In order to manifest continuous progress in muscle size and strength we must make sure to not only hit the gym consistently, but to also kill it at every workout. But for many of us, this doesn’t always happen. Sure, it’s fine to have an off day every once in a while, but if it begins to happen too often, then it’s time to take a closer look at why. Lucky for you, I have been in this game for nearly 30 years and have some experience with this pesky little problem. To all my fellow gym rats, here are six reasons you had a crappy workout.

Lack of Concentration

Be honest with yourself. Were you focused on the task at hand while at the gym? Or, were you sending and answering texts, surfing the internet, or keeping a closer eye on your phone than your form? If you don’t “put your mind into your muscles,” and keep it there, then a maximum pump will be sure to evade you.

Poor Nutrition

If your food intake is inadequate, either in terms of overall calories and/or macronutrient profile, there is no way you will perform optimally in the gym.

Not Enough Sleep

If you are not sleeping for a solid six to eight hours nightly, your workouts will be negatively affected. Even one poor night of sleep can cause the following day’s training session to be subpar.

Your Muscles are Bored

What I mean by this is that every time you go the gym, you use the same exercise, reps, and sets over and over. This can definitely cause your workout to suck, because your mind and muscles are literally bored. Stop being lazy and challenge yourself with some new and dynamic workouts every week, which will assure that every session is a new adventure. This will keep you on your game both mentally and physically so that going through the motions is a thing of the past.

Poor Supp Choices

Most supplements were little more than snake oil 30 years ago. Today, we have so many effective compounds readily available to us. Creatine, beta-alanine, BCAA’s, advanced herbs, engineered carbohydrates, caffeine, and other supplements can all contribute to some hardcore training sessions. If you truly wish to push your performance (and muscle growth) to the next level figure out what supps are right for you. If your diet is on point, the next step is an intelligent approach to nutritional supplementation to maximize your time in the gym.

Lack of Goals

One thing I’ve learned as a trainer is that my clients perform far better if I help them develop short- and long-term goals. It’s human nature to need something to strive for to become properly motivated day in and day out. Going to the gym with absolutely no concrete reason for being there can lead to a workout that absolutely sucks. Have a goal before you get in the game!