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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 September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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