Are You Ruining Your Fitness Progress?: 7 Self-Sabotaging Actions Affecting Your Workouts

by Vikki Schembri
Are You Ruining Your Fitness Progress?: 7 Self-Sabotaging Actions Affecting Your Workouts

It’s second nature to imagine how awesome your life would be – and how great your arms will look – if you could finally get those muscle ups or add that 20 lbs to your bench press.

Or, how wonderful it would be if you could stick to your workout plan for 2 weeks, so walking up the stairs with your kid over your shoulder, carrying them to bed, didn’t leave you gasping for breath every time!

But connecting the two – wanting to achieve your goals, and actually doing the work – is hard!

As you strive to work towards your goals, there will be obstacles: distractions, busy schedules, not enough equipment or no gym access, your social or professional life interrupting your gym schedule…

With all of these in mind, there are also 7 self-imposed obstacles that you might be holding you back!

Today, we’ll discuss these 7 self-sabotaging actions that can be hampering your fitness journey. They may keeping you from achieving the growth and gains you truly want; so let's identify them and then get rid of them!

A Note about Barriers

First I want to acknowledge that there are many things that can be affecting your fitness progress that are within our power to change; but there are some that are not.

There are true barriers – like injury, illness, or other life obstacles - that can stand in our way. The best thing you can do in these situations is to give yourself time; be patient with yourself.

You can try doing what you can with what you have; any movement is better than no movement. But in some cases, rest will be the best option.

Listen to your body and respond to it kindly, patiently, and with compassion.

The 7 Self-Sabotaging Actions

If you aren’t injured, sick or facing a debilitating life event - and neither are your dependents - then taking some time to assess how these 8 self-sabotaging actions might be keeping you from reaching your full potential is worth it.

1.  You do the exact same exercise routine every time you workout

Variety is the spice of life – and the spice of workouts! Our bodies acclimatize to the workouts we do, so if you do the same thing, day after day, week after week; you gotta switch it up! The best results happen outside of your comfort zone.

2.  You set unrealistic goals

Dreaming big is awesome: aim for the moon and you’ll land among the stars!

BUT… expecting to add 50 lbs to your deadlift in 1 month is quite a feat. Or wanting to run a marathon by the end of the season. A lot of things are possible with the right training program, nutrition, sleep, etc.

But setting your sights on a reasonable goal can help you avoid frustration and feelings of failure, which can derail your motivation and drive.

If you’re new to working out, set a goal to go to the gym 3 times a week. If you’re seasoned, set smaller goals (i.e. run 5k; run 10k; run 15 k; etc. rather than biting off the whole marathon from day one).

3.  You aren’t getting uncomfortable

If you can keep a smile on your face and/or chat with your workout buddy through every sweat session… you probably aren’t working hard enough. Sorry not sorry.

Finishing your workout and being a sweaty, heavily-breathing mess is uncomfortable – but that’s where the magic happens! Get comfortable getting uncomfortable.

4.  You’re not lifting heavy

If you’re afraid of bulking, lemme tell you; you have nothing to fear. Adding on mass and bulk takes very precise training.

Moving up to a 25 lb dumbbell when the 20 lb one is feeling too light is not going to result in you bursting through your favorite dress shirt. Build up your lean muscle and try a heavier weight next time you’re at the gym!

5.  You aren’t prioritizing rest or recovery

Working hard is important; but so is resting, warm ups, cool downs, and recovery. Make sure you are sleeping enough and giving your body and muscle groups enough time to rest between workouts. Incorporating recovery workouts/days/weeks into your exercise program is important too!

Whether that’s doing more mobility (our Yoga Rings, , having a deload week, or an active rest workout: they’re all great options to help you stay flexible, injury-free, and mentally ready to sweat!

6.  You’re not wearing the right clothing/shoes

When I first started working out, I showed up to a powerlifting-heavy class in the 5 year-old Asics I used to run a half marathon. They were worn down, angled for running – not squatting – and were not the right shoes for the job!

In general, the clothing, make up, hairstyle, etc. you wear to your workouts should make you feel good and comfortable. If you avoid burpees or skipping because your pants slide down… get better fitting pants!

If your hair gets caught under the bar when you squat and that hurts… tie that mane up in a high bun and let’s go! You don’t need to invest tons of money in the latest workout wear tech; but your body is unique and finding the right clothes from your shoes to your headband can encourage you stay for an extra set instead of rushing home to get out of some horribly-fitting spandex!

7.  You don’t have a support system

This can be a difficult barrier – and not necessarily self-caused.

Finding people who support your fitness journey is a huge part of succeeding. That can come in the form of finding a workout buddy who pumps out reps beside you, or makes you feel a little guilty when you don’t show up to a class.

Or, it can come from already-existing friends who are okay with moving dinner plans back an hour because you’d like to hit the gym before.

Changing your lifestyle to make time for fitness will undoubtedly change your social life; and finding a good support system can help that change be easier, encouraging, and positive!