The health and fitness industry generates over $75 billion annually worldwide. That’s a lot of gym memberships. What’s even more staggering is that approximately 67% of that revenue is wasted due to under utilization. Basically, that means 2 out of every 3 people that have a gym membership don’t even use it. That’s over 50 billion dollars flushed down the toilet! Now, these stats are primarily a reflection of big box gyms that provide very little service or value and don’t include fitness studios, Crossfit gyms, and other strength and conditioning facilities. Even when you add these training facilities to the equation though, you’re still looking at least $45 billion wasted on an annual basis!
These stats tell me 2 things:
1. There is an extremely high demand for services that will help people look, feel and perform better.
2. There are very few people that ACTUALLY look, feel, and perform better.
For the 33% that actually show up, only a small percentage of them make any progress whatsoever. The abundance of choice inside fitness facilities combined with a lack of knowledge by most gym goers is a perfect recipe for failure. The key is to avoid the pitfalls that the majority of people make. Some warning signs that your workout routine could be lackluster include:
1. You do too much isolation work – Too many people spend way too much time working the smallest muscles in their body (i.e. biceps, triceps, calves) only to achieve equally small results. To get the best bang for your buck, don’t waste your time with isolation exercises that do very little for your overall strength and muscle building pursuits. Use more compound movements like the squats, bench presses, and deadlifts to make real gains.
2. You do too much upper body work – You know what they say, “friends don’t let friends skip leg day.” It’s quite tragic that guys will neglect the largest muscles in their body and deprive themselves of optimal testosterone production. Don’t be a pussy, train your legs to get big and strong everywhere else!
3. You do too much long, slow cardio – If you’re still sitting on the elliptical or stationary bike for an hour trying to burn more fat then you got a long road ahead of you. They key to fat burning is intensity and anabolic (muscle building) activity. Long slow, cardio is both catabolic (muscle wasting) and time wasting. Start lifting more weights and doing intervals to get more results in less time.
4. You jump from program to program – Consistency is one the keys to success in the gym. If you are constantly jumping from one program to the next you’ll never get a chance to make any real progress. Give yourself at least 6-8 weeks before switching your training split or exercises.
5. You don’t sweat – As silly as this sounds, there a lots of people who exercise (or do what they think is exercise) and never sweat. If you’re not breaking a sweat, you’re not giving your body a reason to get better.
6. You still do crunches – Honestly. If you want to build a strong core use plank variations, FULL situps, russian twists, hanging leg raises , ab wheel rollouts, or anything other than a futile little crunch. If you want to see those beautiful abs, remember six packs are made in the kitchen not in the gym.
7. You don’t do burpees – You can hate them all you want but that doesn’t mean they aren’t one of the best bodyweight exercises you could ever do. Improve your conditioning, burn more fat and get more out of your workouts with the dreaded “B” word.
8. You measure your fitness by how much you can bench – Don’t get me wrong, I love me some bench press but it’s hardly a measure of my overall fitness level. A little less bench and a little more #2 and #3 and you’ll be onto something.
9. You only do exercises you are good at – This compliments #8 as a lot of people will only do the exercises they enjoy or what they think matters. This is a surefire way to develop muscular imbalances, chronic injuries, and an undesirable physique. Try to train at least one weakness every time you’re in the gym. Something as simple as a 1 arm dumbell row to offset all that benching will go a long way.
10. You’ve been doing the same routine for ages – I mentioned that consistency is important to success but variety is equally important if you want to break through plateaus and continue to make gains. If you’ve been doing the same exercises in the same order with the same weight for the same reps since Maury Povich was a hit show then it’s time to switch it up. Without variety, your body has no reason to improve.
11. You think you can out-exercise a bad diet – Just because you workout 2 hours a day, 5 days a week doesn’t mean you can eat pizza and drink pop on a regular basis without any consequence. Consuming excess calories and empty calories will still cause you store fat no matter how much you exercise. Stop fooling yourself and clean up your diet if you really want that beach body.
12. You’re not getting stronger – One of the marks of a good training program is strength. If you are hitting the gym on a regular basis and seeing no improvement in your strength then something is missing in your program. I’m not saying you should be setting PRs every week but there should be a slow and steady increase in most of the exercises you are doing. If you’re not getting stronger, you’re getting weaker and that’s a low down dirty shame.
13. You’re not getting leaner – If you’re goal is weight loss or to reduce body fat then you better be watching your diet, interval training, and lifting heavy. 0 for 3? Time to go back to the drawing board.
14. You don’t work on mobility – If you’ve been training for any length of time then you’ve probably had your fair share of little tweaks along the way and if you haven’t consider yourself lucky. Taking the time to focus on mobility and soft tissue work (i.e foam rolling, lacrosse ball, massage, chiropractic, general stretching) can go a long way in the prevention of soft tissue injuries as well improve movement efficiency.
15. You train like a body builder but you look like a sumo wrestler – I still can’t believe how many people still train with body part splits even though they lack the genetics, discipline, and intensity to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Full body workouts mixed with high intensity conditioning will get you to where you want to go a lot faster.
16. You think more exercise is better – Some people just don’t know when enough is enough. Working out 3 hours a day isn’t necessarily better than 2 hours a day and 6 days a week isn’t necessarily better than 5. More exercise means a greater rise in cortisol (the muscle wasting and fat storing hormone) which will only make you feel like crap and make you weaker in the long run. The body needs time to recover and rebuild and it can only do so when rest is in proportion to training volume and intensity. Aim for more QUALITY workouts and less quantity.
17. You think you can’t build muscle AND burn fat at the same time – You don’t have to go through the long, drawn out process of “bulking” and then “shredding” to get the body you want. With an effective training program, you can increase strength, muscle mass, and reduce body fat simultaneously.
18. You follow too many fad diets – Building a lean, athletic physique takes discipline, sacrifice, and time – more time than most people want to put in. Looking for a quick fix by jumping on some celebrity diet may meet your short term needs but it won’t be the answer to long term, sustainable gains. Like Jason Ferruggia says “the secret to being an overnight success is 10 years of hard work.”
19. You are overly concerned about supplements – The highest quality protein powder isn’t going to do jack for you if your training is all over the map. Don’t worry about protein powder, BCAA’s, creatine, pre-workouts, or any other distractions on the market until you practice sound nutritional habits and consistent training.
20. You ALWAYS lift heavy – Now I know I’ve said that lifting heavy is vital to a good training program but if you’re always lifting at 90% or higher it’s gonna take a huge toll on your joints and nervous system. Not even world class powerlifters and olympic weightlifters train heavy all year round and they’re the strongest lifters in the world so why should you? Dial back your training loads and allow some time to recovery to make more long term gains.
21. You’re not using the Pure Payne Method – Yeah I said it. Now sign up for it, it’s FREE!
Take heed of these warning signs and adjust your training accordingly. Don’t be another statistic, instead be one of the few that ACTUALLY looks, feels, and performs better.
What can you do right away to improve your training routine? Drop a comment below!