Are you trying to get fit but it seems you are not? Have you checked what you have been doing and could it be that you have been doing it all wrong? Well you will never know until you really know. If you find yourself restarting a fitness program or skipping workouts then you could be making even more errors.
Are fitness blunders disrupting your efforts? Do you find yourself “restarting” your fitness program once or twice a month, or skipping more workouts than you actually make? Or maybe you’re working out consistently but not getting results? You might unknowingly be committing one of these common fitness blunders that don’t feel like mistakes but may be subtly affecting your motivation and results:
1. REDUCING CALORIES BY SKIPPING BREAKFAST
Say it with me: “Skipping breakfast will not help me lose weight.” Here’s why: By eating smaller meals throughout the day, starting with breakfast, you will increase your body’s metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day. Breakfast should be full of protein and healthy fats (think scrambled eggs with avocado), which will fill you up with good nutrients so you don’t crave unhealthy snacks later! Still tempted to power through the day on coffee alone? Check out these pro-breakfast research results: People who eat breakfast consume more nutrients overall; have a lower risk of coronary heart disease; improved short-term memory and concentration; increased energy, and a more positive outlook throughout the day.
2. MAKING FITNESS FEEL LIKE A CHORE
If you’d rather eat paste than go jogging, then don’t make yourself go for a jog. Find another way to get your cardio in. Really, it’s ok. Exercise can be fun. It should be fun. If it isn’t, you’ll eventually fall off the fitness wagon. Take an exercise class with friends, join a walking group or hiking club, find machines you enjoy at the gym and grab a workout buddy, do a DVD at home… there are a lot of ways to effectively workout every day and actually enjoy it. Create a program you love, and you’ll be much more likely to stick to it!
Inconsistency can really damage your fitness regiment. Your body needs to get used to getting busy and breaking sweat or else it will just go back to its comfort zone. You should never skip warmup. You need warm ups to start up your body. Strength training is also necessary as well.
- You Skip the Warm-Up
Warming up helps prime your nervous system for exercise, helping you prevent skipped heartbeats and premature fatigue. This is especially important if you’ll be doing high-intensity exercises, which may lead to injury if you’re not properly warmed up.
To warm up properly, all you need to do is some light activity that causes you to break into a light sweat. Brisk walking, arm circles, marching in place, squats, shoulder shrugs… any (or all) of these can be used to get your body warmed up and ready to exercise.
As noted by John Paul Catanzaro, a Certified Kinesiologist and exercise physiologist, it takes 10-15 seconds of muscular contractions to raise your body temperature by 1°Celsius, and a proper warm-up should raise your body temperature by 1-2°C (1.4-2.8°Fahrenheit) – just enough to cause sweating.
2. You Avoid Strength Training
Less than 25 percent of Americans over the age of 45 engage in strength training,5 but middle-age and beyond is one of the most important times to work out your muscles.
Without strength training, by the time you’re in your 70s, your muscle strength and tone will have declined by roughly 25 percent from what you had in your mid-30s. You’ll lose up to 50 percent once you approach your 90s.
Not only does strength training increase your muscle strength and elasticity, but it also builds strong connective tissues, tendons, and ligaments. It helps improve muscle tone, which from a biomechanical perspective is the ability of your muscles and connective tissue to hold your body in position.
It also helps build your brain and prevent Alzheimer’s by promoting powerful hormones like BDNF, brain-derived neurotropic factor.
Strength training can even help you slow down the aging process. One study showed that strength training in the elderly reversed oxidative stress and returned 179 genes to their youthful level. In other words, it genetically turned back the clock about 10 years.
Just because you are doing a certain routine beyond what is required does not mean that you are going to achieve results. This is especially the case when it comes to crunches. And then there is the person who spends most of their time on one machine. They are referred to as gym queens.
Performing countless abdominal crunches thinking it will get rid of the ‘pooch’ area on the lower tummy/abdominal area.
The only answer is to reduce overall body fat through a slight caloric deficit, and add resistance exercise (weight training) to stimulate the metabolism and cardiovascular exercise to burn additional calories. That’s the way to lose fat. Performing crunches will never reduce the abdominal area because they only serve to strengthen muscle, not flatten a specific area.
The “gym queen” mentality.
When I first heard this expression, I knew exactly what it referred to. It’s someone who goes to the gym and spends endless amounts of time on the same machine there, in the hope of losing body fat. Some people go up to 90 minutes and longer on a cardio machine like a treadmill. The problem with this strategy is it’s completely ineffective. It’s a poor method to lose body fat and a real time waster.
You can workout for long sessions with moderate intensity or use shorter sessions with higher intensity (based on your fitness level). You can’t do both!
The shorter, more-intense session will burn more overall calories and preserve muscle, which will make you look tight and lean when you get to your scale weight goal. In addition, the shorter/intense sessions will have a more profound effect on the calories you continue to burn 24 hours after completing the session. This is referred to as the 24-hour afterburn.