I’m an expert in making exercise mistakes or any mistakes for that matter. Mistakes (as long as I have been training) come with the territory when you’ve been in the exercise game for a long time.

And it usually goes a little something like this.

You’ve been exercising for a while and still enjoy it. But there are times when your results grind to a halt, and you’re frustrated by your lack of progress. Sound familiar so far?

If you think something is wrong with your current program,  you believe making some changes will get you back on track. But before making a change, ensure you haven’t overlooked the obvious and gone straight to the complicated in your quest for improvement.

Here are four things to look for before making a change. Think of these four mistakes as my pain is your gain thing. If you’re making any of these mistakes, don’t shy away from it because once you know better, do better.

Changing Your Routine Too Often

It’s natural to think the grass is always greener on the other side because you’re saturated with new exercise methods and techniques on Tik Tok, Instagram, and YouTube, and the results look incredible. These results look even better when you feel your program is not working.

Changing your routine is okay. Change is needed when you’ve plateaued, your situation has changed, or you feel your routine has become stale. But changing too much doesn’t give your body a chance to adapt to your current program because results take time.

It’s a classic catch-22 where you need to use your best judgment.

Do This Instead

Here is what I’ve learned over the years. Finish the program and then evaluate whether it worked, like the big rocks such as body fat loss, a smaller waist, bigger muscles, or increased strength. If you’ve seen no changes after six weeks, then it’s okay to try a new program.

You’re Not Measuring. You’re Just Guessing 

How do you know what you’re doing works if you are not tracking progress? If you’re not recording your sets, reps, weight lifted, or taking measurements of your body parts and body fat levels; you’re guessing and not assessing. If you go by the mirror and the scale, you’re doing yourself a disservice.  

Do This Instead

Record all your workouts in a journal or workout sheet and record sets, reps, and total volume to see if you’re progressing from week to week. Invest in a tape measure or a body fat tester and record your results. 

You’re Avoiding Heavy Weights

If your goal is to move better, lose fat, gain muscle, or look sexier in the mirror, you will shorten your time getting there by being stronger in the core lifts. The core lifts being

Think of strength as gas in your car. You will get more on a full tank than a half tank. Getting stronger means you’ll be able to go longer, recover faster, and avoid burnout. Just think of increased strength as adding weight to the bar or doing more reps with the same weight. It doesn’t need to get more complicated than that.

Do This Instead 

No matter what program you’re doing,  choose one lift, a squat,  bench press, or rowing exercise, and lift in the 2-6 rep range for four to six-week cycles. Then you’ll be headed in the right direction.  

Don’t Train Through Pain

Common complaints are heard in gyms, like “my shoulders hurt,” and then they go to the bench press without a warmup. Or squats “hurt my knees” and the head to the squat rack to suck it up.

My back hurts is another common one, but then they do exercises that hurt because of ego or a lack of knowledge. Sometimes, when specific exercises hurt you, you feel you need to push through them because you think your goals will go down the toilet if you don’t do them. 

But ignoring pain and exercising through it, not around it, never leads to anything good. Please remember the adage, ‘if it hurts bad, don’t do it.   

Do This Instead

This is not a throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater situation. When a particular exercise hurts, changing your tool (barbell-dumbbell), body position, reducing your range of motion, or performing a regression may help. If it doesn’t, don’t ignore it and ask for help.

Wrapping Up

We all make mistakes, and it’s not a deal breaker as long as you learn from them. It is easy to get caught up with fads and your desire to meet your health and fitness goals but not at the expense of your health and longevity.

Because when you know better, you do better.

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