8 Keys To A Successful Fitness Plan

I have said many times that there are no “secrets” to weight loss. There is no magic pill that will make the fat disappear and you certainly won’t wake up one day and all of sudden be in great shape. It takes hard working and more importantly, knowing what the crap you’re doing. A lot of people waste a lot of time and money on exercises and food products that do more harm than good. We all live and learn but why not learn and then live….

Below are 8 mistakes or “keys” to watch out for when dieting or trying to get in shape. Now these are just my observations and things I’ve learned from people who know a lot more about fitness than I do. If you disagree….prove me wrong :)

1. Don’t rely on “healthy” foods that really aren’t

“Fat-free foods. These sound ideal, but according to Dr. Oz, they’re major diet traps. “Reducing the amount of unhealthy saturated and trans fats is a diet must,” said Dr. Oz. “But when foods that are supposed to have fat in them are made fat free, like cookies or ice cream, they’re also taste free. To make up for the lack of flavor, manufacturers add things like sugar, salt and starch, which are terrible for your diet.” [1]

Also try and stay away from juices that are pure sugar and frozen pre-made meals which contain preservatives and salt. Just cause something is in the health isle doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

2. Chugging a Gatorade while reading a book on the Exercise Bike defeats the point:

Gatorade is a great product. I drink one after each workout to replenish what nutrients my body lost. But the point of exercising is to force your body to attack stored fat cells (at least if you want to lose weight) Drinking a Gatorade (which is high in sugar) defeats the point. Instead of attacking those stored cells, your body will burn what energy you just gave it. If you aren’t trying to lose weight then go nuts but for those looking to shed pounds, STAY AWAY! Just drink water…..simple huh?

Also, reading while exercising isn’t the best choice. You tend to focus more on reading than pushing yourself. Why waste your time? Put the book down, focus and kick some butt!

3. Thinking that the Inner Thigh (Adductor) Machine is going to work some sort of magic.

This is more about doing pointless exercises that will do little in the long run. This “inner thigh” machine is only going to benefit those who already have fit legs. The only way to lose that fat in your legs is by weight loss. There is no such thing as “spot cutting”. You can’t work out one particular muscle and expect it to get cut but just exercising. No machine or exercise will make you lose weight. It’s diet COMBINED with exercise which brings about change.

4. You don’t read the Nutrition info on food

BIG MISTAKE. How do you know if something is good for you if you don’t read the nutrition label? Like I said before, just because it says “low-fat” means nothing. What if it was low in fat but terribly high in sodium? That extra sodium is going to make you retain water. If it says high in fiber, check the total amount of Carbs. If the amount of total carbs is 30% higher than the amount of fiber…put it back. Check the ingredients as well. If you are buying chocolate and the first ingredient isn’t chocolate…put it back. Yogurt is the biggest problem I see. The cheaper “low fat” options are typically high in sugar (carbs). Go the Greek yogurt route which is higher in protein and honestly tastes better.

5. Believing that you can Out-Train a Bad Diet

#1 mistake by most people. You can burn 1000 calories in the gym but if your diet is crap, you won’t see change. Your body is a living, breathing machine and if you don’t feed it properly, it will shut down. Muscles need protein to grow. Too many carbs will be counterproductive for losing weight. Too much sodium will cause you to retain water. Too much fat in your diet will also keep your body from burning the stored fat you so desperately want to get rid of. Eat right and work out hard…it’s a very simple formula that will work no matter what.

6. You’re sedentary

This isn’t really a mistake, it may just be your life. If you are like me, you spend 8-9 hours a day behind a desk…sitting….all day…looking at a computer. If your job makes you sedentary, don’t continue this once you get home. The only way for you to lose weight is through diet AND exercise. You gotta burn it to lose it. Sleeping all night, working 8 hours in front of a computer, and then spending the rest of the night watching TV won’t make the scale change.

7. Dinner is your biggest meal.

This has been my biggest problem and I’d bet you struggle with it as well. I know a lot of people who don’t eat breakfast, eat a small lunch and then a HUGE dinner and wonder why they aren’t losing weight. Well friend, it’s simple physics or genetics or science. Your body begins to shut down as the day goes on and by feeding it a huge meal to end the day, it will store that extra fat, carbs or whatever you gave instead of burning it. Your largest meal should be lunch or right after your work out. If you  work out at night, then by all means indulge, just make sure you are eating something easily digestible i.e. pure protein, low carb, veggies. Try and schedule your eating and exercises just right so your body can do what it does best.

8. You have unreal expectations (raises his hand and acknowledges he struggles with this every day)

Every day I jump on the scale to see if I lost weight (sometimes 2-3 times a day). I know this is wrong. I know but I can’t stop. I expect to lose 4 lbs a week when 2 is considered “healthy”. I get mad when I can’t lift more this week than I could last week, or can’t run further….I’m an idiot and all i can do is urge you to not follow in my footsteps. Set realistic goals for yourself and try to reach them every week. If you fail, brush yourself off and go forth with a full head of steam. Don’t get bogged down with the enormity of your “situation” but think about how great you will feel when it’s all over. No matter if you need to lose 20, 50, 100 pounds or even if you need to gain weight (yes, I can’t stand you people) the process and it’s frustrations are the same. Live in the moment and your success’s will come faster than you ever thought.

[1] http://www.thatsfit.com/2011/01/28/the-sneaky-reasons-youre-not-losing-weight/

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margarine

[3] http://www.healthhabits.ca/2009/08/04/13-training-mistakes-you-need-to-avoid/

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3 thoughts on “8 Keys To A Successful Fitness Plan

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