Have you ever worked really hard towards a fitness goal only to see little to no progress? Great news! Most people make small lifestyle mistakes that can dramatically impact their fitness routine. Here are seven things that you can correct so that you can get yourself back on track with your fitness goals.
1. Not Eating Before a Workout
Your body is a machine. It is very important that you know, accept and embrace this fact. A machine needs fuel and your body is no different. It is a simple concept that most people know, but it tends to get ignored when it is time to work out. Fitness gurus used to say that working out on an empty stomach burns more fat. But for many of us this is not the case.
Our bodies need the energy that we get from food, especially glucose. This is our body's preferred source of energy. If the body runs out of its favourite energy source, it will start to break down muscle mass to feed itself. You will also notice a dip in your energy and performance.
Try consuming healthy carbs (especially from fruits and vegetables) before your workout. If you find it hard to eat before a workout, consider a pre-workout supplement. They’ll give you the boost of energy you’ll need to truly maximize your workout time.
2. Drinking too Much Alcohol
We have all had a hard day at work and come home to relax and have a glass of wine. Moderation of all things is good, but having too much to drink can have a negative impact on your fitness goals. The simple reason for this is that you are breaking the golden rule: Do not drink your calories! Many people will refuse to drink soda or sugary juices but then drink 5 or 6 beers! Those extra calories and sugar can add up, dragging all of your health goals off track. Did you know some cocktail mixes can contain a whopping 40+ grams of sugar?! Cutting back on your alcohol consumption is an easy way to see a difference in your workouts.
3. Skipping Supplements
Make an effort to learn what is missing from your diet. This can have a huge effect on your workouts. Take Vitamin D for example. This vitamin is what helps our bones become strong and it also keeps us happy and feeling energized. If you live in a place that is not very sunny, it might improve your energy levels to take a vitamin D supplement. Don’t eat many fresh vegetables? Take a greens supplement to get many of the nutrients you’re missing from those veggies.
Another good example of this is essential amino acids. There are 20 of them and they do not occur in large quantities in food. In order to reap the benefits, we need to supplement them. Each of them does something specific so you should talk to your doctor or nutritionist about what your diet might be missing.
4. Predictable Cardio Routines
Many people find comfort in routine, especially in the gym. It is hard to believe that such a simple thing can have such a huge impact on your workout. Are you lifting the same weights that you were lifting when you first started? Are you doing the same amount of cardio? If you have been on your fitness journey for a while, the answer to these questions is probably no. Why? Because you have gotten better and you need to increase the difficulty!
This same thing happens to our bodies on a smaller scale. When doing cardio you should always be changing up your routine. Alternate shorter distances and longer distances on runs. Increase the speed or incline while using a treadmill. There are many fixes to this problem, but the important thing is that you change up your routine. Our bodies are wonderful at adapting and your muscles will get used to a certain routine. Introducing moderate amounts of stress through change can have dramatic effects on results.
5. Having a Fitness Routine that does not Fit your Goals
Make sure that the routine you have set up is in line with what you want to achieve. This can be done by talking to a nutritionist, personal trainer or even your doctor. If you have a clear goal in mind you can ensure that the intensity, amount and type of workout is catered to those goals.
6. Skipping Warm Ups and Cool Downs
How many times have you gone to the gym and done limited stretching? Doing the warm up exercises that you did in PE class is not going to cut it. You need to make sure that you are doing dynamic warm ups that work every muscle and tendon. Proper warmups stimulate certain chemicals in your body that allow for fat burning and muscle gain to happen more easily. This makes your work out more efficient and effective.
Don’t skip on the cool downs. You do not slam on the breaks at every red light, do you? Then why on earth would you do that to your body? Having a cool down routine can help reduce muscle recovery time and overall soreness.
7. Taking on Too Much, Too Soon
This is the mistake that almost every person will make on their fitness journey. Health and fitness is not a race. You will get there at your own pace and you need to make sure you are listening to your body and health professionals. Overwhelming yourself will lead to disappointment and it will make your goals unattainable. Start off slow and make sure that what you are doing feels good. There is no shame in starting with a light jog or a two-pound weight.
Remember, your fitness journey is a lifetime of progress. Even the most dedicated athlete has their off days and their setbacks. Your success isn’t ruined by the workout days you skip or the diet oops day. Your success however is determined by how you respond the next day and the steps you take to improve your outcomes with each new day.