Top 5 Ways to Undermine your Workout

Have you ever felt like you are killing it in the gym but you don’t have much to show for it?  As an experienced personal trainer, I’d love to tell you it’s because your workout isn’t good enough and you should only do my perfect amazing workouts.  While all exercise programs are not created equal, the more likely answer is that it is something outside the gym that is lacking.

With that, I give you my Top 5 most common ways people undermine their workouts:

5. Poor morning/evening routines.  Most people spend most days struggling to keep their head above water.  More often than not, we get stuck in a routine where our days do not feel like our own.  Do you ever feel like you spend every day doing everything for everyone else and nothing for yourself?  We’re putting out fires all day, scrambling hither and yon, sacrificing our own priorities, and left at the end of the day too exhausted to do anything besides mindlessly scroll, stream, and have an adult beverage to unwind.

What needs to be done so that more of your day works for you?  Everyone is different and every household is different.  If you don’t live alone, whoever you live with needs to be kept in the loop about what you need.  Stage your protein shake and workout clothes the night before.  Stage your water bottle so you can start your day hydrating.  Set yourself up to thrive tomorrow, not survive.  Instead of burning precious time going zombie mode in front of the TV, listen to a podcast or audiobook while you knock out the dishes.  Unwind with a paper book instead of scrolling.  Eliminate or at least reduce the activities that simply are not serving you and you will have all the time you need to do what you need to do.  You’ll eat better, sleep better, be less stressed, and get much better results from your workouts.

4. Grabbing the same easy weights over and over again.  Something is always better than nothing but if the workout you are doing involves grabbing the same weights over and over again, you aren’t going to get results.  Maybe you workout at home and only have a couple pieces of equipment to use.  Maybe you show up to the same large group class that says they do strength training, but in reality you’re doing the same sorts of exercises with the same light/medium weights.  Maybe you have custom written strength and conditioning program like my personal training clients but you aren’t pushing yourself to progress.

To get the best results, you have to challenge yourself, at your level.  This is where personal training really shines.  It is a lot harder to push yourself if you don’t feel confident in your form.  At On Target Fitness, we keep a close eye on you and guide you every step of the way through each workout.  We ensure that you are moving well and that you are progressing.

3. Not enough protein.  This is especially important if you have a weight loss goal.  You show me someone who has sugar/junk food cravings and I will show you someone who probably isn’t getting enough protein.  We need protein to feel full all day and to recover properly from challenging workouts.  Once you have established a good baseline of getting lean protein from food, I do recommend also supplementing your protein with a high quality powder like we have at

2. Working out, but changing nothing else.  If you want to get in shape, you can’t keep doing the things that made you get out of shape.  This is something simple that folks sometimes have a hard time with.  I recommend to see most of my personal training clients 3 sessions per week.  That is 1.7% of your time in a week.  Your workouts can only do so much.  If you change nothing about the 98.3% of your time that you aren’t with me, then you’ll still see some progress, but it will be slow.


1. Drinking more than one night per week.  If you are happy with where you are and you’re just in maintenance mode, you can drink more than one night a week.  If you’re trying to change your body, booze is the enemy.  I understand that a glass or two of wine at the end of the day hits the spot and helps you unwind.  But I am telling you it totally undermines your health. It isn’t worth it.  Empty calories, sleep disruption, and even after only one or two, your mood is crummier the next day.  All this and you PAID for the privilege!  This is why I recommend taking at least 4 weeks completely off of alcohol per year.  It enables you to make some fast progress, and then you can establish healthy rules for when you enjoy alcohol.

BONUS: Not addressing a food sensitivity.  Sensitivities to gluten, wheat, and dairy are becoming more and more common.  If you feel like you are firing on all cylinders with your fitness and nutrition, but you don’t feel like you’re making progress, it might be time to explore if you have a food sensitivity.  The inflammation caused by the problem food could be preventing you from fully benefiting from the other things you are doing.


When you are ready to talk with a personal trainer about your goals, fill out the form at the top or bottom of this page and I will take care of the rest : )


Serving Portsmouth, Kittery, and the broader Seacoast community, we help people finally get in shape, feel confident, and have all day energy, even if getting everything done is a constant struggle.


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