Although I am lucky enough to avoid the commercial gym setting nowadays, I have spent my fair share of time working out in that environment. You usually see the same cast of characters every day and I always notice the people that seem to be consistently at the gym but rarely making progress.
These are the three things that seem to plague this group of any gains:
1. Not Having a Plan on Paper.
If you show up to the gym with no plan you are leaving the quality of your workout to the mercy of your mood. Your “leg day” could look a lot different if you just got a raise that afternoon at work as compared to your boss dumping 2 extra hours of work on your desk as you were packing up for the day. Even if you have no idea what you are doing, put something down on paper ahead of time and get it done in a certain time frame. If you have a general idea of what you want to accomplish that day in your head, you are way more likely to blow off a few exercises because you aren’t feeling it and the quality of your workout will surely suffer.
2. Doing an Overabundance of Abs.
This is something a lot of people need to understand, you cannot spot reduce fat! Doing 500 crunches a day isn’t going to magically remove belly fat. You are trying to see in the window but the blinds are closed. You need to remove the fat! There are people with ripped abs whose torsos are pathetically weak and some of the strongest men on the planet have beer bellies. Louie Simmons said it best “just cause you got the six pack, don’t mean you have a strong stomach, it just means you’re on a good diet”. I’m not saying never do abdominal work, but if you are spending more than a few sets on abs hoping to see one popping through, you’re wasting precious time. Swap out the excess ab work for some movements that are going to be higher in energy expenditure. I promise you will burn more calories squatting than crunching.
3. Avoiding Weight Training.
We all know the guy/girl that has looked the same for years and heads straight to the treadmill everyday. The hamster wheel will only get you so far. Everyone wants to be “tone” these days. Well I’ll let you in on a little secret. You can’t “tone” a muscle. It either gets bigger or smaller. “Tone” is combination of having muscle and very little body fat. Hitting the weights is the easiest way to change your body composition. Step off the scale, stop worrying about a number because if that number goes up as a result of weight training I guarantee you will be pleased with how you look and feel.
If you aren’t able to train at a facility like Pulse there is no question you can still reach your goals in a commercial gym. Just make sure you are constantly evaluating your goals and the process at which you are going about reaching them. “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.