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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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