18 Mistakes (#3 surprised even me) You’re Making

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Are you making these mistakes with your approach to training and diet?

I’ve compiled a list of 18 mistakes from some of Australia’s brightest personal trainers and strength coaches. Read below as they chime in with the mistakes they see people making with their training, nutrition, mindset and recovery techniques.

Brando Hasick

Instagram || Blog

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  1. Don’t go it alone. I see people trying to do it alone without proper coaching or accountability. I always ask people why they use an accountant. And they say, “because they aren’t 100% sure and want to make sure they get the best results with their money.” So why don’t they do the same with their health? Your health is much more valuable than your money, so seek somebody to hold you accountable.
  2. They choose short-term pleasure over long-term satisfaction. Tim Tams and TV today might be tempting… but it doesn’t move you any closer to your goals. Always think, “is this moving me closer to my goals, or dragging me further away?” This will help you to stop any short-term decision making.
  3. Look after your mobility. Would you rather be the fresh green branch that bends and twists, or the old twig that snaps in half with a slight bit of pressure? Those than can bend and produce force through a larger range of motion will less likely snap tendons and ligaments leading to longer training/playing careers. Start to look after your hips, lower back and hamstrings and become supple. Do it now before it’s too late.

Jason Clarke

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  1. Make your Resolutions Realistic – too many of us shoot for the stars on this one and end up in the clouds. Setting unrealistic goals and expectations can be dangerous physically and morally demeaning. It’s much easier to push a boulder up a hill if it has momentum rather than pushing it from a static start. If it stops for a second then it’s extremely hard to get it moving again and this is where most people give up or even go backwards. Now pushing boulders for some may be unrealistic J, a better example would be if you couldn’t jog more than 2km without stopping then setting a New Years Resolution to do a marathon by June is dangerous as the time frame is too small for the effort you would need to invest in seeing this goal through. Committing to a local, organised park fun run over consecutive months is much more realistic – it gives you a challenge and it provides direction without being unattainable within that time frame. You will also feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete it.
  1. Nominate a Support Network – Don’t just think about this one, really sit down and decide who you will need around you to keep you on track when shit gets real tough – and it will! How much better does it feel knowing you are working in a team or being in a space where you are motivated by the people that surround you, especially if you are having a bad day. Any successful company or sporting team attributes the teamwork of many professionals as integral to their structure. Achieving New Years Resolutions is no different. Align yourself with people who you know will support and encourage you while you’re on your path to achieving what’s important to you.
  1. Belief and Visualization – If you can’t perceive where you want to end up, then it won’t materialize. Take the time and really see yourself in the picture of where you want to be – go into as much detail as you can (what’s the color of your shoes? how are you standing? What would that feel like?). The art of clear visualization or meditation if you want to call it that creates a time of still, quiet and focus. Everyday life we battle to block out distraction, this is the one moment you can give your future the opportunity to be heard in your own voice. There are a plethora of books explaining the power of the subconscious brain and how finding a mere 3-5min a day to center your thoughts triggers a productive response. When your subconscious and conscious brain starts aligning in the same direction the wheels are set in motion and you will be astounded by the results. Remember –  a life without inspiration, a fulfilled purpose or direction is a hard way to live! No amount of salad, smoothies, workouts, kids, houses, shoes or financial security can make that go away. You can’t experience true optimal health without passion, purpose and inspiration. Don’t let yourself fall into this way of living as the year rolls on because somehow, in the moment, it seems safer and easier than attempting to be part of the 8% of people that succeed their New Years Resolutions.

Alexa Towersey

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Instagram || Alexa is the author of the Creating Curves program, which develops strong sexy curves for women.

  1. Over training and under recovering. Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually relatively hard to over train, however it is really easy to under recover. Recovery is just as important as training, if not more so as you age. I liken recovery to a bank balance.  Every time you train it’s like making a withdrawal.  Every time you include a recovery practice (infra red sauna, foam rolling, epsom salts bath, contrast shower, acupuncture, massage), it’s like making a deposit.  If you are always making withdrawals and never making deposits, you will inevitably end up overdrawn and injured.  I have this conversation all the time with clients in the gym who say they barely have time for training let alone recovering.  My answer – I don’t have time to be injured.  In addition to that, recovery falls into the stress management category, which not only affects emotional wellbeing but also plays a huge role in fat loss as an aesthetic goal.  When I was in my 20’s my body responded really well to high volume, high intensity training.  Now that I’m in my 30’s, I stay healthier, happier and leaner when I’m more focused on stress management,  effectively training less and including and more “yin” type training (yoga, pilates, power walking), in my program.
  1. Not setting an “objective.” Both training and nutrition are very individualized processes that take into account genetics, hormones, training experience, current lifestyle practices – what works for one person will not necessarily work for someone else.  However the biggest mistake I see with people who fail to get the results they want, is failing to set an initial objective.  Training and eating for weight loss is different to training and eating for fat loss. Training and eating to get stronger and improve power to weight ratio is different to training and eating for hypertrophy.  If you don’t have an objective, how do you come up with a plan of attack? And how do you measure if your degree of success? If you don’t have a plan of attack or a way to track your results, you’re essentially just “exercising” – training for the sake of training.  This will only ever get you so far, and is unlikely to be an efficient or effective use of your time.
  2. Training strengths and avoiding weaknesses. If you suck at something, it’s probably something that you need to do. We sit at desks for the majority of our life, and end up with tight, weak bodies, poor posture and inefficient movement habits which eventually lead to injury.  If we only ever focus on doing the stuff we love and we’re good at, then we’re only ever going to be making those imbalances and weaknesses worse, setting ourselves up for potential injury further down the track.  As an example, if you struggle to squat with  full range of motion due to mobility or stability issues yet they are in your program for a specific reason, don’t decide to avoid them completely or try to half ass your way through them.  Regress the exercise to a single leg variation, and address your structural imbalances and mobility issues as part of your dynamic warmup or recovery sessions. 

Mitch Pike

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  1. Reduce inflammation. Your mum was right – you need to eat your veggies. To get your body back in balance, you need to improve the quality of your food. Your bodies will begin to function in a state that is more beneficial for both overall health, vitality and as a by product, improving your body composition. YOU can reprogram your fat cells to store fewer calories and as a result, fat loss will occur naturally, without the need for the quick fix diets and other psychologically sapping methods. We need to start introducing vegetables to every meal of the day – PERIOD.
  2. Stop the blame game. It’s never your fault. You’re late? It’s because of traffic. You’re tired? It’s because work is stressing you out. You’re not lifting with the intensity you should? It’s because you had a bad day at work and now you’ve decided that the days a right off so you might as well do the bare minimum to make it through to tomorrow. The list goes on. Does this sound like you? If it does, you’re on the right track – because realising the problem is the first step to devising a plan for the solution. If you’re told by your parents/friends that you don’t take responsibility YET you think you do, then you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself. You and ONLY you are in control of the results you get from the work YOU put in. Don’t like the result you’re getting? Then its on YOU to change. Stop blaming your lack of internal drive on external factors that don’t mean shit. YOU create meaning to everything in your life, you see whats in front of you and you paint the picture whilst telling yourself a story of what it is. Whats “it”? “It” is whatever happens to you. “It” is called life and sometimes shit happens that can poison your being but the only antidote to relieving yourself of any unnecessary chip on your shoulder is to own your shit. Own anything and everything – every result is a consequence of your actions.
  3. Don’t be a CAN’T. If you’re married to the word can’t and try, you will struggle. I hate these words, anyone that knows me knows this. I dislike them for two reasons – and it relates back to giving yourself an option. When you want to do something, do it. If you’re going to “try” to do something, you’ve already set yourself up for potential failure – you’ve put inside your head that there is an option to fail. Forget trying. There is no such thing as try. You either DO or you DON’T. Its that simple and yes its black and white. Don’t go through life “trying”. Thats a mediocre way of pursuing your endeavours – the mind must be right before the body will follow. It’s not the other way around. Don’t wait for something to drastically change that will all of a sudden make shit any easier. To “try” is easy. To “do” is a little more difficult. Trying won’t get you to where you need to be – but doing will. Get out of your head that there is any other option but to do. Can’t is closely related to words that kill potential. It kills more than potential actually. It robs the mind of being able to take itself to a greater awareness. That’s essentially all we do when we learn, conquer and reassess. We bring ourselves to heightened levels of awareness and things we once currently thought were out of reach are now in fact possible – our new found awareness. Can’t creates limits. If you REALLY deep down want to see how far you can push yourself, drop can’t and drop try. From here on out, you either DO or you DON’T. Don’t create excuses, find solutions.

Keegan Smith

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Instagram || Blog

  1. No daily record. Too many people I see lose motivation only days in to a new program. One of the reasons this occurs is they feel they are not progressing. Progress is one of the best motivators in the world. An easy, simple way to measure progress is by setting action goals, instead of outcome goals. So instead of setting a goal to lose 20kg’s, instead focus on working out a minimum of 20 minutes per day, and starting your day by eating a large serve of vegetables and protein. By tracking and improving the adherence to your actin goals, the outcome will take care of itself. There’s a fantastic app called ‘Way of Life’ which will help you track your daily actions.
  2. No Bigger vision of self. You need to have a worthy ideal to maintain motivation. What is a worthy ideal? A worthy ideal is much bigger than a goal. It’s the thing that you want to give your life to. When you have this, the details of what you have to do everyday become much more straightforward. Spend some time thinking about what you love doing and what you would love to be remembered for when this life is done. Think without limitations here. Any limit you put on this idea will immediately shut down ideas and the growth that you are capable of. Book tip: “Passion Test”
  3. Lack of community. You are your community. As Jim Rohn famously said, you are the five people you hang around. So choose wisely! You will be like a chameleon with your inner circle and will end up mirroring your friends habits. Everything will rub off on you: political opinions, income, fitness levels, spirituality and even relationships.

Ben Murphy

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Instagram || Blog

My passion lies with movement freedom. Everybody deserves to be able to live a healthy and fit lifestyle. It’s my mission to show you how.

  1. Mobility – Gym goers just see a mobility exercise and go for it! Understand what your issue is and tailor the exercise to it. If it doesn’t feel like it working for you then move on to another. My biggest take home is find out what works for you! If you are trying to create more range through your hips and after 30 seconds you don’t see/feel a difference move onto a different mobility exercise.
  2. Nutrition – Hydration – Really how much do we need? Most people I see start with the ‘I eat healthy’. ‘I train hard’ but still not seeing results. Being dehydrated just slightly can affect performance dramatically. In regards to body composition it is nearly impossible to gain muscle and strip fat when your body on a cellular level is dehydrated. This may sound like the simplest solution ever which I hope it does to you but carry around a water bottle. If its there you are more than likely to sip on it. Now how much? Activity level, body type and lifestyle choices can affect how much water you actually need. If you can get to the toilet and secrete clearly twice a day you are on the right track.
  3. Training – Frequency – Ever over trained to the point your body shut down, couldn’t function properly, having restless nights and nausea when trying to eat? No me neither. TRAINING FREQUENCY is the key to improving fast. We talk about a lot with our clients the importance of this over 1 year. If our focus is to hold a 1 minute handstand and we practice once a week for a whole year we could say we are quite consistent, but the frequency is very low. Lets just say now we train handstands twice a week, now in one year you can complete the same workout load as in two years… You are getting the point that I am creating. Frequency is key to any successful transformation, wether this be performance or body composition. Don’t be scared of frequency and train in smaller blocks. We use 5-20 minute blocks with all clients depending what skill we are working on and then incorporate this into every single day.

You wouldn’t tell me that you cant walk around today because you have been using your feet all week and now you need to rest day. You over time have built this up. Start small, 2-3 days per week and build upon this. MOVE everyday!

Yours Truly

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  1. Aiming for too much, too soon. Stop trying to change thirty-seven things at once. Start with one or two things maximum at a time, nail them for 30 days, and then add more.
  2. Underestimating recovery. It has taken me 10 years of working in the fitness industry to understand the importance of the non-sexy components of body transformation. I’m talking about sleep, meditation, and mobility. You have to balance the yin with the yang. Meditation has changed my life, and has gotten me through some dark times the past few years.
  3. Surround yourself with good people. Who do you spend the majority of your time with? Do they lift you up, encourage you to think big, help you when you’re down? Or do they laugh at your lofty goals, celebrate when you fail, and tell you you’re being obsessive with your health and fitness? We’re filled with enough of our own doubts and insecurities, so it’s important to block out others who add fuel to the fire. This applies to family AND friends – choose them wisely.

So there you have it… 18 mistakes people make with their goals.

Which one resonated with you the most? Any questions for the coaches? Post them below.

What to do now: Don’t try to apply all 18 tips right away. Choose 1 or 2 that apply to you, and stick with them for the next 30 days. Then, and only then, come and choose the next tip, and rinse and repeat.