5 Things You May Be Ignoring on Your Fitness Journey
March 15, 2016 | Amy Cattaneo
I bet based on the title of this article, you are thinking I'm going to talk about avoiding sugars and processed foods. You think I'm going to say you are not drinking enough water and not eating enough whole foods. But let's be honest... for the most part, we know what to eat and what not to eat. What we may not realize is that we could be doing other things that are getting in the way of our goals and the worst part is you don't even know it! So let's get down to it!
1. Reading fitness magazines. Yup that's right. You would think reading anything you can get your hands on about fitness would be a great idea but most of the time, the articles and photos are misleading and unrealistic. I'm sure we all know that ALL the photos on the covers of magazines are photoshopped. Not only is this a shame because the women don't NEED to be photoshopped but it also gives unrealistic expectations. On top of that, most of the advice in the articles is completely unattainable in the time proposed. As I'm writing this article, I googled "fitness magazine" and looked at some of the headlines. Here's a sampling: "48 Hours to A Slim Happy You!", "Amazing Abs in Just 28 Days" , "Shed Two Sizes! Your 4 Week Breakthrough Workout Plan", "Flat Abs and & Lean Legs: 8 Easy Moves".
You see these headlines in the checkout line and you are thinking, "That sounds great! Sign me up!!!" You buy the magazine and eagerly flip to the article before you even reach the car. As you are reading, you find out that the plan, diet, advice etc. is not even close to what you are doing. It says to do a 10 minute workout 3 days a week with super light weights or sometimes even no weight. And what happens? You are disappointed. You have been busting your butt 4 days a week for 45 minutes for a month, have eaten more veggies in the last 30 days than you had all year and you ONLY lost 6 pounds and yup you just checked....no abs. What is this nonsense?!?! It's because it's so easy to forget the goal of the magazines is to sell magazines. They don't care about actually giving you great advice. They don't care that it takes most people months to see ab definition. Don't believe me? Each month, check out the headlines and articles of the SAME magazine. I guarantee you, the advice given changes based on the fad at the moment.
2. Thinking the little things don't add up. What's one small salad a day going to do? Taking one vitamin each day won't make much of a difference will it? I don't have time to do a 45 minute workout so I might as well not workout, right? This is where so many of us miss the mark. EVERY little thing counts. Take the one small salad a day. Let's say the salad is about 1 serving of veggies. That's an extra 7 servings a week and a total of 365 servings of veggies a year! This doesn't even take into account what you may NOT have eaten as a result of starting your meal with a salad.
The workouts work the same way. Your normal routine is to work out 4 days a week for 45 minutes each. That's 3 hours a week. You end up missing two days because you can't make it to the gym. Now you are down to 1.5 hours a week because if you can't do a full workout, what's the point?! It would actually be better to do a quick workout that day for how ever long you can allocate then to skip a day. It will keep you in the mindset of working out on a regular basis as well as add to your total workout time for the week. As Darren Hardy, author of the phenomenal book, The Compound Effect explains, "Success is NOT doing 5,000 things really well, success is doing half a dozen things really well 5,000 times."
3. Not finding a happy medium. This one goes hand in hand with #2. So many of us have this all or nothing mentality. We are either going to workout 6 days a week for an hour and eat only whole foods or we are going to not workout out at all and eat out all the time. We have one bad meal in the beginning of the week and forget it...that week is done. We will start again fresh next week. "Bring me all the donuts!! My diet starts Monday!" We can't start a workout plan or an eating plan until life is perfect. So we have to wait until we are no longer traveling, we don't have any major events/parties/holidays coming up, the kids don't have any events or projects due, work is perfect, and the household is in flawless order.
I have a secret though....that ain't ever going to happen. No matter how long we wait for this picture perfect scenario to occur so that we can FINALLY add the things we want to do in, there will ALWAYS be something in the way. The key is work around it. It doesn't have to be exact. It doesn't have to be this pretty plan that looks the same every week and you never deviate from it. Some weeks you may work out for 5 times a week and eat healthy meals 80% of the time and other weeks you may only workout 3 times a week and eat healthy meals 60% of the time. It's ok not be 100%. The trouble comes when we go to 0% because we think anything else is pointless. Find a happy medium. Start with whatever percent you can and work your way up. And take comfort in the fact that you may never reach 100% and that's ok!!
4. Not maximizing your workouts. So you got the workout part down! You are working out several times a week and life is good. But are you truly getting the most out of the workouts? If you aren't doing correct form and utilizing proper breathing techniques in each of your workouts, you may be missing out. If you have no idea what I am talking about or don't believe me, let's do a test. I want you to do 10 sit ups as fast as you can. Awesome. I did it! Easy! Next exercise please! Now, do 10 sit ups again but this time, inhale as you go up and take 5 seconds to slowly reach the floor again, as you exhale. Feel the difference?
Imagine if you did every single exercise with complete focus and precision? You would get stronger, faster, and see quicker results. That quick 15 minute workout you did because it was all the time you had that day would feel like you worked for an hour. Maximizing your workouts also means selecting the proper weight. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish in a workout, you may need to go heavier or lighter. For example, you shouldn't get to the end of a set of 15 shoulder presses and find that rep #15 was pretty easy. The weight is too light. On the other hand, if you are leaning back and using your legs on rep #2, the weight is too heavy. And if you have no idea, your trainers are there to help! Bottom line....you have to push out of your comfort zone a little when working out to maximize results.
5. Waiting for the "END". I saved the best for last. We are all waiting for the finish line. This holy grail of fitness and health where you look like a greek god and no longer have to workout or eat healthy and can go back to your regularly scheduled program.
I'm so sorry to have to break this news to you but it doesn't exist. Being healthy is something you ARE and in order to BE you have to DO. Therefore, there is no stopping. Does that mean you have to only eat broccoli and grilled chicken and never even look at cake again? Of course not (refer to #3 of this list!). But it does mean that broccoli and chicken may need to be your good, steady friends while cake is like the person you only talk to on Facebook every once a while. It's awesome to have goals such as kicking it up a notch for the next three months because you are in a beach wedding but if you want to maintain the results you achieved and possibly go further, you will have to continue to do the habits you had in those 90 days or else the results will become just a memory. I'm going to say the cliche but it's the truth: Being healthy is a lifestyle. You can't expect to only do something for a few weeks, a few months or even a few years and then that's it, your done! You have arrived. It doesn't work like that. We have to slowly but surely intertwine healthy habits into our lives and let them stay there if overall health is what we are awaiting.
So there you have it! Take a step back and really think are you doing any of these? If you find that you are, what steps do you need to take to help fix it? If you are unsure, Click here to book a strategy session if you not a current client. Current clients email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will go through your goals and figure out what we can do to help.
Amy Cattaneo - TFW - CPT L1