This is the time of year when many New Year’s resolutions get abandoned, if they haven’t been already. The time when many people, having had the best intentions to get fit, give up on this and head back to the couch.
This is all too common: people struggle for weeks, months, or even years to get fit, not seeing the results they want despite the effort they put in. Just because this is common, it doesn’t mean it has to be that way: here are the top 8 things that may be getting in the way of your fitness journey.
1. Choosing the Wrong Weight
Many people use weights at the gym or at home, doing their required reps, but find they’re not getting the results they want. This is often down to lifting the wrong weight, either too little or too much. If the weight is too light, you will not get the benefit from this exercise you’re looking for. You can be pretty sure your weight is too light if you can do 15 reps with ease – you should be struggling!
On the other hand, if the weight is too heavy you won’t be able to do the exercise through its full range of motion, and so won’t be getting the full benefit there, either. The perfect weight for you should be challenging by the time you come to finish your set of 15 reps, but allow you to complete the full range of motion.
2. Not Eating Enough
Often people start a new workout routine while trying to lose weight, and so embark on a restrictive diet at the same time. This can be detrimental to your efforts to get fit, as people skip meals and don’t have the fuel they need to work out.
Your body needs energy not only while you exercise, but also in the period after a workout in order to repair and regenerate, build muscle, and so on. This doesn’t mean loading up on fast food, however. You need to give your body the proper nutrients it needs through a healthy mix of whole grains, proteins, vegetables and healthy fats.
3. Working Out Alone
You may prefer to work out solo, but this habit could be killing your fitness routine. Working out with other people challenges you, keeps you accountable, and means you will see better results faster. When you workout by yourself it is easier to decide to skip a session, only put in half the effort, or cut it short. Having other people around is excellent for keeping you on track, not to mention motivated.
There are many ways you can make fitness a group activity. You can join a group fitness class, or a dance class. You can also set up your own fitness-based activities with friends or colleagues, such as jogging, hiking, or playing sports. Another great way to have someone keeping you accountable is by hiring a personal trainer.
We’re not talking about reps at the gym – these are fine! What can get in the way of getting fit is a repetitive routine. Doing the same exercise over and over leads to boredom, a sure-fire path to you giving up entirely.
Keep things interesting by mixing up your exercise routine. Bring in new types of exercise, or taking your workout outside!
5. Not Getting Rest
While it’s important to stick to your fitness routine and smash your goals, it is equally important not to overdo it. You can work your body too hard, not allowing your muscles the rest they need to repair, build strength, and build more muscle tissue.
Muscle building through strength training actually involves breaking your muscles. The muscles then repair themselves, building more muscle tissue at the same time. This means that you cannot work them like this every day: you need to give them rest for 24 to 48 hours between strength session in order to repair and build.
6. Not Looking After Your General Health
Equally, it is critical that you look after your overall health. You cannot expect to reach your fitness goals if your body is not in peak physical condition. This means seeing your doctor for regular checkups including testing for STIs, eating a healthy, balanced diet, and getting quality sleep.
Looking after your body means you will have the strength and energy you need to work on your fitness and achieve your goals.
7. Cutting Things Short
A balanced workout should include five elements: cardio, strength training, core work, balance, and stretching. All of these are crucial to your fitness journey so skipping any will get in the way of your success.
One mistake many people make is focusing on one or two of these elements that they like the most, and ignoring the others. Or they reach a goal in one area and then put it to one side. Your workouts should be a balance between these five elements in the long term if you want to see results.
8. Going Too Hard or Too Slow
Finally, it is important to remember to ease into anything. It is great to have goals, but you need to remember that getting there is a journey, which often means working up to things.
On the other end of the scale, it is important not to get complacent. You cannot do the same level of exercises you did at the beginning and expect to see the same results. As your body gets used to a certain exercise it is not challenging anymore, and working out means challenging yourself.