In order to manifest continuous progress in muscle size and strength we must make sure to not only hit the gym consistently, but to also “kill it” at every workout! But for many of us, this does not always occur. Sure, it is fine to have an off day every once in a while, but if it begins to happen too often, then it is time to take a closer look at why. Lucky for you, I have been in this game for almost 30 years and have some experience with this pesky little problem.
So, without further ado, I present to my fellow gym rats -- six reasons you had a crappy workout.
Be honest with yourself. Were you focused on the task at hand while in the gym? Or, were you sending and answering texts, surfing the Internet or keeping a closer eye on your phone than your form!? Were you watching yourself in the mirror or the hot chick doing stiff leg deadlifts? If you don't “put you mind into your muscles,” and keep it there, then a maximum pump will be sure to evade you.
If your food intake is inadequate, either in terms of overall calories and/or macronutrient profile there is no way you will perform optimally in the gym. The diet must be properly balanced in terms of not only proteins, carbs and fats, but also in what ratios they are consumed leading up to the workout. Too little carbs or fats before training will most certainly lead to early exhaustion.
If you are not sleeping for a solid 6-8 hours each night, your workouts will definitely be negatively affected. Even one poor night of sleep can cause the following day’s training session to be sub par.
What I mean by this is that every time you go the gym, you use the same exercise, reps, and sets over and over. This can definitely cause your workout to suck because both your mind and muscles are literally bored. Stop being lazy and challenge yourself with some new and dynamic workouts every week, which will assure that every session is a new adventure. This will keep you on your game both mentally and physically so that going through the motions is a thing of the past!.
While 30 years ago most supplements were little more than snake oil, today we have so many effective compounds readily available to us via health food stores and the Internet. Creatine, beta-alanine, BCAA’s, advanced herbs, engineered carbohydrates, caffeine, etc, can all contribute to balls to the wall training sessions. Failing to take advantage of what science is now offering us is a vital mistake if you truly wish to push your performance (and muscle growth) to the next level. If your diet is on point, the next step is an intelligent approach to nutritional supplementation to maximize your time in the gym.
One thing I have learned as a coach/trainer in this industry is that my clients perform far better if I help them develop both short and long term goals. It is human nature to need something to strive for to become properly motivated day in and day out. Going to the gym with absolutely no concrete reason for being there can lead to a workout that absolutely sucks. Get a goal before you get in the game!