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10 Fitness Mistakes You Need to Avoid

10 Fitness Mistakes You Need to Avoid

For you to be successful on your fitness journey there are a few common mistakes you need to avoid. These are the ten most common mistakes I see people make over and over again.

Too Keen

“I will exercise for two hours per day, seven days a week!”. “I will never eat fast food again”. This is usually on January 1st and lasts about a week. This thinking is all wrong. Goals are driven by the willpower you have at that moment. It is important to be realistic about what you want to achieve. Most people are just not physically or mentally prepared for drastic lifestyle changes. Willpower is over-rated. Habits on the other hand are what allow people to successfully implement lifestyle changes.

How to fix: Building any habit is difficult so it is important to make it easy at the beginning. The habit should make it easier to succeed. An example for somebody who wants to get stronger would be to do one push up a day.

For someone who wants to lose weight start by adding a cup of greens to one meal each day. Look at your goals in the long term. Get away from the idea of losing 14 pounds in a week and so on. Think about losing 14-28 pounds in a year and keeping it off. So many people yo yo diet for years without ever making any improvements. Having someone like a personal trainer to help you goal set is a great start.

Vague goal setting

“I want to get fit.” “I want to get strong.” “I want to lose weight”. These are all common goals people have but what do they all mean? How do you know you are stronger? How do you know when you have done well or when to tighten up on your nutrition?

How to fix: Get specific. “I want to lose weight” changes to “I want to lose 12 lbs before Christmas.” And “I want to get in shape.” changes to “I will do 20 minutes of exercise five days a week.”

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Not knowing why

There will always be days that you are feeling down, tired, lazy and the last thing you want to do is to workout. You want to just stay under the covers when the alarm goes off and hope the day passes. On these days you need to know the “why” behind your goals. Why are you going to the gym? Why are you eating healthily? Understanding your why will help you during them tough times when the last thing you want to do is make a salad or go to the gym.

How to fix: Now that you know your goal, ask yourself why you want to achieve this goal. Keep asking yourself this until you find the real reason behind improving yourself. Is it so you can actually play in the park with your kid without getting out of breath or look in the mirror and be proud of what you see? These deep reasons behind why you are training will help keep you going on the tough days.

Lack of accountability

If you miss a workout or eat a meal that you know is not good for your goal, it won’t matter because nobody will know any different. Not having someone to be accountable for you lets you roam free with no consequences.

“I’ll skip tonights session but I’ll make up for it later in the week.”

“I’ll just a a little slice of cake and get back on track tomorrow”

This little things add up and will destroy your chance of success unless you have someone to keep you accountable.

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How to fix: Get a workout buddy or a personal trainer for the first few weeks. Knowing that you have an appointment will make you much less likely to skip. If it is a paid session with a trainer the chance of skipping is even less. Let people close to you know what you are trying to achieve and allow them to help you.

Believing everything you hear

These people take pride in trying to stay up to date with new trends in fitness and exercise. They like to list the benefits or drawbacks of certain diets and exercise routines yet they aren’t in shape themselves. They believe the mainstream fitness information – fat is bad, whole grains are good, cardio is best for fat loss and girls shouldn’t lift weight.

How to fix – Find a friend or a professional who has got proven results. Follow their advice and stick to it.

Neglects nutrition

They believe that as long as they exercise it doesn’t matter what they eat. All they need to do is exercise more, right? Food is food. This type are usually super fit, like the triathlon crowd yet always have excess bodyfat. I cannot stress enough the importance of nutrition. You are what you eat. Food is not just important from a weight loss point of view it also plays an important role in the day to day functioning of your body and long term health.

How to fix: Start taking your food seriously. Invest your money in good quality unprocessed food. If you are worried about cost, buy your food in bulk. There are lots of resources online for eating well on a tight budget.

The program hopper

This is very common. When I first started training I wanted to try everything. Every month it seemed there was another program that would get me better results. When you jump from program to program you never give yourself enough time to master any movement properly. Spend time learning the basic movements like the squat, the deadlift, the push up and a row variation. These are all fundamental human movements that have a positive cross over to your daily life.

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How to fix: Pick a program and stick with it. If you are weight training your program should include squats, deadlifts, push ups a rowing exercise and a core exercise.

Isolating muscles

Those who believe in spot reduction spend half their time in the gym doing crunches believing it’s the best way to get a six pack. They also spend a lot of time doing bicep curls to build up their arms.
They do specific exercises to grow muscle or lose fat. After each session they do 30 minutes of abs yet still don’t have any definition down there and grow frustrated.
The problem is that, unless they lose their belly fat, they will never see their abs. There are much better exercises than curls to build up your arms.

How to fix: Do compound exercises (squats, deadlift, pushups, pullups). These exercises work the body as a unit and burn more calories in the process. If you want abs, the most important exercise you should be focusing on is what you put in your mouth. Diet will have the biggest impact on how your abs will look.

Lack of time

Unfortunately this excuse just isn’t enough to justify your lack of success with exercise and nutrition. It comes down to prioritizing the important things in your life.
There are 1,000s of people out there with kids, jobs and a social life who still have time to stay in shape and eat good food.

How to fix: You need to change your mindset.
Instead of saying “I don’t have time”, why not “where am I spending my free time?” Okay so maybe the one hour on social media or T.V. a day could be spent sorting out my exercise and nutrition.
Your health is your wealth and it should be a major priority each day.

Too much research

These people spend hours each week reading fitness articles and different nutrition resources. They don’t feel they are ready to begin until they know the most efficient way to exercise and eat. So instead of starting they keep putting off the lifestyle change until they are “ready”.

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How to fix: You will never be truly ready to change the way you eat and exercise. Starting is the key and once you start and make mistakes you learn what is the best path for you to follow. Not just with fitness and nutrition but in every aspect of your life.

The key to success is action.

If you have the best program and nutrition plan in the world but don’t do it how useful is it to you?

Stop waiting for the perfect time and start today, not tomorrow, not next Monday, right now!

What mistake is number 11? Let me know below!

Featured photo credit: Lazare / Messan Edoh via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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