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Mistakes made in the gym part 2: not having a plan

I fell victim to this a few months back.

Day in and day out I would spend my hours programming for and training my clients; I always made sure they were in order and I was giving them the best service I could offer. In the midst of that, however, I forgot about my own training. I constantly preach taking time for yourself to my clients, so I decided to finally take my own advise.

Sure, I would workout. I typically (and still do) lift full-body three times per week, run or play pick-up basketball the days in between, and throw in a boxing class on Sundays. But therein lies the problem itself: when I was lifting, I would just be ‘working out’ - not training (the way I would my clients). It struck me one day when I was getting ready to lift and had very little motivation to do so. I used to really enjoy it, but there was something missing. I realized that it was structure and the ability to see progress. I know enough about fitness that I can throw together a decent workout and still get some sort of training effect, but I felt like I wasn’t getting enough bang for my buck. I would spend a large chunk of time thinking about what I wanted to superset exercises with, what weight I should be at, and how one exercise would translate to the next that I felt like I wasn’t able to get as much out of the workout as I intended. This was defeating and exhausting. Plus, after thinking about training all day, I didn’t want to have to think - I just wanted to look at a plan and do.

Using the knowledge I have spent years developing on programming, I decided to just take a few hours every four weeks and devise a plan for myself. After all, the time I spent thinking of things to do on the spot would be better spent on this. Almost immediately, my training shifted. I felt motivated and anxious to get into the gym and tackle the lifts I had planned, knowing that I crafted it for myself and my goals. Over the course of the first four weeks, I watched numbers go up, felt the differences in the lifts I was tracking and my body, resolved my cognitive dissonance, and, most importantly, I began enjoying training again.

Too often I see people walk into the gym and do ‘a little of this, a little of that.’ Something is definitely better than nothing, but know that there is a difference between working out and training.

Moral of the story: the whole “trainers need trainers” is no joke. Take time or spend the money on a solid, well-developed, individualized program and watch yourself improve. After all, happiness is progress!

Stephanie Spoto, CSCS

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