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4 Reasons Why Your Workouts Don’t Make You Super Fit

A lot of people start new workout regimes with big dreams. They see themselves as being super fit by the end of their new plan but are often left disappointed. It happens a lot – but why?

You're Forgetting To Actually Train

A timer goes off the moment you enter the gym. Think of it as one of those countdown clocks on an explosive device in an action movie. Each of us has a different total amount of time programmed in, but regardless it starts when you walk in.

What you do in the first ten minutes of training will tell me just about everything I need to know about what you do right and what you do wrong. I used to tell people to front squat first. This is still good advice, but I was hoping that a hint of urgency would ignite some people to think about the importance of getting into the gym and going to work.

With this new era of corrective work, I see people writhing on the walls with lacrosse balls against their spine, flailing on the floor with foam rollers, and following a packaged program guaranteed to realign their Virgo across Scorpio. Then, twenty minutes of easy treadmilling, some dynamic mobility, and let's finish with some stable stability or whatever.

One hour after entering the gym you can proudly acknowledge that you did practically nothing. And then it's time to go.

In addition to the countdown clock, think of your gym time as a sandbag. As we enter, we cut a small hole in our ability to train and the sand starts pouring out. When empty, we have nothing left. In other words, if we waste all that "sand" doing silly stuff, there's no sand left over for the stuff that actually makes you stronger, fitter, or a better athlete. This isn't saying some of those tools aren't useful, but do you need all of them, at once, before every workout?

Many of us are tricking ourselves into thinking that we're training when really we're just wandering in off the street and wasting time. Stop it.

Too Much Specialized Training

If your current lifting program isn’t producing the ripped results you’re after, take a close look at the exercises you’re doing. If you’re doing set after set of single-joint exercises, this could very well be your problem – specifically, chest routines that are heavy on flyes and cable crossovers instead of presses and leg workouts where leg extensions take precedent over squats and lunges.

But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do isolation exercises. Calf raises, concentration curls and dumbbell kickbacks will always have their place in bringing out the finer points of a physique, but they’re not what’s going to make you shredded. Compound (multi-joint) movements need to be the foundation of your program, since they’re the exercises that will build the most muscle, and hence keep your metabolism revving.

“There's a reason why you don't see a lot of guys doing deadlifts and step-ups at your gym,” says Staley. “It’s the same reason you don’t see a lot of guys with significant leg development. The most results-producing exercises are also the hardest ones. Generally speaking, the more weight you can use on an exercise, the more muscle that will be stimulated, resulting in a faster metabolic burn. This means more muscle and less body fat.”

Specialized training also includes the recent trend of “functional” training – doing dumbbells presses while lying back on an exercise ball, squatting on a BOSU, repping on curls while standing on one leg. And just like with isolation training, we’re not deeming functional training ineffective; improving core stability and stressing smaller, assisting muscles serves a great purpose.

You Forget About Nutrition

Healthy and nutritious eating is going to have a much bigger impact on your chances of getting fit than your workouts. Too many people focus on their exercise, rather than the food they are consuming.

If you want to be super fit, you have to embrace both challenges, together. They both work in harmony to give you the results you are looking for, and a vigorous workout can be spoiled entirely by a bad meal afterward.

 You're Not Mastering the Basic Lifts

 Strive for mastery while you train. I know you think you're impressing the girls by loading up the leg press and slamming the weights up and down over and over. Want to know what they really think of this? I asked them. They think you're an asshole.

Learn to lift correctly. Master squatting deeply and appropriately. Today, it's easy to find clinics and workshops from the best and brightest on how to live and move better. In a typical city, there are often several competing workshops on any given weekend.

Your job is to squat deep, bench without the butt leaving the bench, and deadlift double bodyweight (at least). The basics are going to get you there the fastest. And, as a reward, you will be bigger, leaner, and stronger.