Why am I not seeing results from the gym? – Part One
I know this dates me but I’ve been working out in public gyms since I was 16. I’ve also been working as a professional Fitness and Health Coach for 16 years. My point? I’ve been in the gym more than the average person.
Something many people don’t know about me is that I’m always studying people, it’s what I do. You can’t really help but get this way after being in the gym and helping people for as long as I have. If you are around me even for a moment I’ve more than likely studied your posture, your personality and I’ve sure as heck watched how you move your body. This is why I’m able to get people results, my neurosis helps me see patterns and habits quicker than most.
Over my 25 years of being in gyms, I’ve seen and studied thousands of people coming to the gyms each week. Usually what I see are very similar patterns. Patterns of bad form and bad habits. These patterns are what’s keeping most people from seeing any kind of real results from all their hard work when at the gym.
Since every day I’m watching people struggle for results, I thought it might help if I wrote about some really common things people struggle with. This way if you’ve been having trouble seeing results these small tweaks can get you on the path to big results.
I encourage you to not skim through this list. Take the time to really analyze if you need help in some of these simple areas. If so put some serious focus there for the next few weeks and monitor your progress. You are monitoring your progress, right?
In Part One of this article, I’m going to discuss the importance of a strong mental game as its the most important part of getting healthy and in shape. In Part Two I’ll make sure your physical game is on point. If you think the mental aspect of exercise isn’t important then, unfortunately, you’ve already failed your first test.
1. Your Goals Probably Suck
Most people will see a title like this and skim right past it. They’ll think “Jade I already know my goals. I want to lose fat and get in shape.” I hate to break it to you my friend but this is barely a goal. Almost everyone on the planet wants this goal. You need to be a heck of a lot more specific than this. Don’t worry, I’m not about to ask you to go get a piece of paper, write down your goals and meditate on them. I would, however, encourage you to come up with something way more specific than “lose weight” or you are already on the path to not seeing results.
If you had to think of one main specific thing for a goal what would it be?
Now meditate on it…just kidding.
Think Big and Small
Everyone these days is telling you to think big. Shoot for the stars. Make your goals so big they are unachievable. While I love it when my clients have big goals, for many those goals are just so big that they can actually be what’s holding them back from seeing results.
For example – Are you currently 180 pounds and your goal is to be 140 pounds? Great…this is a perfect example of a specific main goal. This is much better than the general “I want to lose weight”. The issue is that losing 40 pounds can feel like a huge and daunting goal at times. So daunting in fact that you can easily lose focus along the way.
This is why I get my clients to solidify their main goal then break it down into smaller goals. An example of a smaller Mini Goal on the way to your Main Goal would be to lose the first 5 pounds. When you break your main goal down into smaller weekly or monthly goals they are way easier to handle mentally.
I had one of my Coaches once use the analogy of “If you intend to climb a mountain, the worst thing you can do is look at the peak when you are standing at the bottom. Focus on the steps in front of you, then before you know it, you’ll be at the top.”
Using that thought process, let’s say you are aiming to lose that 40 pounds in 8 months as your main goal. We would focus first on losing 5 pounds in one month as our smaller mini goal.
This goes for those looking to gain muscle as well. Focusing on gaining 20lbs vs 5lbs is massively different from a mental standpoint. I recommend focusing on 5lbs of weight gain or weight loss at a time.
Make sure you have an actual main goal. Then break that goal down into smaller goals that you can focus on each day and each week.
2. You Don’t Know “Why” You Are Doing What You Are Doing.
Knowing your goals and knowing why you are even doing what you are doing is extremely important. Let’s say you’ve determined you want to lose that 40 pounds. Great, Why? That seems like a stupid question but have you ever asked yourself why?
Do you want to lose the 40 pounds because you used to be lighter and you want your old body back? Or possibly because you’ll feel healthier and have more energy during the day?
I’m generally ok with why someone wants to gain or lose weight. Even if it’s for pure vanity reasons. I just need to know that my clients have a strong WHY.
Without a strong “why” my clients won’t wake up with enough focus to have a healthy breakfast, make their snacks and lunch for the day and plan when they are going to hit the gym that day.
Without a strong “why” people just go through their day randomly. They eat randomly, they make it to the gym randomly and they rarely if ever see results in the gym. Figure out your WHY and keep it strong in your mind!
I know my “why” the second I wake up each day and it’s with me all day. The food I eat during the day, the exercise I do and the positive thoughts I have are all based on this strong “why”. I encourage you to figure out your “why” if you want results.
3. What is your Commitment Level?
How committed are you to reaching the goals you say you want?
If your commitment level isn’t at least an 8 on a scale of 1-10 I can promise you you’ll just be spinning your wheels at the gym. Sure you’ll be going to the gym each week, moving your body, possibly maintaining your current physique and in return, this will keep you healthy. The thing is most clients don’t pay me my expensive hourly rate just for healthy maintenance. I’m also guessing you are reading this article because you are looking for more than just maintenance in the gym. You are reading this because you want some solid results.
If results are what you are after then you really need to sort out how committed you are to this process. Goals are great but if you aren’t committed those goals will always just be some far away dream.
Also If you think you can just hire a Coach to sort all this out you’ll be extremely disappointed my friend. We can push you in the gym in ways you’d never dream of, fix your postural issues, get your core stronger and help you build a beautiful lean physique but ONLY if you are capable of letting us push you. We need to say jump and you need to be the type who says “cool coach, how high?”
How can you tell the difference between high and low commitment individuals?
Low committed clients usually have a zillion excuses why they can’t get into shape. Usually, those excuses are all based around time. They think they have none. They watch hours of TV each week yet claim to have zero time for the goals they say they have. There is no time to prep meals, extra workouts rarely happen and eating well on the weekends never happens. Usually, they blame their kids, their spouse or some events that keep happening where they “had to eat” a specific way all weekend.
Highly committed individuals, however, have their meals planned for the day, they wake up early to hit the gym before work or they bring their workout gear to work so they can go straight after work. If their Coach gives them a meal plan they follow it very closely. If they’ve been given a workout to do on days they aren’t with their coach they do it. And there is no complaining along the way. I’ve yet to have a highly motivated client complain about having to prep their meals, go to bed early or workout on weekends.
Am I saying you always need to be extremely positive and filled with endless energy, never watch tv and live the life of a fitness model? No, I’m saying that strongly committed people are much better at making their health a priority and they don’t let many things get in the way of that priority. If they need to miss the odd tv show and go to bed a bit earlier they will. If there is a birthday party they might have a healthy dinner before they go and not drink alcohol all night. They are focused so they think ahead.
This brings us to the end of the mental aspect of why many people aren’t seeing results from their efforts in and out of the gym. We need strong Goals, a strong WHY and of course we need our Commitment level high enough so that we can make those goals happen!
In Part Two of this article, I’ll talk about the main things I see holding people back from progress while they are actually in the gym working out. You’ll probably think none of these things apply to you but trust me when I say they probably do. Even seasoned pros have to remind themselves of these concepts often.
If you’ve stalled out on your progress shoot me a message. I’ll help you sort out and get you on track for quick results.
Jade McClure – Vancouver Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach