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7 Reasons Your Not Seeing Results In The Gym

One might think that after two degrees and a few certifications my education might be over. Think again, because the real education begins after college graduation. As a professional in the strength and conditioning and personal training worlds I am continuously trying to improve myself. At first thought, it would be easy to assume that with increased knowledge and experience comes a better understanding of what to do and while that is a correct thought I have learned that although I do learn about what to do and what works I actually learn more of what not to do and what doesn’t work. I have a saying that I tell some of my clients that might question when I tell them not to do something. I say, “I may not know everything that works but I do know what doesn’t.” In my opinion, knowing what not to do because it doesn’t work is just as if not more important than knowing what does work. In my experience, you can always find a new strategy or tool that helps you get over a hurdle or plateau, but the things that don’t work never change. These seven things listed below have never helped anyone achieve anything in the past or present, nor will they in the future.

Note: You may notice I don’t talk about the importance of nutrition and sleep/recovery in any of the points listed below. If you don’t realize that those two things are just as important as the act of working out itself then please don’t even bother reading on

1. Lack of Patience

It blows my mind the lack of patience people have in the gym. It’s not just one demographic either. I have worked with high school and collegiate athletes, stay at home moms, business professionals, you name it and almost everyone suffers with a lack of patience at some point. The reason this drives me crazy sometimes is because the lack of common sense some people display the minute they step in the gym. If someone wants to learn how to play the guitar they’d most likely realize that it’s going to take an enormous amount of practice to even learn to play one song correctly and they accept this challenge because well how can you expect to learn a song in the first week if you’ve never played the guitar? But then that same person that hasn’t worked out in three years becomes frustrated that they haven’t gotten their body back that they had three years ago within the first two months of training. I also see people visibly upset that their weight in a certain lift only went up five pounds in one month. Let’s do the math, five pounds per month x twelve months= sixty pounds in a year. Go ahead and ask any experienced lifter if they would turn down an improvement of sixty pounds in a year. The answer is no way in hell. Bottom line: be patient, work hard, and quit crying.

2. Ego

One of my earliest articles was on ego (A Bodybuilders Worst Nightmare). In my opinion, this is the most amusing on the list. I’ve been working out since I was 14 years old and most of the time I don’t have a gym buddy so every once in a while I have to find ways to amuse myself. There is nothing more amusing than finding that person with the inflated ego at the gym. Just watching them walk across the gym amuses me. How they interact with other strangers at the gym, giving unwanted advice to some teenagers, or talking about their 1 rep max no one has ever witnessed brings amusement to my workout. It’s amusing to me because I will see that person six months to a year down the road and they have made zero improvement. The ironic thing is that the people with an inflated ego are the ones that should read this but they don’t realize that I am talking about them. Bottom line, leave your ego at the door. Bottom line: learn from others that are where you want to be, learn what not to do from those that are screwing up, learn from everyone.

3. No Clear Path/Goals

This point is pretty straight forward but no less important. If you don’t know where you are going how do you know when you have arrived? Or better yet how do you even plan the trip? Yes, doing anything is better than doing nothing. But doing something with a purpose is better yet. The goals you set don’t need to be permanent but they can’t change every week either. Having goals, or a why, uh huh see what I did there, will be your motivation and compass. It is harder to skip the gym if in the back of your mind you know you are screwing up a bigger plan rather than just skipping a single day. Bottom line: set a goal, make a plan, and attack it.

4.Fear of Failure

A fear of failure is something I see fairly often in the gym and it breaks my heart. It hits me hard because I know it is a difficult mental hurdle to get past. A common reason people are afraid to fail in the gym is because of the ego that we discussed earlier. They see failure as a hit to their ego, to their perceived awesomeness. I believe that failure is mandatory for success to happen in life and the gym is no different. I try to explain to my athletes and clients to expect failure. Failure is coming whether you like it or not so expect it. If you expect failure to come one day then it doesn’t hit you quite as hard when it does. Sure, it sucks when it happens but if it was part of the plan from the beginning then no big deal, regroup and push forward. Training in the gym for fat loss, strength gains, etc., is not a linear journey. You cannot continue to improve forever without any bumps in the road. It’s physically impossible. Bottom line: expect failure, learn from it, say screw it, and push forward.

5. Inconsistency

This is a no brainer. If you don’t show up regularly you will not see results or the results will be minimal. Period. End of story. And yes, you do have time for twenty minutes a day for an at home interval workout that will burn more fat than the hamsters running on the treadmill or elliptical for an hour every day at the gym.Bottom line: if it’s important to you, you will find time.

6. You Get Bored

I have to be careful not to go on a rant about this topic. Does training need to be boring to be effective? Absolutely not. Will it get boring sometimes? Most likely, yes. If you need your workouts to be entertaining every day the entire time you are working out then you might want to rethink yourwhy.Is your goal to see results or to be entertained? I can honestly say 1000% if someone told me watching paint dry for five hours a day would make me see the results I wanted I absolutely would do it. Of course, there are always ways to make training fun and there are too many for me to begin to list them. That’s not the point I’m trying to make anyways. Bottom line: if you can make training entertaining then absolutely do it but don’t lose sight of why you are training in the first place.

7. Majoring in the Minors

This last point is one that most people don’t even realize they are doing. Majoring in the minors refers to giving major focus to minor details. In my professional opinion, based off of my experiences, your success, no matter what your goal is, is going to come down to you doing anywhere from three to five things correctly and consistently. Yet, for whatever reason I have witnessed people giving a crazy amount of attention to one minor aspect of their training that will have little to no effect on them achieving their goal. I know at the beginning I mentioned I was not going to discuss the importance of nutrition and sleep but a perfect example of majoring in the minors would be stressing about what brand of supplements to purchase when you are sleeping four hours a night and eating processed crap. Guess what? You can spend whatever you want on the “perfect” supplement and if you are sleeping and eating like crap you can say bye-bye to those goals. And that’s not up for debate. An easy way to determine if it’s a minor aspect of training or a major aspect is if you have to think about it, it’s minor. I hope you get the point I’m trying to make because this topic was actually more difficult to discuss than I initially thought. Bottom line is: majoring in the minors, you just know it when you see it. Avoid doing it.

As always, thanks for reading and be sure to support the site by subscribing with your email.

Bill Marnich

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