet mega plan.
You could also try out these exercises for specific body parts:
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