While walking to your indoor bootcamp class at the gym, you spot the solo exercisers looking bored in-between sets and think to yourself: “I’m so glad I don’t have to go through that again.”
After all, you’ve got your favorite fitness instructor pushing you through an incredible hour of intense moves that has helped you drop 2 dress sizes in the last 2 months.
But…making constant progress is becoming more and more challenging, and as a result, you’re finding it more difficult to stay motivated as the months go by.
Here, I take you through the top 3 mistakes that could be holding you back from making progress in your group exercise workouts and how to them:
1. You jump ahead when you’re not ready
The circuit ahead is um, challenging to say the least: As many rounds as possible of 10 push-ups, 10 burpees and 10 jump squats for 15 minutes. You haven’t mastered your push-ups just yet, five burpees is a stretch for you, and your legs feel like they’re going to give way after three squat jumps.
But you’ve got a plan, and that plan is to do what the advanced exercisers in your class are doing anyway: push-ups on their toes, high-speed burpees and explosive squat jumps even though your hips are sagging and elbows won’t bend past 20 degrees, and you keep landing on your forefoot because your ankles are tight.
Doing what the super-fit people are doing will get you fitter, right?
Listen to your body. If it’s not ready for advanced exercises, scale back and start where your mind and body is—there’s no shame in doing push-ups on your knees, five burpees intead of 10, or regular squats instead of jump squats.
In fact, not listening to your body will leave you vulnerable to injury, which can stall your progress even further.
2. You believe in the “No pain, no gain” mantra
If giving 150% every single day is how you’re going about your workouts because someone told you ‘no pain, no gain’, you’re setting yourself up to hit a wall.
Here’s the truth: It’s while you rest that your body gets stronger and fitter, not during your workouts.
And, going hard and fast every day means you’re stressing your body out and not giving your body a chance to recover. Keep this going, and you’ll be heading down the path to over-training, which can stop your body from performing at its best, put your weight-loss on hold, leave you irritable, unable to sleep, losing your appetite and just feeling off in all kinds od horrible ways (been there, done that).
The best way to approach your fitness: vary your intensity and type of activities.
If you like to get your high-intensity workouts 4 times a week, great! Give your muscles, joints and heart a rest in-between those with gentler activities like yoga, brisk walking, stretching or swimming.
The bottom line: Constantly challenge your body, give it the rest it needs and if something hurts, stop. Longer, faster, harder isn’t always better when it comes to exercise.
3. You’re not fully present during your workouts
Ever had a bad day and then turned up at your workouts feeling like your body was there but brain was somewhere else?
I have, and you know what? Those were the times when I ended up just going through the motions, not reaping the benefits that I should have been getting.
The result: zero progress.
The next time you have a bad day and plan to turn up for your class, spend 5 minutes before your class being still, acknowledging your emotions and setting an intention that you want to achieve during your workout.