In this world of instagram fitness influencers and new boutique workout studios opening every other day, we’re constantly overloaded with new information on fitness trends, fad diets and quick fix products that guarantee results. However, there’s so much contradicting evidence thrown at you on a daily basis it’s hard to know what to believe. I always tell my clients to take every bit of information they hear pertaining to fitness and health with a subjective mindset. EveryBODY is different and what works for one person never guarantees that it will necessarily work for you. That’s why it’s important to listen to YOUR body and YOUR needs and not justify doing a certain workout and eating a certain food because someone told you to.
With that being said, I’ve outlined below a list of certain diet and exercise mistakes I’ve seen not only hinder my results but also my clients, friends and family throughout the years. As I said before though, what works for someone may not work for you so above all, listen and pay attention to what your body is telling you because you know yourself better than anyone else!
1. Only focusing on the scale So many people use the scale as their holy grail of success but the number is often irrelevant when it comes to where you are in terms of your weight loss/muscle gain goals. Emphasizing what the number on the scale says each day negates the achievements that don’t always show up on the scale. Body composition is the ratio of lean body mass to fat mass. As you build muscle and lose fat, your body comp improves. But if you build muscle at the same time you’re losing fat, the scale may take its time going down, or stay the same even as you’re losing inches. I always tell my clients to check in with how their clothes are fitting and overall how their body is feeling on a day to day basis rather than weighing themselves.
2. Only doing the same type of workout As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect! When you do the same thing day after day, needless to say, you get very good at it. This is called the Principle of Adaptation and it refers to the process of the body becoming very efficient at doing a particular exercise through repeated exposure. If you always do the same workout for the same amount of time, you will eventually hit a plateau where you fail to see any additional change. Ever wonder why you were so sore when you first started doing a particular workout and now, months in, you’re not…guess what, your body has adapted to it!One way of overcoming this plateau is to modify your workouts every few weeks or months. You can change the type of exercise you do, the length, the amount of weight lifted, or the number of reps.
3. Not eating enough:I’ve had so many clients tell me during their initial consults that they’re going to limit their calories to as low as 1,000 calories a day. THAT. IS. NUTS. First of all, your body demands different things every day so restricting it to a predetermined caloric amount is forcing it to remain in a static state rather than L-I-V-I-N-G. Also, it is absolutely essential to consume the right amount of calories your body needs!! If you don’t, it will decrease your metabolism by essentially telling your body that you’re starving. When you’re in this “starvation mode” the body considers muscle to be expendable so it breaks down the muscle tissue and uses it for energy. However, it considers fat to be necessary to insulate your organs for survival so it holds on to that.
4. Not drinking enough water: It doesn’t matter who you are, or what your diet and exercise routine is, we ALL need water. It helps energize your muscles and lubricates your joints, delivers oxygen throughout your body, flushes out toxins, and it also helps you determine whether or not you’re actually hungry or just hungry from thirst. So treat yourself to a cute water bottle and fill that sucker up!
5. Trying to workout a bad diet: People often overestimate the amount of calories they burn working out while underestimating the amount of calories they consume. For example, in a typical cycle class you can burn anywhere between 300-600 calories depending on your sex, weight and intensity. A typical slice of cheese pizza has around 285 calories in it….that’s ONE slice. So even if you peddled your little legs off at max intensity and burned over 600 calories, that’s still only about 3 slices of pizza. Now like I’ve said before, I’m never going to tell you to not eat pizza and enjoy the foods you love without guilt, just don’t use working out as an excuse to go overboard. Eat the pizza, but how about you start with one slice and pair it with a side salad or roasted veggies. Balance is key and healthy eating practices and exercise go hand in hand. You cannot find success with only doing one or the other.
6. Using incorrect form or technique: Form is so essential to not only getting results but also avoiding potential injuries, pain and soreness. Especially when it comes to strength training, proper form ensures that your body is stressed properly, and so it will respond and adapt in the best way possible. If you are not sure about how to do an exercise, please don’t attempt to do it anyways. Ask a trainer at your gym or shoot me a message!
7. All quantity, no quality A lot of people go to the gym out of habit and, as if on autopilot, they put their 60-90 minutes in and then head home. If you’re one of those people, let me tell you something, you can get a better, more successful workout in 15-30 minutes of full on 100% exertion. It’s all about working out smarter, not harder and longer! More definitely does not mean better and working out for too long just ends up being ineffective and could be detrimental long-term. Shorter workouts allow you to push harder. It’s intensity that drives results, not duration.
8. Not taking rest days Going on the same notion as above, it’s all about the quality of workouts, not the quantity. A lot of my clients struggle with the concept of rest days thinking it will derail them from achieving their goals which is the absolute opposite of the truth. Rest days are essential for your body to recover and repair its muscle fibers that are torn during workouts. I recommend my clients training 4-5 days a week broken up between cardio, strength and restorative low-impact exercises such as barre, pilates or yoga. Rest days also don’t mean you have to be on bed rest for 24 hours. You can certainly go for walks, stretch, take another yoga class, etc…you always want to move your body in some capacity every day but let’s not tear our muscles to shred 7 days a week.
Hope you find these tips helpful and, as always, you’re the one who’s in control of your body and you know yourself the best so pay attention to what it’s telling you!