Many people start working out but get discouraged when nothing seems to be changing. There’s a simple reason why, though. The problem is that getting into great shape takes more than just workouts. It needs a complete overhaul of your life to get where you want to be. We all have habits that are hard to break - and even the super fit can struggle sometimes. But, when you are just starting out, it’s these habits that are likely sabotaging your fitness goals. Here are some of the most common issues - see if you recognise any of the following workout killers.
First of all, you might be eating too much of the wrong food. Or, you might be eating too little of the food you need. The right nutrition means everything when you are on a new fitness regime. You have to eat enough to supply the body with the right amount of energy, but the right fuel to lose weight, too. There is a delicate balance to strike for more efficient workouts. Try and find out your ideal calorie intake, and discover how fast your metabolism is. Your progress will be so much quicker once you address this.
Everyone needs to rest, even if they don’t work out at all. It’s the body’s time to recover from the stresses and strains of the day, and it can cause all kinds of nasty conditions if you go without. Now, imagine your body having to deal with all the extra working out you do. It’s easy to see that you need to be sleeping better, and for longer. It is vital to your progress, especially when it comes to building muscle.
Warming up is essential to safe and efficient workouts. First of all, because it gets your muscles ready to move in certain patterns, maximising your results. Secondly, because warming up helps you prevent injuries. You can tear muscles in the blink of an eye, and you will end up out of action for days - possibly weeks.
You always miss leg day
Beyond the humorous aspect of missing leg day, it raises an important point. The body needs to grow and improve as a whole, not just individual muscle groups. If you are only focusing on your chest and shoulders, for example, then you might be causing imbalances. Eventually, this can lead to serious injury - and it will always affect your ability to get the most out of your workouts. So, think about working opposing movements, and make sure your workouts burn deep. For example, full-depth squats will give you an inner stability for bench pressing or use of heavy weights.
Forgetting about the core
Your core group of muscles is the hardest to work out, especially when you are just starting out. There will be all kinds of pain, grunting, and sweating - but it is essential. It gives you the foundation for complete fitness, helps you become more flexible, and improves overall strength. Yes, it is hard. But, it is a vital component of any fitness regime, and you can’t ignore it if you want to progress.
You’re still smoking and drinking
I’ve met many people who feel like they deserve a cigarette and a drink after a workout. But, it’s going to affect their progress. Cigarettes affect the lungs - as we all know - but they also stop you from getting fit. You won’t be able to push yourself as much, you will tire quicker, and have less effective workouts. It’s best to quit completely, but if you can’t, vaping is a safer alternative. As long as you vape with a view towards quitting, you should see significant workout improvements. A quick look over at Flavour Factory Eliquids and you can see plenty of different flavours and strengths available. Start with your preferred strength, then reduce it over time. The important thing is to quit cigarettes - the quicker you get started, the quicker you can get fitter. Alcohol is another issue. The odd glass of wine won’t do too much harm. But, alcohol is the cause of weight gain in many people, and you could be sabotaging your workouts by drinking too much.
You don’t try
When you are just starting out getting fit, you might think it is too much. You will feel a lot of pain, but you won’t recognise it as ‘good’ pain. And, there’s a good chance that you will quit workouts early and never finish them. The trouble is, if you want to make progress, you have to push yourself. It is vital to keep going and break through your plateaus - safely, of course. Try mixing up your exercises a little - don’t rely on one workout DVD. Boredom is another issue, which mixing things up can solve.
You train for too long
However, while you are pushing it, your workouts can go on for too long. It can cause your body havoc, so avoid any strenuous activity for longer than 45-55 minutes. Overtraining has just as many detrimental effects as undertraining. So, always take care that you aren’t overdoing it. Similarly, your body needs time to recover. You won’t see much progress if you are working out every day for half an hour or so. Rest days are vital - although you can mix it up to work on different body parts.
Featured image by Flickr: Stephanie Young Merzel