Hitting the gym as usual but not seeing the same level progression? Well, plateaus are a normal phenomenon as we approach the limits of our body’s capacity. However, this does not mean that it’s the end of your manly fitness journey. While progression might taper as you become more adapted, it should not be stagnant. If things are indeed starting to stagnate, perhaps you are making some of these common gym mistakes.
Mistake 1: Building without losing fat
If you desire fast and impressive results, you would have probably jumped straight into bulking and muscle-building. While that might be effective initially, it is not the most effective way of keeping yourself in shape. Losing fat is just as important as building muscle. A lean body is more sensitive to nutrients, particularly insulin. Thus, a leaner person would be able to take advantage of his higher insulin sensitivity and tolerate a higher intake of carbohydrates to fuel muscle growth. With this in mind, ensure that leaning out takes priority if you your body fat percentage is in the higher ranges (>19%). Also, it's a good idea to avoid getting too carried away with your bulking calories in order to minimise fat gain.
Mistake 2: Taking off whenever
Perhaps it’s the holiday season and you want a break. You’ve cut down on gym sessions and have become less conscious about your diet, thinking that you can easily lose the extra weight the next time you hit the gym. While it is nice to take a break, this can become a vicious cycle and cause you to derail from your fitness journey. Being consistent is a very valuable attribute to have when it comes to achieving your fitness goals. Here are some tips so ensure consistency and to prevent yourself from falling into the temptation of an unnecessary break from training:
- Pace yourself in the gym to prevent burn-out
- Have regular rest days to recover from high-intensity trainings
- Have scheduled “cheat meals” instead of “cheat seasons”, and do not go overboard with food indulgence
Mistake 3: Stubborn attitude
If you're a regular gym-goer, there’s a good chance that it's been a while since you've changed up your exercise routine. It may have served you well previously, but its effects are likely to be slowly diminishing by now, causing a plateau in your progress. Nevertheless, the familiarity and past results might cause you to stubbornly stick to the same old programme or make only minor modifications. Sticking to what you’re already comfortable is one of the main causes of training stagnation as your body is already accustomed to the parameters and sees no need to progress any further. Getting a personal trainer may be helpful in procuring you personalised programmes to help you reach your goals. After all, even Olympic athletes have personal coaches to guide them.
Remember that fitness is a life-long journey; always seek for ways to improve instead of being easily satisfied. If you choose not to settle, then neither will your body. Chasing your ideal physique or level of athletic performance requires persistence, ingenuity, daring-do, and a little bit of craziness, but the end result is always worth it!