I am not an expert, neither am I a fitness trainer nor a medical doctor. I am however someone who has been physically active for almost all of my life, have competed in sporting events at the national and international levels (track and field and netball) and have paid my fair share of personal trainers to keep me show-ready for international modeling and pageantry. So, its safe to say that I have learnt a thing or two about fitness during my lifetime. Below I highlight some of the habits you might be practicing that may be demotivating you and are a hindrance to your fitness goals.
1. Rushing the process
Naturally you want to see results right away so you busy yourself in the gym daily with the hope that results would be fast coming. When you do not make the progress you think you ought to be making, given the work you have put in, you become discouraged. Soon it becomes a chore to go to the gym and suddenly you begin to miss your workout sessions.
If this is you, I suggest that you focus on enjoying the process rather than rushing it. Focus more on developing a love for fitness. Stop trying to achieve results overnight because it will not happen. Your energy and enthusiasm will last longer, and thus your commitment to maintaining your fitness goals.
Rushing the process also includes how you execute your workouts. Take the time to properly execute each move. Too often I see people in the gym, guys especially, who are pumping so quickly I wonder who they are racing against.
Take the time to concentrate on your form, technique and control. It is better to have properly executed three different routines than to have done 10 of them and they are of no to little effect because they were not done correctly. Also, properly executing your exercises will help to prevent injury.
2. Not mixing things up
Working out can be tedious. That is why it is important to keep things interesting. Cut out the mundane and monotony of working out by incorporating a variety of exercises into your regimen. So instead of running on the treadmill everyday balance your workouts with some other form of training.
Take a pilates or yoga class, join a boxing session or spin class. You could even do a variety of stretches one day (yes, stretching is important too). You could also run in the park, around the harbour or on the beach, or cycle somewhere. Joining a sports team is also an option, especially if you do not like working out on your own. Anything that gets you moving and your heart pumping can be incorporated into your regimen.
Just keep it moving and keep mixing things up. Stop doing the same excesses daily. Our bodies become accustomed to things and so we should switch things up every now and then to keep your body guessing and yourself intrigued.
I read somewhere that for something to become a habit you have to do it for at least 90-days. That being said, what do you expect to happen if one week you are committed to the gym and the next you only work out once? If you have to, schedule your workouts and stick to it.
I too fall foul of this. If after a certain time of day I think its too late for me to workout during my lunch hour I always decide to go after work instead. However, after work I am usually tired and almost always go home. This is probably my biggest gym related problem, but this year I am making a concerted effort to habitually go to the gym during my preferred time of day since I know that if I do not go then I am likely to not go at all. It better to go and not push hard than to not go to the gym at all. So stop making excuses and get that work out in! Stop finding every reason in the book to not workout because after skipping the gym a few times you will soon not go at all.
4. Comparing yourself to others
Everyone is different. We do not all look the same, speak in the same way and like all of the same things. So why would you believe that you would lose weight or tone as fast as the other person? Stop watching other people’s progress and focus on your own. The other person might go to the gym only twice per week and makes more progress than you who workout daily, but that’s okay, you’re making progress too. Stick to your plan and know that you too will start to see dramatic results if you remain consistent.
5. Stepping on the scale
Weighing yourself frequently will only result in discouragement. When you lift weights you will develop your muscles which will mean that you will become heavier and seem like you have added pounds.
6. Constantly looking in the mirror
You have been putting in the work and you are feeling your absolute best since starting your fitness regimen. Naturally you cannot help but steal glances of yourself in the mirror to see what progress your hard work is making.
The problem is, you are likely to be disappointed by constantly looking in the mirror because it is unlikely that you will notice any difference in your physique, unless there is substantial difference. Perhaps wait until a few weeks or so have passed before you begin to inspect for progress. Another option is to take photos bi-weekly to document your progress. Even small progress is so much easier to notice in photos than in the mirror.
You are working out consistently but do not see any results. What do you expect if you are eating the same amount or more calories as you are expiring in the gym? Just because you are working out does not mean that you can eat every and anything you want.
You can treat yourself but still have to monitor what you eat. Having a well balanced diet and drinking lots of water should always be a part of your fitness regime. I suggest that you plan your meals weekly. This way it is easier to monitor what you are putting into your body. So cut out the sugary treat, sodium filled snacks and excess alcohol and feed your body the vital nutrients it needs.
8. Skimming on sleep
It takes energy to exert energy and if you are lacking rest you will be sluggish in the gym. So no, its not that the weight was too heavy for you to lift or that the distance was too far to run. Simply put, could not lift the weight or run the miles because your body was already fatigued from a lack of sleep. So get into bed early and rest well.
I hope you will assess your practices and develop habits that will help you to achieve your fitness goals this year. Good luck!