Five Fitness Pitfalls to Avoid

When you’re not seeing the results you want, take a hard look at your fitness habits.

Amanda_RichardsIt’s easy to fall into bad habits and everybody has their own way of doing things, but sometimes we need to take a step back and reassess. Here are five pitfalls to avoid and help you stay on track:

Not setting goals

If you start working out with no goal in mind, then there’s no way of measuring your progress and success. Without goals, it’s hard to stay motivated and it’s even harder to know when to switch things up and change your routine. There’s a simple formula called the SMART principle that will help you set goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.

  • Specific – keep your goals specific. For example, you want a bigger chest.
  • Measurable – you want to add two inches to your chest.
  • Attainable – plan out what you need to do in order to achieve that goal. What kinds of exercises do you need to do, how often and how will diet and nutrition help you reach this goal?
  • Realistic – be realistic in setting your goals. What can you commit to with regards to time and ability.
  • Timely – set a deadline to work towards to achieve your goal. For example, I want to add two inches to my chest in three months.

Skipping meals

One of the biggest mistakes people make, whether they’re bodybuilding or dieting, is skipping meals. Two things you need to know is that starving your body will slow down your metabolism, so you will actually start to store fat and lose muscle. The other important thing to know is that you can consume more to burn more by using your body’s own metabolism.

By eating five to six smaller meals a day that include proteins and other foods with a high thermic effect like ginger or black pepper, you can increase the fat-burning effect in your body and stimulate your metabolism to burn more calories. This is where protein supplementing comes into play. One protein shake before and after your workout can count as one of those five or six meals and give you the energy and recovery your body and muscles need to build and repair.

Now, we all experience those days when we are just too busy to stop and eat. If this is the case, then take some quick-and-easy, high energy snacks with you, so you’re never without nourishment. Protein bars are ideal for this, as they are an easy way to get essential protein, energy and vitamins and minerals in one convenient bar.

Sticking to a program that’s not working

Finding the right kind of exercise is a matter of trial and error and means experimenting with different kinds of programs. If it doesn’t feel right, then stop and try something new. Every body is different. What worked for your best friend may not be right for you.

Sticking to the same routine

The dreaded plateau can easily be avoided by keeping things fresh. Depending on your goals, changing you program every six to eight weeks is not unheard of and will help keep your muscles guessing so they perform better. Another trick is to push yourself. If your workout is too easy and you don’t even break out in a sweat, then it’s time to change things up. Interval training is a great way to keep those muscles thinking and responding the way they should.

Adopting bad habits

It’s important to know the proper technique of doing any exercise to get the maximum benefit. Adopting poor habits and bad techniques can lead to injury and will not help you reach your goals, no matter how high the weight. Get your gym supervisor or personal trainer to show you how.


How to Exercise with Moderate Intensity

Science is pointing more and more to fitness as being the cure-all for many age-related and weight-related diseases.

How to exercise with moderate intensityFrom Alzheimer’s to diabetes, just 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise will increase your quality of life and your chances of living a longer and healthy life.

But what does it mean by moderate intensity?

According to researchers out of the San Diego State University, moderate-intensity exercise as far as walking goes translates into 100 steps per minute.

The researchers discovered this magic number by testing about 100 men and women on a treadmill at different intensities. The test subjects were equipped with pedometers to measure how many steps it takes to achieve the ideal state of moderate intensity.

This study was published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

To ensure that you meet this 100-step requirement, you’re going to have to invest in a pedometer, which could add to the motivation level of your workout. It’s not an expensive piece of equipment and there are many to choose from, with different features. But if budget is a problem, you can find these devices for as little as $5.

Before you start counting your steps, make sure you warm up for at least five minutes with some light walking. Make a note of your number of steps during your warm-up, so you have something to compare. Next, walk for a full minute at what you gauge to be a moderate intensity or an intensity you’re used to. Again, write down this number, making a note whether you need to pick up the pace or reduce it.

Then walk for another five minutes and divide that number by five to get an accurate reading of the number of steps per minute and your intensity.

You can also use a heart monitor to track your heart rate during aerobic activity to make sure you’re working out at the right pace. To calculate your target heart rate, take 220 minus your age and calculate 50% to 85% of this maximum number. That will give you a target range where your heart rate should be during exercise.

There is also the talk test. While you’re exercising, you should be able to carry on a normal conversation without struggling for breath; however, if you tried to sing, you would find it difficult.

Before engaging in any kind of exercise program, make sure you consult with your family physician first.

To increase your fitness level, make sure you’re following a healthy nutrition program. By increasing your protein intake, you help you body recover from exercise and the faster you recover, the more energy you have to work out the next day.

How to Look Cool in the Gym

One of the most intimidating things about joining a gym is fitting in. Knowing what to wear will certainly help remove some of those first-day jitters.

How to Look Cool in the GymKnowing how to look good when you’re all covered in sweat and out of breath is an art form. Some people wear the same ratty old pair of sweats time and time again and don’t give much thought to style, but buying new workout gear can be very motivational and add to your excitement of getting in shape.

The first place you need to start is the shoe store. Don’t skimp in this area. A good pair of shoes will last you a while and will save you from many injuries. Look out for things like cantilevered treads, arch support, reinforcement in the heel and ball area and ventilation.

Once you’ve invested in a good pair of shoes, you can then use them to determine the color scheme of your workout clothes. Pick out the colors in your shoes and match them and contrast them with your workout gear to pull together a fair selection of workout clothes that you can mix and match.

When it comes to workout clothes and what to buy, think of it in terms of layers. There’s your trip to the gym layer, your warm-up and cool down layer and your sweaty, this-is-when-it-counts layer. Look for clothes that complement your figure but don’t cling too tightly. Unsightly bulges are unflattering, but also, restrictive clothing is harder to maneuver in and doesn’t breathe as easily.

Work with the contours of your body when choosing your layers. Determine whether a halter top works better with your figure and make sure there’s lots of support. A long, straight-leg workout pant is always flattering on most everybody and is great for warming-up and traveling to and from the gym.

If color is not your thing and you prefer all black, use you shoes to set off your wardrobe and choose accessories with a bit of color like your bag, heart monitor/stop watch and socks.

Guys tend to play it safe with dark colors, which is fine for your foundation pieces like pants and jackets, but try adding some color to your T-shirts. Think twice about sporting that muscle T. Sleeveless tops don’t absorb the sweat as well as regular T-shirts and after about half an in the gym, you’ll be leaving puddles wherever you go. Another thing to watch is cologne. Antiperspirant deodorant is fine, but when it comes to aftershave or perfume in the gym, remember that when you sweat you will intensify the scent of your cologne and this will not do you any favors.

A basic wardrobe should consist of:

  • Shoes
  • A selection of 3 tops, including one T-shirt
  • Jacket
  • Long workout pants
  • Short workout pants or shorts
  • Shoes
  • Gym Bag
  • Water bottle
  • Towel

Don’t sweat it when choosing your workout gear, save that for the gym when it really counts.

Originally published @ FITLODE.COM