What’s Keeping Me From My Dream Body? 8 Common Fitness Mistakes You Might Be Guilty Of
We all want it- that flawless picturesque body you see on billboards. Yet no one wants to spend more time working out only to feel disappointed when you step on the scale – or even worse-you may end up spraining a muscle. Rather than overexerting yourself at the gym, try to find out what you’ve been doing wrong that might be keeping you from achieving that perfect body.
Below is a list of 8 common fitness mistakes that most of us are guilty of. I am here to teach you how to avoid them:
Skipping Meals Before Hitting the Gym
One of the biggest debates in the fitness world today is whether you should work out on an empty stomach or not. Here is expert advice to dispel all the myths you may have come across.
You have probably heard that working out on an empty stomach can help you to lose weight but this is not necessarily true. For example, when you skip breakfast to go jogging early in the morning, your insulin levels are at their lowest.
Glucagon, the hormone responsible for breaking down glycogen into glucose will be at its peak and during this period, your body will use reserve fat to fuel energy.
Since fat metabolism is dependent on carbohydrate levels within the body, when there is a low supply of carbohydrates, fat metabolism is affected. When this occurs, your body will tire faster as exercising becomes more strenuous thus, it is likely that you will want to end your workout session earlier; this ultimately results in fewer burnt calories.
My verdict is that you always grab a healthy snack before working out!
Drinking The Wrong Beverage
We love energy drinks; it’s the perfect way to get a kick start on your way to the gym. However, quite often we neglect the most important beverage for weight loss while overindulging in others.
Drinking adequate water will not only help you to improve your health but it will also push you closer towards your weight loss goals. Water helps to increase your body’s metabolism and remove waste making it easier for you to burn fat.
Start drinking one ounce of water for every pound today; if you weigh 130 lbs you should be drinking 130 ounces of water on a daily basis.
Water is the best appetite suppressant and its available right from your kitchen tap – for those of us with filters. Drinking a glass of water before every meal will make you feel fuller and reduce your chances of eating too much.
If you hate the taste of water, you can always add a hint of lemon.
Not Counting Your Calories
The amount of calories you burn on a daily basis is dependent on your body’s metabolic rate, body weight and your activity level. The human body use calories to fuel energy in order to perform even the most mundane tasks, from texting to major biological functions.
We all have a specific amount of calories that we should consume daily to maintain a fixed body weight- the fewer you consume, the greater your chances of losing weight; this is referred to as a caloric deficit.
There is a popular rule-of-thumb, which states that a daily caloric deficit of 3,500 calories will help you to shed 1lb. This does not mean you should cut off all calories from your daily meals. Once you have determined how much calories your body requires in order to maintain your current weight you can start setting your own caloric objectives of losing weight and staying healthy.
You can use the BMI Calculator among others to determine your body’s caloric needs based on your sex, activity level, weight and height.
Neglecting Your Warm Up Sessions
Skipping your warm up sessions will only hurt you in the end. By warming up you are increasing your heart rate, range of motion and the neural drive of your muscles. This will increase your ability to lift weights and minimize inconsistencies in your workout sessions. Stretching will increase blood circulation throughout the body, reducing the possibility of muscle strain.
Therefore, you should always ensure that you warm-up for at least 10 minutes before you start lifting the ‘big weights.’
Overindulging After Working Out
Burning calories takes a lot of work and it’s essential that you replenish your glycogen levels after spending hours at the gym. However, given that your aim is to lose weight, you should avoid scoffing down a Snickers bar and gobbling down a gallon of Gatorade after a hard day’s work at the gym.
Sure, that sounds delicious and energizing but we’re all familiar with the saying, ‘no pain, no gain’. Research have shown that most people consume more calories after their gym sessions- and then head on home for seconds at the dinner table! Don’t let this be you.
Sit-Ups, Sit-Ups and More Sit-Ups!
If your trainer is the type that spends too much time focusing on core stability and pushing you to do too much sit-ups and crunches, it’s time for a change. Sure, this will help you to improve the superficial area of your body –‘the glorious six-pack’ – but what about the rest. In fact, sit-ups will not help you to achieve core stability you need to exercise efficiently.
You will have to work harder to strengthen and flatten your stomach by focusing on building the transverse abdominus. Pilates is the most common technique used to target the abdominal region; however, your trainer might suggest others.
Complacent With Your Workout Regime
This is one of the most common fitness mistakes. Yes, it’s easier to do two laps around the pool and lift a few 5kg weights but your body may be screaming for a change. The human body can easily adapt to physical stress. Therefore, if your get too complacent with your current workout regime and fail to increase the amount of laps you take around the pool and the amount of weights you lift, you will hit a plateau. In other words you will not see any improvements.
Ignoring Signs From Your Body
How is your back doing? ‘Well actually, it felt sore while lifting weights at the gym last night but I am going to head on in tonight to see how it goes…’ if this applies to you, it’s time to take a night off.
Exerting your body will not give you the results you are looking for, and furthermore muscle cramps are your body’s way of saying ‘you’ve been spending too much time at the gym’. Ignoring it will only cause more damage- they might become permanent! Instead, give your body the rest it needs to recharge for a better session at the gym.
It’s winter! One of the best things about this season is that it gives you enough time to prepare for an amazing summer; rocking stylish swimwear on the beach and showing off your new body.
Make note of all the things you’ve been doing wrong from the list above and start making the change today. Essentially your goal is to balance your workout routine with your daily habits to achieve a higher level of fitness.