Without question we’ve all had days in the gym that were entirely unproductive. Days when we felt like we had no energy or desire to pump iron. Days that just plain sucked.
That’s why in this article I want to discuss 5 of the most common reasons why your last gym session was abyssal, so that you can be better prepared next time to make the most of your workouts.
1. Your Diet Sucks
Proper nutrition is one of the most important aspects of your training. Without proper nutrition you will have a hard time making any substantive progress in the gym. That’s why you have to go the extra mile and make sure you are feeding your body the right nutrients at the right time. This will not only help you recover and grow in between your workouts, but will also ensure that you have the energy to train like a beast every time you set foot in the gym.
I know far too many guys that underestimate the importance of diet. They spend their nights out on the town drinking heavily and eating garbage and then wonder why they feel weak as shit in the gym. I know some of you guys might like to take caffeine or other stimulants before a workout and that’s fine, but they can only take you so far. Eventually you’re crappy diet will catch up with you. So the next time you have a piss poor session in the gym, ask yourself “What has my diet been like for the past week?”
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2. Your Sleep Sucks
This is a no brainer but I’ll mention it anyway. If you are not getting an adequate amount of rest your training will suffer. I understand that occasionally you won’t be able to get a good night’s sleep and that’s fine. Does that mean you should skip the gym in order to rest? In my opinion, if it’s just 1-2 nights of crappy sleep then just pop some caffeine and hit the gym anyway. However, if you are stringing together several sleepless nights or are suffering from a crippling bout of insomnia, it’s better you get your sleep issues sorted out first before trying to go all beast mode in the gym. I recommend most guys get between 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Some will need more, some less. This is where you will need to do your own homework. I know that when I’m training very hard in the gym with weights very close to RMs (rep maximums), I need a little extra sleep.
3. You’re Distracted In The Gym
Guys like to bitch and whine all the time about girls and their iphones. They complain that girls are on their phones 24/7 these days. In fact, some have even argued that it has gotten so bad that you now have to compete with it for the girl’s attention (a sort of cock block 2.0 if you will). Well, I’d like to make the same comment about guys and their iphones in the gym. I see guys all the time glued to their iphones between sets in the gym. Usually they are flipping through facebook or having text conversations with friends.
This is a problem with modern society in general. We have completely lost the ability to focus on the task at hand. It’s no wonder most guys just go through the motions at the gym, haphazardly doing sets in between text conversations with friends and checking their facebook profile. Cut this nonsense out. You are a grown man and should be able to focus on a single task for at least 60-90 minutes at a time. In fact, my advice to guys is to not even carry their phones into the gym. Cultivate a laser like focus on your workout and say goodbye to crappy gym sessions.
4. Your Intensity Sucks
This point sort of ties into the previous point in that most guys train with no intensity whatsoever. Walking into most commercial gyms these days feels like I’m interrupting a church service. It’s an extremely rare sight for me to see a guy effectively psyche himself up for a lift, or make a little noise to grind out an extra rep or two.
It is a sorry state that gyms like Planet Fitness even exist. The lunk alarm has got to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard of. That’s why I’m giving you the green light to make a little noise if it helps you get psyched up for a lift, especially limit lifts. You don’t need to bring smelling salts to the gym or ask your training partner to slap you across the face, but you must find a way to tap into some He-Man level strength if you want to inoculate yourself from repeated crappy sessions in the gym.
Ross tells you like it is:
5. You’re Burnt Out
Although I think the term overtraining is used way too often these days, I must admit that even if you are training like a maniac you will eventually hit a plateau and your progress will come to a halt. In this case, if you know for a fact that you are covering all angles of your training adequately (nutrition, rest, recovery etc.) and you are still stuck, it’s time for you to deload. This means that you will need to lighten the training stimulus for a few weeks before you build back up to smash some more PRs.
Although periodization is a concept that requires an article unto itself, my generic recommendation is for guys to dial back their poundages by roughly 20%. So for example, if I got struck with a 275lbs bench press for 5 reps, I would drop back down to 220-225lbs for 5 reps and build back up. This is when experience comes in handy. Over time you will learn what your body needs in order to get over a plateau, even if it’s 2 steps forward and 1 back.
So the next time you have a crappy session in the gym, review these 5 points. Is your diet and sleep in order? Are you training distraction free and with animal-like intensity? When was your last deload? The answers to these questions will help you determine if you are making the most of your time in the gym.
Read More: 4 Reasons Why Your Diet Sucks