My Biggest Training Mistakes
One of my big personal (and professional) values is honesty. So I think it’s important to admit mistakes. It’s part of the process and it’s part of moving forward, in my opinion, in any area of life. It also helps to let go of notions and ideas that no longer serve you well.
On that note, I’m constantly taking learnings from my job, which is one of the big reasons I love my job! This week I was reminded of a principle that has become important as part of my coaching – that being “more is not better”. So I thought it’s a great time to reflect on my past training mistakes and share them with you, dear reader!
“Something is Better Than Nothing” – I’m exercising so I deserve results, right? Moving for movement’s sake can be worthwhile if your goal is to sweat and burn calories at that exact time. But what this belief doesn’t account for is – there are more and less efficient ways to get to certain goals like: gaining strength, muscle, toning or losing body fat.
Not all Workouts Are Created Equal. – I wasted so much time doing catabolic workouts that burned my muscle. I ran up to 50km a week with the objective to burn calories. As I was at that time only measuring the value of my workout in “calories burnt” I definitely did not consider more muscle building workouts like bodyweight HIIT and weights training. There’s nothing wrong with running, I just totally misused it.
“More is Better” – Moving on from *cardio bashing*, there’s weights training and there’s “weights training”…. yes I’ve been guilty of following a training programme that was NOT written for me and my goals. What did I get from 800 reps per week on my arms? Sore elbows and boring workouts that I loathed 🤷♀️. I went back to my roots of simplified “big 5” training sessions and started loving training again.
Getting Sidetracked. Essentially, looking at what other people are doing or saying is the best way to train, questioning my own plan, and then changing it. The thing is, most people in the fitness industry are online to sell a product that requires them to interact with real humans as little as possible. Of course their book/app/plan is the best and only way to get results. Once you buy it, their job is done. Getting sidetracked by shiny things online only means that you don’t give your current plan time to kick in. The best plan is the one you can stick to consistently.
Doing it the hard way. The training that will get me results should suck right? While I definitely am all for harder, more effective workouts in less time, that shouldn’t mean hating doing your training. As per point 4 – the best training plan is one that challenges you, and you look forward to showing up for (more often than not).
Focussing on the end result. I worked out for 6 hours this week, I should have lost weight right? Then jumping on the scales only to be disappointed. What I really should have been focused on was the process of training – how much stronger I’m getting, how my squats are improving etc, rather than my expectations of what I deserved for my effort (doing training I didn’t really enjoy).
Not eating to support my training. “I just need to eat less to lose weight”. Oh honey, no. If only I could wind back the clock 10 years ago and tell pre-nutritionist me the truth of how various nutritional strategies can help you to get much more out of your training, and even make it suck less!
Failing to keep track. If your training plan doesn’t include a method to track your progress in terms of strength, fitness, or body composition, you’re going to be going round in circles. I teach my clients how to track their training so that when the time comes to make adjustments – they have data to work with. No guesswork!
Too much time online. Stop looking at what everyone else is doing. Fitness is not a “single best solution” scenario – it has context. The people you view online may have completely different values, lifestyles and genetics to you. Most of the time they’re selling to you. Stop comparing and start enjoying the process of becoming a better version of you x