You’d taken good resolutions in January : “this year, I’m getting fit”. So you’ve stood firm and you’ve worked out diligently ever since. But your performance isn’t improving, your weight is stagnating and your goals seem far away. You’re starting to get discouraged. What if the problem came from a common mistake you’re making without even knowing it ? Let’s discover together five bad fitness habits to avoid.
1 . You’re only doing cardio (or you’re doing too much of it).
A bit of cardio is good. However, too much cardio is bad. The difficulty is finding the right balance.
To make it short, there are two main types of exercises : cardiovascular exercises, which involve the heart and endurance, and muscle building exercises, which allow the muscles to develop. Cardio exercises burn fat and activate the metabolism, while strength training exercises help to tone the body and firm up the skin.
If you get exhausted on your elliptical every day without seeing any real results, try lowering your cardio training to two sessions a week. In addition, start muscle building exercises three to four times a week. No need to go to the gym or to lift heavy weights : the body weight or light dumbbells are enough to get nice results ! And I promise you, building muscles won’t make you swell and won’t give you a masculine musculature. Besides, fun fact : the more muscular you become, the more efficient your basic metabolism will become… and the more you will burn calories without even doing anything. It’s a virtuous circle !
To optimize your cardio sessions, let’s move on to the next point…
2. Intervals ? What ?
If I told you that you can reduce your loooong and boring cardio session by half, while getting better results, would you believe me ? Welcome to the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) world. The principle is simple : alternating intense training episodes with recovery intervals. For example, thirty seconds of sprint at full speed, then thirty seconds of slow running. Repeat this eight times, take a minute and a half of break and start again.
The intense effort required during a HIIT session will tap into the stored fat very effectively, and the metabolism, facing this energy demand, will continue to burn calories several hours later. Twenty to thirty minutes of HIIT training will therefore be more effective than one hour of training at an average pace.
If you want to find out more, or if you’re looking for HIIT training ideas for running, biking or elliptical, I invite you to check out this post about HIIT that I wrote more than two years ago.
3. You’re working out, so you’re eating for two.
Some people workout so that they can eat without paying the consequences, and that’s fine. But if your goal is different and if you’re looking to lose weight or sculpt your body, monitoring your diet will be necessary. Even if you exercise daily.
I’m not talking about diet or deprivation – I hate these words. I’m talking about a healthy, balanced nutrition, in reasonable quantities. Plenty of fruits and vegetables to get all the vitamins and minerals you need, animal or vegetable sources of proteins to build your muscles, carbohydrates – but not too much ! – to fill up with energy. A little fat or sugar from time to time, because it’s important to have fun. And plenty of water, all day long !
4. On the contrary, you’re not eating enough…
A very restrictive diet is incompatible with a sustained and regular fitness activity. Most of all, it would considerably slow down your metabolism. Your body is likely to be deficient and it will need to draw its energy from your muscles. As a result, they will never develop and they won’t be able to support you during intense trainings. To make things worse, everytime you will indulge with food, your body will have the reflex to store fat in the fear of missing at the next deprivation. In conclusion, excesses are never good. Eating too little won’t serve your fitness goals, and may instead slow you down.
5. Your workout routine hasn’t changed since 1996.
After a while, the body gets accustomed to your workout routine. If you’ve been practicing the same exercises for months, you will end up no longer seeing beneficial results on your figure. Surpass yourself by trying exercises that seem difficult to you, try new moves or a new activity… If you lack inspiration, you will surely find your happiness among these five YouTube channels to workout from home.
I hope this post will help you identify the mistakes you may be making. Thus, you can improve your fitness program in order to achieve your goals. Do you know about other bad fitness habits to avoid ? Do you have any tips to make progress in fitness ? I would love to read them in the comment section below !