Fitness is essential for a healthy lifestyle and to support overall wellness. It will give you energy, make you stronger, enhance your focus, and reduce your risk of chronic illness.
The key to any fitness program is understanding your goals. For example, if your goal is to lose weight then you’d want to do more cardio exercise to burn calories. If your goal is to build muscle mass then you would want to focus on resistance training to improve strength and increase muscle-to-fat ratio.
While any movement is better than none, your workout is not worthwhile if you’re making these common mistakes with your fitness. Here are the common mistakes I see people make.
1. Trying to Out-Train a Bad Diet
I have some news for you. You will never out-train a bad diet. If you eat a lot of processed foods, drink alcohol in excess, or over indulge in sweets, it doesn’t matter how many calories you are burning.
There are pros and cons to doing two workouts a day, but the most important thing to remember is that you need to rest in between workouts. You should also limit the total time of workouts to 90 minutes a day to reduce your risk of injury. Not to mention, overtraining and a bad diet can lead to disordered eating and vitamin deficiencies.
Instead of trying to out-train your bad diet, eat nutrient-dense whole foods and eliminate processed sugar, alcohol, and processed foods while working out 60 minutes a day, 4 to 5 days per week.
2. Not Recovering
For your body to get the benefits for your workout, it needs rest. The more intense your workout, the greater your recovery needs. Set aside a day or two for recovery and rest. Make sure you are replenishing important electrolytes and water you lost during your workout. And always eat a post-exercise meal to give your body nutrients to recover.
If you are just starting a workout program or have lived a sedentary lifestyle, use the 3:4 ratio to begin. To do this, workout for 30 minutes a day 3 days a week and rest the other 4, but don’t make them consecutive. After a few weeks, increase the time to 60 minutes. After a month, switch the ratio to 4:3.
3. Not Mixing Up Your Workouts
Listen, I love mat pilates as much as the next person. However, you need to change up your workouts. If you stick to the same workout, you will burn out or suffer an injury over time. If you’re into group fitness, throw in a yoga class or something gentle. If you’re going to the gym, focus on changing from strength training, to cardio, to flexibility exercises.
4. Not Stretching After
I see this all the time and it infuriates me – people leaving a fitness class early or not stretching before leaving the gym. Those 2-3 minutes of stretching your skipping to get out early are there for a reason and are part of the cool down (see below). Stretching keeps your tendons and ligaments healthy and relaxes your muscles that have just been on overdrive. If you’re leaving early and skipping the stretching, stop!
5. Skipping the Warmup/Cool Down
I mention this with the same energy as not stretching, the warm up and cool downs are just as important – if not more – than the workout in between. Warming up gets your body ready, and signals your heart to get ready. It also helps prevent injury, skipped heartbeats, or premature fatigue.
The cool down is equally important and promotes recovery, slows down your heart rate, and relaxes your muscles. Don’t leave class early and arrive on time. If you’re going to the gym, add a warm up and cool down to your plan for each day. It’s necessary.
6. Ignoring Your Nutrition
As a former fitness instructor, I saw a lot of people that workout and do everything right with their exercise program, but still don’t get the results they want. Do you want to know why? They aren’t adjusting their nutrition. This goes back to the mistake of trying to out-train a bad diet.
If you’re working out regularly, but going out and binging on the weekends with cocktails, fatty foods, and treats, you are hindering all the progress you’ve made in the gym or studio that week. That practice is fine in moderation, but if you’re doing it every weekend then you’re just chasing your own tail. To get optimal results of any exercise program, you need to equally focus on your nutrition.
Fitness and nutrition are not a “one-size-fits-all” approach. All of our bodies are different, so your diet and exercise routine should reflect that. If you’re unsure where to start, let me help. Let’s build a better you!
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