I thought I would do a quick post about some of the most common mistakes people make with their fitness or weight loss plan, including some mistakes I was making myself. So here we go!
Mistake #1: “I exercise, so I can eat whatever I want”.
I talk about this a lot but some people still aren’t getting it so I’ll say it again; you cannot out-train a bad (or non-existent) eating plan! If you asked me for directions to a training session, and I said “just get on the freeway” would you expect to get there on time? Probably not. You’d need to know how far it is, how long it should take, what direction to travel in, which exit to take and what turns to make after that. A nutition plan is just the same, you need to know your destination (target calories to reach your goal) and be aware of how far to go (how many calories you are consuming) before each turn (or meal in this case).
Mistake 2: Not doing any resistance training.
Mistake 2a: Not doing any cardio training.
I’ve been guilty of Mistake 2a on several prolonged occasions. Contrary to what you might expect I stayed in quite trim shape without doing any cardio at all, but of course my cardiovascular fitness was embarrassingly bad to the point where it was also hindering my progress with strength training. At one point I actually hired a trainer to help me get my lungs into shape, who completely destroyed me within the first 10 minutes because I actually looked quite fit but had lungs that didn’t know how to work hard.
So, that should be enough of an explanation of why you need to do resistance training. I did no cardio whatsoever, but looked fit and reasonably lean. Compare that to people you might know (perhaps even yourself) who work hard on the track, or the treadmill or cross-trainer, but never seem to get much more lean or toned. Credit where it is due, those guys and girls have the commitment and are putting in the hard work, and could probably out last me on the track – but they’re still not seeing the results in improving their ratio of lean mass to fat.
Put simply, cardiovascular training works the heart and lungs (the cardiovascular system) and burns calories. It burns a lot of calories but I believe at a certain point your body gets used to this form of training and just burns the calories consumed throughout the day, rather than body fat stores. Of course you still get benefits in your lung capacity and so forth, but many people do see long term continuing fat reduction.
Bottom line, you need to do BOTH cardiovasular AND resistance training.
Mistake 3: Ego
I’ve written an article already about training your ego vs training your muscles, all about using good exercise technique rather than trying to lift ridiculous amounts of weight. The other part of ego is in thinking you know it all already, and closing your mind to any other ideas. I have been training for a very long time, and have been studying and working in the Fitness Industry for the past 3 or more years, but I still don’t think I know everything. I’m fortunate to have some good friends within the industry and some very experienced body builders at gym who I get ongoing advice and support from, because I am determined to keep learning and keep improving in what I do.
If you’re new to exercise and fitness, be proud of yourself for putting in the hard work, but be humble enough to seek advice from those with more knowledge and experience. Of course, you should also carefully consider the source of any advice! I have seen, heard and read some terrible advice being given out, so make sure you are following advice for a qualified fitness professional, or at least some who is in phenomenal shape.
That’s enough for now, I’m sure I’ll think of some more common mistakes and post them up soon.
Oh here’s another one I just remembered, lets call it Mistake 3a as it follows on from the previous paragraph;
Jumping onto fad diets and fitness products instead of asking me for a program? Huge mistake!