I’ve done the whole “sit in neutral” thing. I’ve stayed the same weight with an awesome “skinny fat” physique, and so I’ve learned through trial and error what NOT to do. If you’ve been working out like crazy and are not seeing results you had hoped for, there are a few possibilities of what could be happening…
a) You just need to keep going. Fitness “transformations” and weight loss take longer for some than others.
b) You’re making one of the 10 big mistakes mentioned below.
Not Seeing Results? Compare Your Routine
to These 10 Common Fitness Mistakes:
Here is a complete guide to destroying your fitness progress. (Note: This is a list of 10 fitness mistakes – in other words, don’t do these things.)
For many years, I skipped breakfast going off of the theory that I would burn more calories from fat that way. And there have been some studies that show more caloric burn that way, but over the long term I have to disagree with meal skipping as a strategy for progress. You should ALWAYS eat a little something before your workouts. Not a whole pancake breakfast, but some oatmeal and/or quinoa cereal, or almond butter on ezekiel toast. Post-workout, replenish your body with some high quality lean protein.
2. Don’t warm up.
If you’re doing cardio, spend a good 2-3 minutes warming up your muscles to prevent injury. Same goes for weight lifting. Start off with a few reps of lower weights to get the muscles limber and ready for the big stuff.
3. Don’t challenge yourself.
Challenging yourself and learning to love that “burn” is what brings you to new levels of fitness capability. Push yourself. When you get to that time where you “HAVE” to quit, hang on for 3 more seconds. You can do it.
4. Do the same thing every day.
Try new things. Challenge your body. Do a yoga class. Focus on balancing exercises using a bosu ball or resistance ball. Go for a run. Overall fitness and strength comes from being able to do lots of different forms of activity. This is my opinion only. There are lots of people who swear against doing anything but _______. (Hello, anti-cardio people.) I personally love getting my heart rate up, and then lifting super heavy weights and then hitting a hot yoga class. By the end of the week I feel healthy and versatile.
Ok, come on now. If you’re at the gym to lift some weights, let’s get serious about it. Trainers always emphasize the importance of “slow and controlled” movement. This is key. Example: Shoulder presses (lifting weights straight up in the air) are NOT like fist pumps. Commit to the motion. Plant your feet, and use your breath to keep a steady tempo.
6. Drink very little water.
I’m not going to rant about the importance of water intake. Just drink lots of it. (Half of your body weight is the number, in ounces, you should be shooting for in terms of daily water consumption. Example: 200lb person = 100 ounces of water per day.)
7. Lift 1-pound weights, a thousand times.
Muscle burns fat. How do you build muscle? By lifting heavier weights. Don’t freak out. You don’t have to look like a bodybuilder if that’s not what you want. But if you want to reshape your body and burn off some serious flab, drop the 2-pounders, pick up some heavier weights and do fewer repetitions.
8. Hold on to the hand rails.
When you’re on the treadmill, elliptical, stair master, etc., let go of the hand rails – even when you’re going uphill. Make your legs and core do the work. Putting your hands on the rails burns less calories, prevents important muscles from doing the work and can even potentially cause injury.
9. Don’t pay attention to form.
This is so very important, especially when squatting, lunging or working the arms and core. Many workout injuries are caused by improper form – i.e.: over-extending the knee over the toes when lunging, or straining the back while doing core work. Ask a professional trainer or do some research before diving into a new exercise. If possible, do your moves in front of a mirror so you can watch your shoulders, knees, etc.
Lactic acid build-up as well as muscle tension and tightness should be released after your workout with at least a few minutes or more of deep, long stretching. Most gyms have foam rollers and they are aaaamazing. Painful at first, but sooo good.
BONUS: Eat like crap and consume tons of sugar, alcohol and refined carbs.
Abs are made in the kitchen. If you’re working hard but still have leftover flab and stubborn belly fat, evaluate your diet and see what changes need to be made. You may consider cutting out sugar (read your labels!), dairy and/or carbs like bread, pasta, potatoes and white rice.
Being FIT Takes Being CONSISTENT
No, I don’t mean do the same thing every day. Switch up your routine, but establish a routine and keep it going. Magic beans claiming overnight weight loss or drugs which suppress appetite, should be used as supplements or not at all (I’m partial to the latter). The only two things which will really ensure steady, consistent weight loss and physical health are:
- Proper diet
This isn’t about instant satisfaction. One healthy meal won’t make you skinny. One workout won’t make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. This isn’t intended to be a Debbie Downer moment for you, but I guarantee you’ll do better if you know what amount of effort it’s going to take in order to set and achieve your goals.