If you want to get into shape, the path is fairly simple to walk down. Whatever your goal is, the two most important factors are having a diet plan that corresponds to your specific goals and a workout program to maximize the fuel you’re feeding your body (also: sleep, is wildly important). On the other hand, there are so many pitfalls and problems with these two factors that pop up during our journeys and can derail us from maximizing our potential or even reaching our goals. In this post, I want to highlight some common mistakes that can prevent you from reaching your fitness goals.
1. Being Inconsistent with Your Workouts
Putting in two weeks worth of work in the gym and sticking to a diet plan during that period of time is a great thing. However, its not life changing if you spend the next two weeks screwing around and eating whatever you crave regardless of the caloric content. It’d be a much better situation if one had simply exercised consistently throughout the month, even if the workload was smaller than the aforementioned two weeks.
If you want to get into fantastic shape: whether that be building muscle mass or shedding large amounts of body fat, consistency is what will get the results. Notice, I didn’t say perfection. You will have times where you aren’t motivated, you eat something unhealthy, or your results plateau…all of these things will happen. The key is to not let these factors completely derail your long-term goals. Sticking with a plan and developing consistency in your effort over a period of time, will get you the results you desire.
2. Going too Far with Caloric Restriction in Your Diet
Going into a caloric deficit is necessary to lose fat. The thing to understand is that a deficit does not mean one has to go into starvation territory and deprive their body’s of the nutrients it needs to function properly. Taking too many calories out of the equation is going to guarantee you bad results. You’ll lose muscle mass and be worse off overall. The key is to find the total number of calories you need to maintain your current weight, based on the amount of calories you expend each day (including workouts and just sitting around the office), and then subtract calories to move into a deficit. This usually means 300-500 calories less, if you want to lose weight at a slow and steady pace. Going above 1000 calories less per day than your maintenance level can have very negative consequences for people over the short to medium term and your body composition will suffer as well. Don’t rush the process and sacrifice your body to hit a specific number on the scale, consistency yields the best results!
3. Too Much Cardio
Too much cardio can be detrimental. This becomes especially true on a calorie restricted diet, especially one which restricts too much, as mentioned previously. Now, there’s nothing wrong with bumping up the cardio levels in order to get ripped, but this is a tool to be utilized for shorter a duration and not year round. I personally like to do lots of cardio and keep my calories as high as possible during a cut but I will pull it way back during the rest of the year. Why? Too much cardio can lead to a loss of muscle tissue, which means fewer calories burned and potentially a worse body composition (if you’re going for the aesthetic look).
Keep in mind you don’t have to kill the cardio, each and everyday like I’ve seen so many ladies do at the gym and then wonder why they don’t make any progress in their lifts or their physique beyond looking really skinny and not toned. Don’t be afraid to do cardio but keep it in moderation, as it fits into your own personal routine and keep the times when you ramp it up to a few months max before pulling back once you’ve gotten cut.
4. Quality Above Quantity
If it was all about the quantity of work you do, then people who do crunches all day would have some amazing six pack abs, no sweat, right? If you focus only on getting high numbers instead of focusing on the correct technique and exercises to give your full range of motion for which they were designed for, then you’re doing it wrong. The amount does not matter as much, care about quality, good technique, progression, do the exercises with full range of motion, concentration in each repetition, and do it with intensity. Don’t worry about doing lifts with big weight, if you can’t get the proper form down. Stay lighter until you can get it correct and don’t progress until you can do the required amount of reps in your routine with strict form. There are so many people who cheat on their lifts, don’t focus during their workouts, and ultimately get shit results.
5. Have a Plan and Give It Time
Stop expect results overnight. Things take time, especially muscular development. You will only add 0.5-1.0 of muscle per week at a max (if you’re doing everything absolutely correctly) and there are times when you will actually gain weight, even when you’re diet was on point. It happens, it’s frustrating but it is only temporary. The fat loss will come if you give it time, as it didn’t take one day for the fat to get put onto your body and your body has a tendency to want to keep that stored energy, as a survival mechanism. That’s why it’s so important to track your long-term progress and trust in the process. This doesn’t mean you can’t make adjustments but don’t throw the whole thing out because of a setback either.