Achieving your fitness, CrossFit, physique, or bodybuilding goals is not a singular effort. In order to make steady and progressive gains over a period of time, you don't just have to get one factor - training - correct. Granted, lifting weights, running your WODs and knocking out cardio is a huge part of it… but training alone does not an amazing physique make. If you're not reaching your goals and making improvements on a regular basis, then there's a good chance you are making some common mistakes outside of the gym- and we're here to address them!
For the sake of this article, we will assume that your training is on point… you're hitting on all cylinders and getting the job done 'between the lines', from the time you walk into the gym, until the time you limp back out of the gym. There are a million training articles out there - and this isn't one of them. Rather, the goal today is to address those items which could be hindering your progress which take place before and after you train your butt off. Let's check out the list!
WHY are you training? For most people, the answer is going to be a vague "to get bigger and stronger", or for our younger trainers, the answer may be "to get more girls!"… but the motivation behind your fitness endeavors will have a lot to do with the success - or lack of success - that you see. Find the right mindset which allows you to train, take supplements, eat right, and adequately recover which is of a positive nature.
Many lifters use "to upset the haters" to fuel their workouts, and discover their love for the sport is mostly based in negativity. Rather, you should work to look at the positives that lifting weights and living right brings into your life, and use those as your motivation both inside and outside of the gym. That negativity can't last forever!
Inadequate rest & recovery
In our modern society, we're never done. There's never a point in the day when there is no more work, no more responsibilities, nothing more to scan or learn from our smart phones. We're always "on" from the moment our alarm goes off in the morning, until the moment we drift away at night watching Netflix. Because of this, we are often awake far later that would be considered ideal for optimal growth and recovery following tough workouts.
You should be sleeping 7.5 to 8.5 hours each night, with a little downtime throughout the day for recovery as well. If the clock says you have to be awake in 8 hours to face the next day - and the next workout - then it's probably time to put down the smart phone or iPad and just drift away to sleep without any more mental stimulus. Tomorrow's workout will thank you for showing such discipline!
Look at the cover of any magazine, website, or TV show, and you'll no doubt see the impressive physique of someone who trains. Whether you realize it or not, you have probably assigned some goals in your mind to achieve a level of muscle and conditioning similar to what you see. The problem can arise when you don't achieve similar results as the training time passes. Their genetics, years of training, and other available opportunities may give them an advantage that you just do not possess. You can train hard, eat right, but genetically, you may never measure up to a Phil Heath or a David Beckham. Instead, you should just work to be the best YOU that you can achieve.
Deviation from the plan
You have set forth a plan for your training, nutrition, supplementation and recovery. And it's a good plan, likely formulated with the help of great articles and sound advice. However, writing it down, and following it to a T, are two very different things! Likely, you stuck with the program early on, then slowly deviated to a similar plan that matched up with your own personal conveniences.
You may have skipped a meal or two, because that didn't fit your daily hunger. Maybe you dropped that last training day because that is the day you hit the club with buddies. Whatever the plan, if you've deviated from it, then you have also deviated from the optimal level of potential results that plan offered. Re-evaluate where you are, and what you want, and decide if skipping the little things is worth it in the long run.
Nutrition is off
The most commonly made mistake with trainers of all ages is just plain not eating right. You'll be running late in the morning and grab a McGriddle instead of making an egg white omelet at home. An egg is an egg, right? Nope, wrong! Missing meals, failing to stay hydrated, not taking your vitamins - all of these factors take away from the post-workout recovery growth phase, as well as the potential to fuel your body for the next workout. If you have to miss a workout, so be it - but that diet needs to be spot on, or you'll be failing on all 4 of your other training days as well!
Without a doubt, training is a huge part of the equation. If you're resting and eating right, but training like a wimp twice a week, then you are not going to make adequate progress. You'll probably be moving backwards if this is the case! However, if your training is right, and you manage to avoid the aforementioned mistakes, then you are probably in a pretty good position to start making some outstanding gains. Good luck!