The 3 actual reasons you don’t make any progress at the gym – and how to conquer them

You ask: I don't know why, but I'm not making progress in the gym!

Here is 0

Reasons you aren't making any progress at the gym


  • You lift with your smartphone
  • You are only physically at the gym
  • You look for progress day after day
  • Random mistakes you make

There are 3 reasons you don’t make any progress in the gym, and I’m going to debunk them right now. So you’ll start making progress the next time you hit the gym.

I made these mistakes for several months. Hopefully that was my firsts months at the gym so I still progressed, even if that wasn’t optimal.

I don’t want you to stunt your progress because you are doing these mistakes. Be smart, read this article and avoid them like the plague – Actually it’s super easy to conquer them!

#1 You lift with your smartphone

There’s a reason why this is the #1 reason – pun intended. I really see 1/2 of all the lifters with a smartphone in their hands.

Sometimes it’s just to listen to music with a bluetooth headset. And that’s completely fine because the person doesn’t use his smartphone at all.

But. Sometimes it’s for more than this. I can see people bringing their sword – huh, smartphone – out of their pocket every 2 seconds.

They drink? Time to get on their phone! They just ended a rep? Time to get on their phone. They are even choosing exercises that can be done WHILE looking at their smartphone – most leg machine-exercises can be done this way.

If that’s you. Hear me here. Hear me now. Hear me forever yelling at you in hate. Why the hell are you going to the gym if all you are doing is looking at your dumb smartphone.

Seriously. What’s the point to move to the gym just to unsheathe your smartphone and do the exact same shit you could be doing at home?

There’s no point in doing this.

Now, let me clearly explain you why doing this…

Photo by Le Buzz on Unsplash

Will lead you to looking like this…

That’s a soccer ball. What’s the shape… You got it.

First reason first… Here’s why it impairs your progress.

If you are bringing your smartphone WHILE lifting, I don’t respect you. It’s as simple as it is.

Second reasons: You aren’t 100% on the task of lifting weight. You are 50/50. I’ll go further. You are 80% smartphone and 20% gym. Does it sound fair? It doesn’t. Why would you go to the gym if that’s to watch your stupid smartphone? If you aren’t 100% in the action… There’s no point to do it!

Third reason: You can’t lift properly. You can’t lift your maximum. You get distracted by the “bzzt” every two seconds and that sucks. Do you know how much time it takes you – and every human living – to get back to a focus state? 23 minutes. Every time you get out of the focus state, the timer starts again…

Fourth reason: All the people at the gym hate you – by the way, the whole world wants you to fail. You take a machine/dumbbell for you while doing nothing. Someone else could actually train with the tools you are “””using””” – If you wondered, that’s a triple quote

Fifth reason: When texting, you aren’t lifting. When texting, you aren’t resting. You are just… Away. Not there. You disappear each time you take a look at your smartphone. That’s to say how I much it breaks you to take a look at your handy-screen.

P.S. Here’s the quick fix: Your phone stay at home/in the locker room. This way it doesn’t interfere with you when you lift.

Which brings us to the #2 reason you don’t make any progress…

#2 You are only physically at the gym

Sure, you are at the gym, you are lifting your weights but you aren’t present.

Maybe you are on your smartphone – see #1 -, maybe you aren’t in the mood, maybe you are speaking TOO much to a friend there or…. there could be hundreds of reasons why you aren’t at 100% present at the gym.

The problem with all these reasons is that you aren’t lifting consistently.

The consequence? Sometimes you take 30 seconds to rest, sometimes it’s more than 10 minutes. You spend roughly 1 hour at the gym. Spending 1/6 of an hour resting after just one set, that’s not worth it.

You’ll need to warm up – once again. And get into the zone as soon as possible – once again!

So, let me be clear with you. When you are the gym, you lift. You don’t talk to Joe for 15 minutes, you don’t look at some girls, you don’t have fun ridiculing the fatty lifters, you don’t check your smartphone every 2 minutes… and every obvious stuff that distract you is prohibited – like alcohol in the past.

That’s called focus my friend!

Don’t search for a quick fix, there aren’t any.

Get rid of these bad habits and that will do it.

The next time you go to the gym, you don’t take your smartphone with you. You take a watch with you. Look at which hour you started, define an hour at which you’ll leave – or speak with friends. You haven’t the right to do anything else than lifting and resting while in this timer. You may call this insanity. I call it self-respect.

How can you progress if you are busy doing something else? I have the answer… You can’t.

Imagine that you have a homework to do for tomorrow – hopefully it’s not true, today. Right now it’s late at night and you don’t want to do it. You prefer playing video games, watching videos or whatever. Do you think that it will help you get that homework done for tomorrow?

Same goes on at the gym. The distractions aren’t the same – Or maybe they are ? “smartphone” – but they bring the same result: No result at all.

Sure, as a beginner you could make gains even if you are doing 3 push-ups a day – true story – but that’s light year away from the result you would get by going serious. Worse. Going this way will only work up to a point. After this? You won’t progress anymore if you aren’t all in.

There’s no point in going to the gym to make pictures of you tagged with a location: at the gym. As there’s no reason for you to go to the gym if you aren’t serious about it.

P.S. Believe or don’t, but I made this mistake for several months – the 3 firsts months! – hopefully that didn’t impact too much my growth.

#3 You look for progress day after day - and don't see anything changing at all

If you want to check your progress, you take a picture of you shirtless in the mirror right now. You save it somewhere in your smartphone with the date in memory. Come back one month later, take another picture. Compare. Did you change? Of course you did. Now look at the difference and see what improved/regressed.

Based on this data/analysis, you’ll be able to know what you need to do more/less and how to find the right equilibrium between your sessions.

Looking for progress daily is a waste of time.

Personal note: Unless you are eating way too much or going down the extremely low calorie intake road, you won’t see a daily difference in your physique. Looking at yourself in the mirror can be a great boost – only if you find yourself good looking.

So… when you are looking for progress, look for monthly progress, or at the very least weekly progress. Your progress shouldn’t be based on “the way you look”. It should be data driven.

  • Weight
  • Size of the muscles
  • Weight you can lift
  • Heart bpm

Personal note: Weight isn’t accurate. Even taking it always as the same time of the day is “wrong”. Here are some factors that impact your real time weight:

  • Water retention
  • Did you eat?
  • Did you drink?
  • Did you pee?
  • Did you shit?

I’m not joking, all these factors and more influence your weight on an hourly basis.

Basically, what you want to do to get an as accurate as possible weight is to:

Measure your weight on 7 days. Divide the sum by 7. It’s your average weight during a week. Compare it with your average weight of another week and this how you perform. It’s data driven, strong and powerful. Do not thank me!

Back to our subject: Why you don’t make any progress at the gym, reason #3 – you look for progress every day and that’s… sad.

Because you don’t see any progress and may get “disgusted” that all your efforts are useless – which is 100% false.

Now, you shouldn’t assume that because you aren’t changing from the exterior, or that you don’t notice changes, you actually don’t change.

You see yourself in the mirror everyday, sometimes every hour. Changes are minimal, so minimal in these laps of time that you don’t notice them.

If you want to see if you changed, say hi to an old friend you didn’t see in a while and ask him if you changed.

Note: This isn’t data driven!

#4 A lot of mistakes you may be doing that stunts your growth

As always, in no particular order.

  • You don’t lift 5+ days a week
  • You don’t eat enough/you eat too much
  • You take breaks too often – I.E. you don’t lift for a week every month
  • You go all random and don’t stick to a planning. You lift what you feel like lifting
  • You are lifting all alone and that depresses you
  • You aren’t eating enough proteins
  • You don’t do it to impress someone/yourself
  • You aren’t motivated enough – most frequent reason
  • You consume too much shitty products -alcohol, “bodybuilding” powder, sugar coated sugar… you get the idea
  • You don’t like your gym
  • You have no idea where to start
  • You do #1, #2 or #3 and some #4 – this one was easy!
  • You hit the gym too late/too early in your days
  • You already work at high-energy-demanding job
  • You are afraid that others mock you while you lift
  • You lift too heavy/light
  • You make too much reps – 20+!
  • You practice too much cardio – I had to remove most of my cycling sessions because it stopped me from bulking up
  • You don’t sleep enough – aim for 8+ hours per night
  • You have zero self-confidence
  • You have low testosterone – that’s a real one!
  • You get bored easily – too easily
  • You are busy watching “how to videos” instead of asking someone to show you
  • You are looking at hot girls who lift and they disturb you – good mistake!
  • You have no goal. You lift without anything in mind.