January is over. If your resolution was to improve your fitness and you're still at it, you should be really pleased. Most people have given up by now! To help keep you on track, or to help you get back on the path to achieving your goals, here are a few common mistakes for you to try and avoid;
1. Following Fad Diets
There are always so many new fad diets coming out. It's really easy to be taken in by the hype. Many of these diets will work to help you drop weight quickly. But, the problem comes from the fact that these diets can sometimes be dangerous for your health and even if they aren't, they could be hard to maintain in the long run.
A good diet is one that you can stick to, long term. Your best bet is to remain conscious of what you're eating, ensuring a healthy balance and avoid having too many processed, calorie-dense items.
2. Not Working Out Your Calorie Needs
No matter what your goals are, you should try to keep an eye on your calorie intake. However, you need to know what your personal calorie goal should be. It is not the same for everyone. A great way to figure out how many calories you need in a day is to use the Harris-Benedict Equation.
First, you need to calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR). You can easily find a calculator online and this will take into account your height, weight, age, and gender. The harris-benedict equation then takes your BMR and factors in your activity level. Again it's easy to find a calculator online for this.
The number you get out of the Harris-Benedict equation gives you the number of calories you would need to consume to maintain your current weight. You can adjust this number depending on what your goal is for your weight.
3. Forgetting About Nutrients
While you do need to be aware of how many calories you're eating, you also need to keep an eye on the nutrients you are eating. You want to aim for a well-balanced diet. That means you want to be eating good quality food. Try to avoid empty calories. That means food that has calories but no other nutritional value, such as sweets.
When you're embarking on improving your fitness, you need to make sure that you have everything your body needs in your diet. That means you need some fat in your diet you need some carbs you need some protein. A well-balanced diet should get about 20% of the calories from protein 30% carbs and 50% from fats. You should also be trying to ensure you consume plenty of vitamins and minerals within your diet too, so aim for lots of fruit and vegetables.
4. Avoiding Weights
Weights are a great way to lose weight and improve your general fitness. A lot of people avoid them because they are concerned about getting overly bulky. But using weights as part of your fitness routine doesn't have to make you bulk up. If you go for low weight with high repetitions, you can tone your muscles without making them overly defined.
With the higher ratio of muscle in your body, you'll actually find that you burn calories more efficiently.
Lifting weights can be a really enjoyable way to work out. You don't have to be intimidated by all the big guys in the weights area. If you want an introduction to lifting weights, there are some great classes that will teach you how to lift safely. There are even classes where you can lift weights to music, such as a kettlebells class.
5. Relying On High-Intensity Cardio
There is a common misconception that the only way to lose weight is high-intensity cardio. The idea being that if you're not sweating, you're not working hard enough. However, any form of cardio exercise is going to be useful. Walking is actually a fantastic form of exercise and is great for your overall fitness and health.
Mixing up your fitness activities and exercises are best for your physical and mental health. It helps you to engage a variety of different muscles and keeps your brain engaged. For example, if you love running, try switching it up with a few yoga classes to stretch out those muscles. The most important thing is to find something that you enjoy doing. Naturally, if you don't enjoy it you won't keep it up.
6. Comparing Yourself To Everyone Else
We are all beginning to learn the dangers of comparing our lives to others in this social media age. When you first start going to the gym, you can fall into the same trap. It can be really hard to walk into a class for the first time. You feel like you are surrounded by people who know what they're doing. It can make you feel inadequate.
What you have to remember is that you are just starting your journey. Comparing yourself to anyone else is pointless. If you want a comparison just keep track of your own progress. As long as you're improving, nothing else matters.