Why Aren’t My Workouts Working??!!
One of the biggest realizations I had was when I learned the difference between training and working out. Before this, I had blindly followed fitness trends, went to classes, and monotonously worked towards goals that I never achieved…the worst part was that I saw a lot of other people in the same situation as me.
It may seem like working out and training are the same thing, but I assure you they are not. Working out means you broke a sweat where training means you made a difference towards your goal.
Let me give you an example, let’s say there are 2 women who regularly exercise.
Both of them put the same amount of time into their sessions at an hour, 5 days/week, but one is getting results and the other sees no change.
Let’s say one of the ladies names is Michaela. Michaela likes to decide what she is going to do for her workout the day of. She bases her workouts off of how she feels, and thinks this means she is listening to her body. Her two approaches for her workouts are to either follow a random workout she saw on Instagram or to do one of her usual routines.
The other, Shannon, received a workout the night before from her coach and has it written down and ready to go. She actually spent some time visualizing her session too.
Shannon works with her coach online and went through a self assessment so her training sessions are based off her goals and the assessment.
So What’s the Difference?
Unfortunately, Michaela has no reason or purpose behind her workouts. The randomness of her workouts leave her body with no choice but to stay the same.
While Shannon, has a plan that ensures results will follow. Her training plan is written with the intention of her improving every day and for the long haul. She already started by establishing a solid base, and each training session builds upon the last.
So which one are you?
Check out these 7 Training Principles that should be followed and if they are not, take it as a HUGE red flag that your workouts aren’t working!
No Progression – Progression is necessary to improve your fitness, there needs to be a gradual increase of intensity. If there is no progression in your workouts then that’s red flag number 1. The training stimulus should increase at a rate that is compatible with training-induced adaptations. You want to challenge yourself, but that doesn’t mean you need to increase the weight every session. Tracking your workouts is one of the best ways to ensure you are making progress.
No Consistency– Regularity is maintaining an exercise regimen that is consistent. Aka “use it or lose it.” Set days that you exercise or a set number of times in a week. Another reason tracking is so helpful is because data doesn’t lie. If you commit to exercising 3x in a week, and you only got in 2 days, then there’s a red flag. Inconsistent training leads to very little adaptation, and inactivity will result in a loss of muscle strength and size. The only way to make long term gains is from exercising on a regular basis.
No Overload – Overload is a training principle that means you are working past the normal demands of your body. If you want to become stronger, more flexible, or better at running then you must exercise at a level beyond which you are normally stressed. This is usually manipulated by changing intensity, duration, or frequency over the course of a training program.
Not Enough Variety– If there is regularity in your training, but just keep doing the same thing over and over then this principle is for you. Variety means there will be changes in your training, on average changing up the routine every 4-6 weeks. Regularity and variety go hand in hand. Once you have been training something regularly enough, it is time to add in variety.
Don’t think of Recovery – Rest between sets and sessions are just as important as the training itself. If you have a prescribed time to rest between sets and reps, for example 30 seconds, but you do not need that much time to rest then there is the feedback that something needs to change. Paying attention to the rest time shows the how well you are recovering and if you are being over or under challenged.
Out of Balance– Balance is a principle that aims to bring symmetry to the body. Some people have a tendency to work on what they like to work on. A red flag would be for someone who loves to squat, but in their assessment showed they need to work on bridging to balance out their body. In this case we want to work on the weaknesses (bridging) and make it a strength.
No Goal/Specificity– No goal, no specificity. Your goal determines the training. Someone wanting to run a marathon will have a very different plan than someone who wants to win a CrossFit Competition.
It’s not any one specific workout that will get you results, it’s focusing intensely on your goal inside every training session that will get you there. Stop going on the internet and seeing someone fit and telling yourself: “Why can’t I do that.” or “I’m hopeless.” You can do anything you put your mind to.
You just need a detailed plan for learning to get there..
Don’t waste time convincing yourself you can’t or it’s too complicated. Just get started.
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Burgess D. Training programming and prescription. In: Brukner P, Clarsen B, Cook J, Cool A, Crossley K, Hutchinson M, McCrory P, Bahr R, Khan K, editors. Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine: Injuries. 5th ed. Australia: McGraw-Hill Education; 2017. p. 139–40.
Howley, Edward T., and Don B Franks. Fitness Professional’s Handbook. 5th ed., Human Kinetics, 2017.