Whether you’re new to the whole fitness scene, or you’re a seasoned vet, there will always be potential pitfalls that show up in our path. They are nothing more than distractions on your path to achieving your fitness goals. The simple answer here is obvious, stay focused on what you want. While this sounds easy, it’s even easier to slip off track and even regress to even further than when you started. Even worse, sometimes you won’t even realize that you’ve gone off track. These pitfalls can be very subtle, even sneaky to the point you don’t see them.
So what are these pitfalls, how do you know recognize them, and more importantly, how can you avoid them?
1. Compromise – While the concept of “compromising” can work wonders in relationships, they won’t do you any favors if you’re looking for that rock hard body. Yes, we all slip once in a while. I even encourage treating yourself once in a while to a “cheat meal”. However, the compromise I’m referring to are the ones we may make on a daily basis. The ones that we consistently rationalize with ourselves. For example, every day at lunch you may grab a bag of chips to eat with your sandwich and maybe you think to yourself “well I can eat this now and I’ll burn it off at the gym later”. This is NOT a good rationalization for eating poorly. The logic of eating bad and then later trying to “work it off” is a classic example of compromising. First, you can’t ever outwork a poor diet, and secondly once you are exercising your body won’t have the QUALITY energy it needs to repair muscle tissue.
· How to avoid – Be conscious about what exactly you’re eating. Find a plan that works for you and your specific goals and stick with it. Don’t go on ‘autopilot’ with your life, understand what you’re putting into your body. Don’t try to justify eating poorly by saying you’ll counter it with a workout. Treating yourself is ok once in a while, just don’t make this a daily habit.
2. Seeing It as a “Diet” – I wrote about this in an earlier blog, but the gist of this was that you can’t view any changes that you’re going to make as ‘temporary’, and in my opinion the word ‘diet’ suggests a temporary change. If you want REAL long-term results make the decision that this is a LIFESTYLE change. Think about it this way, you can’t get full results on a part-time effort. Diets are broken every day. When you make the decision to change your lifestyle, this promotes a much stronger change and is much harder to break. The key here is that you, and you alone make the decision to change how you live day-to-day. Saying “I’ll change once I’m not so stressed from work” or “Once this happens or that happens, then I’ll start”. We are always going to have reasons and stressors in our lives that can distract us from our goals, that’s life! There is no better time than now to change.
· How to avoid – This one is a change of your mindset. Know that the change you want to make is not temporary or short-term. You are changing how you live on a day-to-day basis. Your thoughts drive how you act, so if your mind is set that this is a permanent change you’ll have a much higher chance of succeeding
3. Routines – As human beings we are, by nature, creatures of habit. We have our morning routines, our shower routines and so on. When it comes to fitness, this can be a double edged sword. If you have a routine of going to the gym after work and have incorporated it as part of your lifestyle, then you can give yourself a pat on the back. Routines allow stability and familiarity in our lives. However, routines can also lead to comfort zones and plateaus. We may be stable where we are, but we aren’t progressing. Comfort zones can be the kiss of death, because they are well, comfortable. Change requires us to go outside the norm, push ourselves and explore new opportunities. I’m not suggesting dramatic changes, small ones can even make a difference. Walking into the gym and doing the same exercise routine (while beneficial) isn’t really promoting change in your body.
· How to avoid – Mix-up your workout schedule. For example, if you normally run 5 miles (either outside or on the treadmill), try running 2 miles at a much faster pace. Or if you always go that 5:00pm spinning class, maybe try a yoga class. Obviously, your goals are going to determine what you’re going to be changing in your exercises, but the overall message here is to try things out of the norm. It will keep your body confused, and that’s a good thing.
Comment or Suggestion?
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