You’re Doing it Wrong: 5 Mistakes You Make in the Gym

gymmistakes

I recently observed a woman about my age at the gym recently who has been doing the same “routine” every time I’ve seen her. She always seems to manage to get the bench next to me in the weight room. And she always seems to be doing similar exercises at the same time I’m doing them. But that’s where the similarities stop.

I would say this woman is probably following a Tracey Anderson-type of workout, perhaps from that blonde idiot (sorry, not sorry) herself or maybe out of a magazine. Who knows, all I know is this woman looks like she needs help. Why? She lifts nothing higher than 10lb dumbbells. When she goes to the machines, she tends to do almost all of them and puts the pin in the top (lightest) weight. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to her routine. The amount of reps is more than 20 because I literally lose count any time I attempt to count how many reps she’s doing.

I vowed to myself that if I see her one more time, which would be the third, I would go over and attempt to help her. Because maybe she just doesn’t know….

Here are 5 things that I think people do wrong at the gym. And if you think you’re doing some of these, maybe this will help you because maybe you just don’t know either!

 

  • You go in without a plan. I’m talking no plan whatsoever – no sheet of paper, no notes on your phone, no workout journal, nothing. WHY?  You travel from machine to machine. Going through the motions, staring off into space, probably making your grocery list in your head because you don’t have a plan when you go there either. You’re here to workout, put some EFFORT into it, will ya? Don’t be Mr. or Miss Random. Get in, do the work, and get out. Get an actual program from someone who knows your goals and is knowledgeable and someone you trust. Preferably a personal trainer. (Want online training? I do that now too and I’ll have videos coming soon. Click here for more information) Magazine workouts are sub par for those on a budget. If you have sworn off hiring a PT, you should invest in one or two really good BOOKS with programs that you can follow. Here are two that I’m reading right now: Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle and Strong Curves: A Woman’s Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body. Obviously men wouldn’t purchase the latter recommendation although most ladies like a man with some a strong set of glutes on them. 😉  A couple other authors I really like are Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove. Rachel put out one of my favorite books: The Female Body Breakthrough and her hubby Alwyn wrote what I consider the bible for women lifters: The New Rules of Lifting for Women.

Not a woman and want some recommendations? Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle mentioned above is appropriate for everyone but another good one –  The New Rules of Lifting: Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle is geared towards men.

  • You have a routine…but it’s been the same routine for over a year. While there’s nothing wrong with being consistent, all of us could use a little update to our current programs. It doesn’t even have to be anything drastic with regards to the changes you’re making. But if what you are currently doing isn’t quite getting the job done, it’s time to update your ancient program. At the very least, you should be changing up the amount of reps or at least adding a more challenging weight. Repeat after me – Change is Good! I trained a woman recently who was doing the same program her old personal trainer had her on…3 years prior. She complained that nothing was changing at all and she was bored. No wonder! I’d be bored too if I did the same exercises day in and day out 3 years in a row too! When you can’t remember the last time you changed up the exercises in your current regiment, it’s time for an overhaul.
  • You don’t lift at all. Why are you even reading this blog? 😉  Seriously though, time to stop thinking you don’t need to lift in order to see results because I promise you, you do. Cardio will only get you so far. And no one is saying you have to lift super heavy. The woman at the gym I referenced earlier lifts nothing heavier than 10lbs. Based on appearance alone, I feel like she is MUCH stronger than that! I feel like there’s a little lion in there and it needs to roar, ha! She doesn’t seem like she has an injury that she’s recovering  from, her range of motion was fine. Perhaps she’s worried about getting “bulky.” Perhaps she doesn’t think she is CAPABLE of lifting that heavy. You have to start somewhere! You don’t need to grunt and sound like you are in pain everytime you lift…but you should look like you’re putting forth some effort to get those weights up. This is the only way you will see change. You. Need. To. Lift. Even if it’s your own bodyweight.
  • You have no idea about pre and post workout nutrition. I don’t care if you’re going for fat loss or muscle gain or maintenance – Anyone who works out knows that the best snack is your PWO snack (Post WorkOut). This is the time when you can enjoy the benefits of working up a sweat and repair those muscles. EAT your Carbs! Drink your Protein Shake! This is the BEST time to eat. I make sure I eat within 30 minutes of finishing up my workout. When I was training for my competition it would not be unusual for me to be eating my snack the MOMENT I finished my last rep, walking out the door of the gym, scarfing down that Pop-Tart or fruit snacks like they were my last meal. It was glorious! As for pre-workout, some people can get away without eating anything and still getting a good lift on but at the very least, you need to ingest some BCAA’s so you have some energy.
  • You don’t know what tempo means. I was guilty of this as well. I would get a good pump going on at the gym and go home and it was fine. But once I started getting coaching from Erik at LBC, and he instructed me on tempo when lifting, it was a game changer for me. I finally started seeing significant change in my physique. I finally started feeling a little sore too, which wasn’t a bad thing. Most of all, I FELT the muscles in my body working. You not only have to visualize your muscles working, you have to slow everything down and concentrate on the motion. Only then do you really appreciate what a machine your body is truly capable of being. Stop being in a such a rush when you lift. It just looks plain silly. Like this poor fella.

 

Peak Week Jitters

This week began what’s called Peak Week for me, the week of the competition.

My plan from Coach Ben was not such a big difference when I first looked at it.  The one big thing was that I got to do cardio!  I even sent him a message saying how I was kind of excited at the thought of doing HIIT training the next morning in addition to my usual weight training.

Hey guess what I realized very quickly the next day???  I don’t miss cardio.

Considering that I had done my weight training and then an hour of cardio afterwards for a grand total of almost two hours at the gym, I was TOAST.  It was great to work up a huge sweat like that but I cannot believe people voluntarily go to the gym and workout for that long on a regular basis.  Hell, I can’t believe I used to RUN (okay JOG) for that long and even longer when I trained for my half and full marathons.  No Thanks!

I only have one more cardio session on Thursday morning and that will be it.

The other big change for me is staying at my low-carb amount for longer than I’m used to.  I used to switch off (kind of like carb cycling) with high carb and low carb days.  Well, today marks day number 4 of low carb.  Let me tell ya, I’m not used to this.  I was very foggy on Monday morning after my workout and I was kind of out of it again this morning with my client.  But, it went away after awhile and although I like telling people “Oh yeah, it’s my lack of carbs, that’s why I forgot (insert ditzy mistake here).”  It makes for a really good excuse but I can’t help but wonder that it’s just because I’m having more than my usual blonde moments. 🙂

Tomorrow I can only drink water…no more crystal light crap or my energy drinks (yes, I became addicted to some of them i’m ashamed to say).  But I can do this…I survived most of my adult life without them, I can certainly handle a few more days of not having them.

Then Friday…..The FUN begins.  I get to carbo load.  And omg I’m SOOOO looking forward to that.

Prepare for a slew of Instagram pics of all my carbo loaded meals.  Nom Nom Nom!!

Possibly one more update before the show.

In the meantime, here are some shots from the posing seminar I attended two weeks ago with some fantastic ladies who I may be competing with.

Top is a little low...oops.
Top is a little low…oops.

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I say “with” and not “against.”  I feel a sense of camaraderie with my fellow figure gals.  Especially the ones who are like me, having never done this before.  Cannot wait to hang backstage and get to know them better.

Off to bed…One more update coming your way Thursday…maybe a quick one on Friday.

-Michelle

 

 

 

Mid-Week Mentality

 

I'm not a fan of the Keep Calm campaign but it was the only free image I found on Google.
I’m not a fan of the Keep Calm campaign but it was the only free image I found on Google.

I’ve been venting discussing with a few people how it’s been a mental game lately, this past week in particular with regards to staying on track with the diet.

I was not at 100% adherence (sidenote – that sounds so OFFICIAL doesn’t it?)  this past week unfortunately and although I don’t feel like I failed, I realize it’s a mental game now.  At first it was fun and it still is….but all of a sudden I would say it’s getting serious.  The diet is not so much restrictive as much as it’s challenging to stick to. 

The most difficult times for me occur when I’m off work in the middle of the week.   My mid-week SUCKS.   Weekends are pretty easy.   Which is odd because I feel like everyone talks about how weekends cause them to get off track.  For me it’s the opposite.  Weekends are super easy probably because I’m not awake for as long on those days.  The more sleep I get, the less time I have to cheat.  Unless I master sleep-walk-eating.  Which would be kinda awesome .

As for Monday and Tuesday, I would classify them as a medium level of difficulty.

Wednesday hits and look out!  It’s like a light switch goes off and all of a sudden I’m STARVING and everything looks good and I  stare into the cupboards and the fridge fighting with myself saying (sometimes out loud because no one is home)  “Okay so just one of THOSE or a tablespoon of THAT or just an ounce of THIS couldn’t possibly be so bad.”

Didn’t I make a big post about this a few months ago?  BLT’s! Bites Licks and Tastes = Add up = Leads to Binge = Hard Work Out the Window.

So here’s the game plan for Wednesdays:   Check-in with my coach.  Simple? Yes.  Effective?  Highly.  It’s probably just going to be a quick shout to tell him I was at 100%.  If I know someone is on the other end waiting for that email, I think I might do better. 

By the way, feel free to comment/email/text me on Wednesdays to find out how I’m doing.  It helps to have people, even complete strangers, check-in with me.  I did it the other day on someone’s Facebook Page.  They hadn’t posted in over a week so I posted a question to them on their “wall” and lo and behold it helped him.   Even though the dude doesn’t have a clue who I am, just the fact that I asked him how he was doing made a small difference.

Yeah it might be short-lived but it’s something to get through the day. 

I also got some good advice from my co-worker today.  She said:  Don’t think of it as 11 weeks to go or even 6 months in…think of it as Starting from Day 1.  Today you’re starting from the beginning.

Starting anew.  Maybe it sounds too much like “I’ll start Monday” mentality but it’s not.  Even though I’ve been on Ben’s plan for 10 weeks, and training for 9 months, I shouldn’t think of all the time that I’ve spent working and focus more on this point moving forward.  That way it’s like a fresh start every week.

I like that mentality a lot more than thinking “Oh my gosh I can’t believe I have to do this for 11 more weeks.”

It should be “Oh YES, I have 11 more weeks to work on this!” 

And even my coach phrased it well to me yesterday:  “You can make the most out of these next 11 weeks or you can just get through it.” 

I think I’m going to try to make the most of it.  Just getting through it sounds like Just Getting By and that sounds like no fun.  

FREE STUFF!!!!!

On a somewhat unrelated note, I will be providing some free t-shirts for my “Fans” to wear to the show on October 5th.  Family gets first dibs and then if there are extra and you are coming, you’ll get a shirt that you MUST wear that day.

It will look cool, trust me.  The goal is to get a big picture of myself with all my supporters that day.  For all those who have supported me, a t-shirt is the least I can do to repay you. 🙂

Also – I reserve the right to change my mind and charge a small fee for the shirts because…ummm….just because. 🙂

Okay 11 weeks:  Here. We. Go.

 -Michelle

Random Tweet of the Week courtesy of @jadeteta 

“What’s the deal with these ridiculous selfies? How bout take a picture of yourself helping someone? #helpies #dosomethinguseful”

I couldn’t agree more!

 

“My food is my fuel…my food is my fuel…”

This mantra has been on repeat in my head all day today.  Why? Because today started meal plan #2 from Coach Davies. 

Before I go into what Coach has in store for me this month let me just boast that today, FINALLY, I was able to break through my plateau.  I weighed myself this morning after not getting on the scale for a week, to find that I’m down to 125lbs. What a relief! 

I was somewhat concerned I would never see it budge ever again.  And although I am well aware that it’s not really about the scale at all, I do like to at least know what kind of a range I’m in right now.  Plus, today was the weigh out for my little bet I had going with my friend Craig.  I proudly exclaimed on Facebook that he owes me $20…

Yes Virginia, it IS possible to lose weight over the holidays:  9lbs down from Thanksgiving until today.  The only rule we set out from this bet was that I would not do any diet pills (as if) weight loss shakes or anything like that.  I promise I stood by these rules. 

I can also add that a FB friend of mine from high school,  ALSO took on the challenge of losing weight during the holidays and she lost 5lbs too!  So yes, it can happen. 

I tallied up the amount of cookies I had from Thanksgiving until Christmas Day and it totaled 20.  I can even remember exactly what I ate (is this normal?)

Thanksgiving: 2 Chocolate chip cookies

The Dessert Party on December 9th: Already posted about this but just to repeat: 1 triple layer cookie, a piece of angel food cake, a small bite of pumpkin pie (really don’t need to count this do I?) 1 of those sugary icing deliciousness cookies.

Christmas Day (for us was Sunday the 23rd): 6 chocolate balls, 3 buckeyes (This is Ohio ya know) 1 homemade cut out cookie.

Christmas Eve: 4 cookies at work of various types, 1 sugar cookie at dinner.

So for anyone who thinks I just avoided all sugar, you are sorely mistaken.  I definitely enjoyed my fill. 

I would say this may have been part of the reason I plateaued almost the whole month of December.   Maybe not, but I think it’s interesting that all of a sudden I lose 2lbs the second I stop eating the junk? Hmmmm…

As for my meal plans and getting back on track (although I didn’t really get off track, did I?) last month my Coach had me eating alot of egg whites, chicken, and flank steak.  This month, even MORE egg whites, Imageasparagus, Imagetilapia Image

or cod (yum!) and green beans, Image

among other things.  Besides the meal plan becoming more of a challenge, the workouts are much more intense as well.  Sprints, plyometrics, walking backwards on the treadmill and stairmaster (I have yet to master this. I am convinced I will fall and make myself look like an idiot.)

The mantra “My food is my fuel” came into my brain after reading a woman’s FB post recently.  Her name is Amy Jo Horvath and she’s a National Physique Committee competitor.  Here’s her FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/AmyJoHorvathNpcFigureCompetitor

She’s also a mom and wife and is in full contest prep mode.  This means she basically has to find time to train and eat clean still be a full time mommy and wife.  I must say, at least on the surface of her FB page, she is on top of it! 

A few weeks ago she posted how she had to eat her prepared food in her car.  She ended the post with “Food is fuel!”  It stuck with me as I downed cold Cream of Rice and egg whites this morning, literally fork in right hand, driving with the left.  This wasn’t as difficult as it sounds (although I do not suggest doing it). 

The second meal of the day proved more challenging to stomach: Tuna, egg white and diced asparagus.  Perhaps it was the lack of flavor…perhaps just the sloppiness of trying to get tuna and asparagus on the fork…but it was by far the hardest part of my day.  (I know how silly that sounds considering the hardest part of the day for most people is probably way worse)

But THAT’s when the mantra kicked in.  And in the end I ate it all.  I didn’t puke, I didn’t feel sick…lo and behold I actually felt full and energetic. 

Wow, who would have thought?  Good food = good things. What a concept!

The only downside to this new meal plan?  It’s true what they say about asparagus. I will let the reader figure that one out.

Time to get sleep…because as awesome as food is, it’s equally important to rest and recover for the day that comes tomorrow.

-Michelle

Random tweet: I burned 97,611 calories in 2012.  But sadly, I didn’t log all my workouts. So it’s probably more. #random #exercise #workoutfreak