New Year's Resolution season. It is an exciting time to see people wanting to improve their health. Unfortunately, for a majority, it is a fleeting season. Every year I see a gym full of people in January and by March it is back to the regulars. What happened? A lot of things happen. Usually disappearance can be related to lack of desired results. Some of my questions for this action are,
- Were the desired results realistic in YOUR time frame?
- How many times did you work out?
- What did you eat (if at all) during this time frame?
- How stressed are you?
- If you are, what kind of stress management tools are you using?
- Did you get evaluated before starting a program?
Answers to these kind of questions can be very telling as to why someone continues on with their New Year's resolution and others do not. So before one can get too discouraged with his/her current progress (or perceived lack of), here are the top 5 mistakes that create a fitness failure.
1. Too Much, Too Soon
Workouts should be based on what you are physically able to do NOW. If one is trying to live out his/her glory years or replicate a video, group class at high intensity, this can be a prime motivation killer. Why? Most people do not like feeling sore, much less sore to the point of being barely able to move. A mindset of, "I am past my prime" or "This is just not for me", can quickly develop. Neither thought is correct. It is a case of too much, too soon.
Answer: Apply what you can now (which may not be much) and progress from there. Mindful consistency, not intense quantity, will be the difference maker for goal achievement.
2. Performing Exercise Incorrectly
This is equally as bad as doing #1. There is a reason I do not have exercise videos. EVERY BODY IS DIFFERENT. The best "form" for various exercises (for the individual) is based on 3 criteria points:
- Body Structure (bone length, circumference)
- Joint Mobility (range of motion)
- Current Health Status (any conditions such as diabetes, high BP, etc.)
An individual's structure, range, and current health status dictates not only what is appropriate, but HOW the exercise should be done. It can vary slightly or a lot pending on the individual. Case in point, let's say it is "leg day" and there are 2 people training. Someone with a small waistline, stable range of motion, long leg bones (femur, tibia, fibula), is going to have a different form compared to someone with 40 extra pounds, diabetic, high blood pressure, shorter leg bones, and heavily restricted range of motion. The exercises can be the same but the form would be catered to the individual.
Answer: It is CRITICAL for the individual to understand his/her own structure and abilities. This is why personal training is PERSONAL. A qualified trainer would know how to assess, create, and progress an individual if the individual does not how to his/herself. Two programs that help further trainers in this endeavor are below. Feel free to use them as a resource to contact one in your area. When it comes to this area, it cannot be done effectively online.
3. Under/Overconsuming Calories or Wrong Ratios
Unless you have a high metabolism, one cannot workout and, eat whatever one feels like in large amounts and expect lean results. Likewise, you cannot starve yourself and expect long-term results either. Fasting, if done strategically (and assuming the individual can do it, i.e. diabetics) could possibly demonstrate benefits. However, strategic fasting is usually done in a short time period (12-24 hours).
Much like an individual's bone structure, a metabolism is unique as well. Yes, we all need carbohydrates, fats, and protein. In what ratios do we need them? Like exercise form, it comes down to the individual. Paleo, Adkins, South Beach, Gluten Free, etc. may be great for one, terrible for another. Like bone structure and health conditions, their metabolisms could be completely different. The key here is to find out what works best for YOU. This requires investigative work or "being your own detective" as Jade Teta, ND, of Metabolic Effect would say.
Answer: It may take a time of trial and error but eventually, with diligence, an individual can conclude what is best for them. The concept of flexible dieting is about finding which ratios of carbs, fats, and protein work best for you. How you decided to consume them is up to you. It is worth the effort to figure it out. I'll expound in the future on this (with more than one entry). Within my scope I am granted, I work with people on the basics. I have my own recommendations on supplements but I do not mind recommending other professionals as well. Their viewpoints may differ somewhat but I know they love helping people become BETTER. With that said, here are professionals that specialize in this area I recommend,
4. Stressed Out
No matter how much you workout and/or account for calories, if you are constantly stressed, you are going to hold on to weight. Stress can trigger hormone release at improper times, namely Cortisol. Cortisol released when working out, a good thing. Cortisol released when mentally stressed out combined with no physical work, a bad thing. Exercise can be a stress management technique or stressor itself if you are doing #1 or #2 on this list.
5. Lack of Sleep/Rest
Repair, growth, and "fat loss" occur at rest. This is critical if you want to have your menu changes and physical workouts to pay off. #4 can cause #5 to occur. The body is being done a disservice when one or both are occurring.
Answer: (4 & 5) - Develop stress management techniques in order to be able to sleep properly at night. To further assist, consider no stimulates in the late afternoon and "disconnect" yourself from electronics an hour before bed.
There are the top 5 mistakes with recommendations in how to avoid them. I hope you have found this helpful. If you are looking to find more information on these topics, feel free to subscribe to newsletter and blog. See you here next time.