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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 August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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