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Challenge Yourself to Overcome 4 Common Mistakes Preventing You From Reaching Your Fitness Goals

For most people there has been a time when you decided you were all in.  You started on a strict diet and exercise regiment and everything was going so well until….  it all fell apart.  Well, it turns out that many of us are guilty of committing five major mistakes both in and out of the gym.

1. You Trying To Accomplish Everything At Once

A major roadblock for most people is setting out to do everything at once.  You are tracking your macros, going to the gym 5 days a week, and you're back to sleeping 8 hours everyday.  You were be able to keep this up for a couple weeks but all of a sudden your diet starts to slip, you miss a couple workouts and Netflix releases a new season of Orange is the New Black. You need a different approach.

Start with defining 2 non-negotiable goals that you will adhere to every week.  It is important that these goals are small and attainable.  Once your goals have been established create a challenge for yourself lasting 3-4 weeks.  The goal is to adhere to your goals for the entirety of the challenge, no excuses.  This allows you to make these goals part of daily routine so they are no longer hard for you to accomplish.  We can then slowly add more goals over time making it an easier transition.


2. Your Goals Are Conflicting

Everyone has heard at one point or another that it is impossible to build muscle and burn fat at the same time.  Outside of taking some Russian sports supplements it is a very hard feat to accomplish.  Putting on muscle mass vs. losing body fat require a caloric surplus vs. a caloric deficit, respectively. You can see where the problem lies. So in order to do both at the same time would require meticulous tracking that the average person does not have the resources or time to do.

The best way to approach conflicting goals is to prioritize goals in blocks of time.  You can even use the strategy of challenges to accomplish this.  Plan 3-4 weeks of time dedicated to 1 overarching goal. Within that timeframe set out 2 non-negotiable goals that you will adhere to week in – week out.  Once the challenge has been completed you can then switch to the competing goal. But hold on! Don't throw away all the progress you just made. This is not an invitation to do a complete 360 and start stuffing your face with burgers and pizza in the name of muscle gains. Always keep your competing goals in mind,  make decisions that will benefit both goals in the future.


3. You’re Doing Too Much Variation

I think a big reason people tend to make mistakes is they try and exercise like the people they admire. I hate to break it to you but you are probably never going to reach the status of Rich Froning, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Ray Williams. The elite athletes that we follow are that – elite.   They are so well trained to the point where they need to use loads of variation to stimulate their nervous system to obtain the last 5% of their genetic potential.  The rest of us need to simplify our workouts and focus on getting better at the basics.

So what method do you think I would recommend to solve this problem? Why a challenge would work just fine. Pick 4-6 exercises and follow the recommendations given in the table below.


Pick 4-6 Exercises

Exercise # Of Exercises Reps Sets
Compound Exercise 1 6-8 4-6
Accessory Exercise 1-2 8-12 3-4
Isolation Exercise 2-3 12-20 3-4


Carry out a challenge-training program for 3-4 weeks only applying 1 of the following techniques to an individual exercise each week.

  • Increase Weight
  • Increase Repetitions
  • Increasing Sets


Make sure to track your weights, reps and sets and you will see the growth each week.


4. You Just Started And You’re Not Having Fun

Now I am fully aware that not everyone enjoys exercise, this especially holds true if you’re just getting into it. There is definitely an acclimation period when beginning an exercise routine.  So the first few sessions pass, you are sore but you handle it like a champ.  A week passes and your entire body aches and your motivation drops to zero.  Uh oh, you’re not having fun and you want to quit. This can be your TSN turning point, for the best or for the worse.  You can either:

  1. Quit training all together
  2. Grit through and continue to be miserable or,
  3. Find Support

These are by no means all the options but probably the most common ones. I would argue that options A & B would be the least beneficial for your mental and physical health. So lets focus on option C. What are some options that can help us through the toughest stage in developing an exercise routine?

  • Start a challenge with a friend
  • Join a club
  • Join group exercise classes
  • Find an online support group
  • Hire a coach

The act of exercise does not have to be what you are getting enjoyment out of, especially in the beginning. Competition, friendship and a sense of community can be the source of motivation in the early stages. Keep it simple, have a plan and find people that will support you along the way.


By Anthony Harder
L2 Fitness

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