The start of a New Year often means a new fitness plan for you. Whether you're investing in a new gym membership or starting a new exercise plan, make the most of your workout time and avoid these common fitness blunders that can deter your goals.
1. You don't have a plan.
If you don’t have an established plan, you're setting yourself up for frustration. How will you know when you've arrived if you don't select a destination?
SOLUTION: Set yourself up for success. Consider having baby-step goals so you can have lots of mini-wins on your way to achieving your bigger goal. Small wins can fuel your motivation to keep going. Set specific goals that include timeframes. Determine how to meet the goals with your sketched-out plan. Write down your plan, and keep reminders in various locations. Make yourself accountable by telling family and friends your intentions. Stick to your plan because your commitment will boost your confidence.
2. You overdo it.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is common when starting a new workout. It usually lasts two to three days, then subsides. It’s better to start slow and build up to a steady, challenging workout. If you're over-enthusiastic and attempt to lift too much weight or run a mile too far, you’ll feel the effects for several days and sometimes even weeks. Discomfort could lead to frustration and a lack of motivation.
SOLUTION: Concentrate on learning proper technique, and tackle the basics before moving to more complicated workouts.
3. You have bad eating habits.
One of the biggest battles in the fitness fight is proper nutrition. Starting a new exercise program and changing your nutritional habits (if they aren't healthy) must happen simultaneously. Think of food and exercise like two people dancing — you want to be in sync. Running a sprint then scarfing down a double cheeseburger defeats the purpose.
SOLUTION: Food is fuel, and if you don’t have the right fuel or the right amount, you can throw off your workouts. Choose whole, fresh foods and avoid processed foods. Also, it's important to make sure you have enough energy for your workouts. With smart food choices you can avoid feeling too full and sluggish, empty and weak or nauseous.
Food ideas before your workout:
- An apple with a teaspoon of peanut butter
- Homemade Peanut Butter and Chocolate Energy Bars
- A yogurt with some almonds
- A yogurt with a sliced-up banana
- A slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter
Food ideas after your workout:
- Make a smoothie
- Have a handful of walnuts, almonds or pistachios
- Eat a Greek yogurt
- Low fat cheese
- A hard boiled egg
4. You get fixated on time.
Don't get caught up in thinking you have to workout for an hour to see results. If you have kids or work full time or both, an hour-long workout might be impossible. You might think, "Why bother?" and never workout at all.
SOLUTION: Start small and use your time wisely. Using 15 or 20 available minutes is better than none at all. The key to establishing a flexible, enjoyable routine is finding one that works with your lifestyle. Also, try to plan your workouts just as you would any other appointment. Waiting to find time in your day isn't a plan. Schedule it ahead of time to prioritize it and make it work — even if it's only 20 minutes!
5. You focus too much on the scale.
Weight can vary by several pounds depending on water, hormones and the type of workouts you’ve been doing. Obsessing on the perfect number isn't healthy, especially if it makes your mood soar up or down based on those three numbers.
SOLUTION: See how you are doing by how your clothes fit. How do you fit in your old pair of jeans? Consider checking your progress by seeing if you can life heavier weights or improve your 5k time.
Set yourself up for success by avoiding the common fitness blunders and stay on track to enjoy a year of positive change ahead!
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