Are you kicking butt in the gym but seeing no results? You could be doing everything right but if you don’t have these five bad habits cleaned up “everything” might just not be good enough.
I was actually asked by Reflex Supplements to write this article for their blog but I wanted to share it with all of you as well.. That’s right, feel the love.
As a trainer and a coach I am constantly trying to educate myself on what helps my clients succeed the most and with that comes learning what really does not work for most people.
1. Over Training
Do you skip rest days more often than not? Or maybe you had no idea that you should be taking a rest day in the first place. Well I have news for you, if you aren’t taking at least one rest day a week if not two then you are most likely over training and overworking your body and your muscles. It’s easy to develop an “I have to workout every day” mindset, when everything that we do seems to be a little more frantic and rushed then it used to be we often forget that one of the most important parts of muscle development is actually giving our muscles time to recover. When we workout we are essentially breaking our muscles down which causes them to rebuild themselves stronger than they were before resulting in those muscle gains we are all looking for. Doing intensely stressing exercises such as weight lifting or running every single day becomes too much for the system to handle and will eventually lead to overuse injuries, such as stress fractures, muscle strains, and joint pain.
2. Not Eating Enough
Have you heard the saying “Food is Fuel” ? Well I can tell you right now that whoever started that was not joking.. A lot of the time when we think of reaching a fitness goal we think of dieting which means going into a caloric deficit aka lowering your calories, most times to a very unhealthy and unsafe level. I don’t know when we all started associating everything fitness related with starving ourselves but it needs to stop. The number one thing that I find when I am assessing a new client is that they are not eating enough, not even close, we have this fear that food is the bad guy and that being hungry constantly is just the norm if you’re trying to reach a goal. Whether you want to lose or gain weight, burn fat or build muscle you need to eat, the formula is simple; exercise + the right kinds of foods at the right times = you getting to your goal, whatever that may be.
3. Doing Endless Cardio
Too often I see girls (and guys) spending all of their time on the cardio machines in the gym but never getting any closer to their goals. You might feel like you’re getting a good workout in, you’re huffing and puffing and sweating and you’ve heard that cardio is the best way to lose fat but in reality when it comes to getting results you’re going nowhere fast. The reality of it is that if you are spending any longer than 60 minutes on a piece of cardio equipment more than 4 times a week you are doing your metabolism more harm than good, the truth is that when you spend the bulk of your time in the gym in the cardio section you are actually slowing your metabolism down and breaking down your muscle. In order for our bodies to become fat burning machines we need to be doing a few things; eating often to keep our metabolism high, lifting weight to build muscle and doing the proper kinds of cardio. All of which contribute to boosting our metabolism which, you guess it, will help us burn the most fat. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the fastest and most effective cardio techniques when it comes to fat loss and lets face it 20 minutes of cardio sounds a lot more appealing than 90 minutes.. Doesn’t it?
4. Letting a Cheat Meal Turn Into a Cheat Day/Weekend
Listen I’m all about balance and everything in moderation but we’ve all been there, we psych ourselves up for our beloved cheat meal and we tell ourselves that this weekend it is going to be different, we’re going to have one cheat and thats it and then the flood gates open. Somehow that cheat meal turned into a cheat day and then a cheat 24 hours and now you’re saying yes to Sunday brunch and donuts and waffles and pizza and you can feel yourself slowly spiralling out of control (okay I’m being dramatic but you get the picture). My point is that a cheat meal will not hinder your progress, in fact sometimes a cheat meal is the something that your body and muscles need to replenish themselves (ever heard the term “refeed” yeah thats what I mean) but going completely crazy and falling off the wagon for a whole weekend, every weekend is not going to do any of us any good.
5. Comparing Yourself To Others
It sounds like an obvious one right? Wrong. I understand that it’s human nature to admire and compare ourselves to others, we are constantly exposed to other peoples lives through social media but I think that we all forget sometimes that when it comes to other peoples lives we only see what they want us to see. Instagram (and social media in general) is a total highlight reel, because lets face it why would anyone post something about themselves that was unflattering to unappealing to the general public when they can post their best angle? You are never going to be another person, you will never have the exact same physique as someone else and you will never have their life. We all need to remind ourselves that where we are in our journey is a lot different than where anyone else is at in their journey and that is the beauty of fitness and life in general. So at the end of the day, you just do you.