7 Mistakes People Make When They're Trying to Transform
We all wish there were a quick fix to losing weight. Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet to make the number on your scale match your target weight. And according to the experts, in the pursuit of finding a fast fix, a lot of us are using weight-loss strategies that either don’t work or might even be backfiring.
Are you doing it wrong? Here are nine of the worst strategies you can employ for losing weight — and tips on what you should be doing instead.
1. Working out more but eating less.
This is one of the worst mistakes that certified strength and conditioning specialist Noam Tamir sees with his clients. “These two things don’t go together,” he says. When you amp up your workout regimen, your body will naturally crave more food to fuel it through the intensified training. So when you try to cut calories at the same time, you could end up depriving your body and risk triggering a bout of binge eating.
2. Obsessively cutting calories.
Even if you’re not upping your workout routine, restricting your diet too much can backfire, says Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD. “While it sounds counterintuitive, eating too few calories can hinder your weight-loss efforts as your body ends up holding on to more calories because it isn’t getting enough fuel,” she says. “Calorie restriction can lead to metabolic damage and will make it harder for you to lose weight.”
3. Obsessively working out.
Overdoing it at the gym can also have a reverse effect, even when you’re getting enough fuel from your diet. “When you work out too much, you end up burning muscle in addition to fat,” says Tamir, founder of New York’s T.S. Fitness. “You increase stress hormones in the body, which makes it harder to lose fat. You also put a lot of stress on your joints, which can lead to injuries that cause you to move less and therefore gain weight.” Committing to time in the gym is a key part of losing weight, but only when you give your body the time it needs to recover between sweat sessions.
4. Skipping big meals for a snacking strategy.
Rethinking our eating strategy is a crucial component of weight loss. But avoiding a full plate like the plague is not the answer. “We know that people should be eating a mix of meals and snacks, but people take it to an extreme where they’re snacking all day, and that can backfire,” says Kate Geagan, RD. “It can also blunt your sense of hunger and satiety. When you eat a lot of small meals, you lose your sense of whether or not you’re actually hungry.” If you are opting to forgo three big meals a day for mini meals, make sure you’re paying attention to the overall calories and nutrients you’re consuming in a day — all those snacks add up fast.
5. Skipping breakfast.
Your mom wasn’t joking when she said breakfast was the most important meal of the day: Forgoing it means your body kicks into starvation mode, where it stores food rather than using it for fuel. “I see clients trying not to eat in the morning because they think they can cut calories that way,” says Tamir. “Then they end up eating a lot at dinner when they are most sedentary and tend to overeat.” And that’s a double whammy for your waistline.
6. Doing a cleanse or detox diet.
Despite all the hype, cleanses can be dangerous. “Souping and juicing can be great, but you might still be consuming a lot of calories,” says Geagan, the author of Go Green Get Lean. Juices packed with “superfoods” are often high in calories, and sometimes people mistake juices intended to be meal replacements as alternatives to diet soda or other beverages. Similarly, doing a juice cleanse for a few days is not really teaching you new eating habits. “Consistency in finding an eating plan and sticking to it is a much more effective weight-loss strategy than this ‘detox-retox’ strategy,” says Geagan. “You need to be able to stick with it for the long haul.”
7. Doing too much cardio.
According to Tamir, when people only do cardio to lose weight, they often end up “skinny fat.” Avoiding strength training when you go to the gym in order to increase your calorie burn will help you drop those pounds, but the catch is it won’t change your body composition. Doing too much cardio can even even end up burning muscle and upping your body fat percentage. “Our bodies get used to workouts pretty quickly,” adds Rumsey, who’s also a certified strength and conditioning specialist. “It’s better to have a shorter, more intense workout that keeps your body guessing. High-intensity interval traininghas been shown to burn more calories in less time, and the after-burn post-workout can last up to 24 hours.”
The Top 7 Biggest Workout Myths
For every two fitness truths, there’s a lie, and sometimes it’s hard to determine which is which. (Especially when it’s something many of us have just assumed for as long as we can remember.) So, now presenting: Mythbusters, Fitness Edition. Letting go of these 12 fitness misconceptions will help you get better, faster, stronger, and more powerful. Flex on friend, flex on.
Myth #1: Strength training will make you bulk up.
Truth: It’s pretty hard for women to bulk up from a normal strength-training routine because they don’t have as much testosterone as men (the difference in this hormone level makes men more prone to bulking up). In fact, if weight loss is your goal, strength training can actually help you lean out, but you have to keep your nutrition in check, too. “Muscle is metabolically active,” explains Adam Rosante, C.S.C.S., author of The 30-Second Body. Simply maintaining lean muscle mass requires higher energy, he explains. “So, the more lean muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn at rest.” #Science.
Myth #2: You can focus on losing fat from certain body parts.
Truth: Spot-training is not a thing. “Fat cells are distributed across your entire body,” says Rosante. “If you want to lose fat from a specific spot, you need to lose overall body fat.” High-intensity interval training can work wonders—after an intense workout, your body needs to take in oxygen at a higher rate to help it return to its natural resting state. This process requires the body to work harder, burning more calories in the process. Incorporating strength training can help you hit your goals too, since having more lean muscle will help your body burn more calories at rest. (Psst—here are 10 workouts that are insanely effective for weight loss.)
Myth #3: Doing lots of cardio is the best way to lose weight.
Truth: If your goal is weight loss, logging endless miles on the treadmill isn’t always the best approach. Yes, traditional cardio workouts will help create a day-to-day calorie deficit (in addition to a healthy diet), which is essential for losing weight. But in the long-term, since having more lean muscle mass helps your body burn more calories at rest, you’ll be adding to this deficit without doing a thing. A combination of both high-intensity cardio and strength training is a good idea. And don’t forget, when it comes to weight loss, having a smart nutrition plan is key.
Myth #4: Not feeling sore means you didn’t get a good workout.
Truth: While soreness and workout intensity are sometimes connected, how tired your muscles feel isn’t always a good indicator of a solid sweat session. “Being sore doesn’t necessarily mean it was a great workout—it just means that a significant amount of stress was applied to the tissue,” says exercise physiologist and trainer Pete McCall, M.S., C.S.C.S., host of the All About Fitness podcast. “You can have a great workout and not be sore the next day,” he says. Proper recovery will help prevent achy muscles. “Refuelwithin the first 30 to 45 minutes post-exercise, stay hydrated, and get enough sleep—all of these things can help boost recovery and minimize soreness.”
Myth #5: Strength training means using machines and heavy weights.
Truth: Strength training means using resistance to work your muscles—and that resistance doesn’t necessarily have to come from a machine or a heavy weight. (Hello, killer bodyweight exercises!) Aside from your own bodyweight, you can also use tools like kettlebells, medicine balls, and resistance bands to add resistance. None of that around? Here are 13 incredible bodyweight moves you can do at home.
Myth #6: Crunches are a great exercise for your abs.
Truth: Meh. Crunches probably aren’t going to hurt your core strength, but they’re not the most efficient exercise you can do to strengthen your midsection. “Your ab muscles are designed to work most effectively when you’re standing upright,” says McCall. Of course, there are plenty of great abs exercises that aren’t completely upright (for example, this perfect plank), but these four standing abs moves will set your whole core on fire.
Myth #7: You have to do at least 20 minutes of cardio to make it worth your while.
Truth: You can get an amazing cardio workout in less time by utilizing high-intensity interval training. “High-intensity cardio challenges the respiratory system to work efficiently to deliver oxygen to working muscles,” says McCall. “If the system is stressed hard enough, it doesn’t require a lengthy workout for results.” Plus, high-intensity training creates an afterburn effect, meaning you continue burning calories after you’re done. One approach is Tabata, or 20 seconds of hard work, 10 seconds of rest for eight rounds total, which adds up to a four-minute routine. Here’s what you need to know about Tabata.
The Journey/Fit After 40.
From the minute we are born our earthly journey begins. It's at that point that everyone's personal journey shapes them as a person. Your journey will shape who you are for life.
There are many aspects of our personal journeys that we can't control. What race you are? What religion you're born into (if any at all) who your parents are/were & the situation you were born into. As you grow older you learn how to control more & more aspects of your journey. Then one day you become an adult. It's at that moment you become in control of your own journey. To control your journey you must first control your mind & emotions.
Life has its way of throwing us several curve balls, but if we're attentive we can learn how to handle every curve thrown and still focus on what we feel is most important in our lives.
It's my belief that, outside of God himself, we as individuals should be most important in our own individual lives. We should focus on improving our own spiritual, mental, emotional & physical health. It is then, & only then, that we can afford to REALLY help others...including our families.
As a Fitness Lifestyle Coach I obviously would never claim to be clergy, nor a psychiatrist, but my 16 years in the fitness business has equipped me with a knowledge base & skill set that qualifies me to assist you in your mental/physical journey. In the world of fitness/health the 2 are directly linked.
In this journey called life, at some point, we will all need guidance. We will all need assistance. We will all need the coaching it will take to, not only last on this journey, but ensure this journey called life is packed with quality. Not just quantity.
Allow me to help you on your journey.
The 20 Commandments for Transforming Your Body
1. Make sure your mindset is right! You can't change anything for the good unless your mind is prepared to do so.
2. Take a current before picture.
3. Get a physical, or clearance from your doctor before beginning.
4. Cleanse your system in the beginning of a transformation, & approximately every quarter there after.
5. Take a multivitamin from an all natural health food store. The more natural, with less fillers & additives, the better.
6. Go to the grocery store to buy all good things for your meal preparation from your food list. Get rid of all the junk in your house not on your food list.
7. Learn how to prepare your meals for the next day. "If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail".
8. Download the My Fitness Pal app, & learn your way around it. The sooner you can start logging your meals into My Fitness Pal the day before, the more successful you'll be.
9. Eat 5-6 small meals per day comprised of the foods from the food list.
10. Eat for what you're going to do, never for what you've already done. When you plan your meals for the day forecast what you'll be doing 2 to 3 hours from the time you eat. That's how you'll determine what & how much you eat. Eat meals higher in carbs for breakfast & pre-workout meals. Lower in carbs every other meal.
11. Drink plenty of water! 8 oz for every hour you're awake.
12. Buy, or download a Fitbit device or app to help monitor your calorie expenditure. You can buy a similar device if you'd like.
13. Stay active throughout the day. Keep moving all day. Your body was meant to be physical.
14. Don't eat within 3 hours of going to bed. If you do something physical to burn it off before bed...like walking.
15. Do resistance training 3 to 4 days per week.
16. Do fat burning cardio 6-7 days per week.
17. Make sure you cheat once per week.
18. When you've really been good on your meal plan, & you hit a plateau, it's time to have a cheat day. Maybe even an entire weekend. You must "reset" your system periodically.
19. If you happen to slip up on your diet, punish yourself. For example, if you drink a lot of alcohol tonight get up first thing in the morning before you do anything else & sweat it out.
20. Listen, & learn your body.
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