Training

5 Things That Almost Sabotaged My Fitness

Don't let these common mistake keep you from your fitness goals.

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*Courtesy of The Fitnessista 

Some things stood in my way when I was first getting started on a healthy lifestyle. There is a lot of information out there. I was intimated, confused, and at first, enlisted the wrong type of help to assist me with my goals. I thought I’d share some of my mistakes I made in the early days.

1) Not strength training. At first, I avoided strength training like the plague. I totally let myself believe that strength training makes you bulky, and as someone who was trying to get to a healthy weight, I did NOT want to become bulky. It is NOT TRUE. I didn’t lean out until I started strength training on a regular basis. Not only does it help to build lean, strong muscles, but it also increases your calorie-burning potential and protects your bones over time. There are so many reasons to add strength training to your routine, and it’s one of the few things everyone should do.

2) Having an uneducated “personal trainer.” After I started off on my fitness goals and was consistently walking each day, I let myself become prey to the gym sharks at the personal training desk. (Please keep in mind that this was a big box gym, where any high school kid could be a “personal trainer.”) I was intrigued by the promise of increasing my metabolism, so I signed up, along with a friend, right on the spot. It was such a mistake. Our “trainer” put us on an extremely low-calorie eating plan  but would tell us to eat a bagel after each workout. Certified personal trainers can give you ideas of what to eat, or portion ideas, but they cannot give you a specific plan without additional certifications or expertise. He gave us a really strange example of a fitness routine, and it eventually sucked me into the “more is more” mentality that would lead to the next point…

Related: What Happens When You Break Every Running Rule

3) Overtraining. I started to believe that the more I did, the better it was. Little did I know, I was eating away the precious muscle I had worked so hard to build. I took a LOT of fitness classes and by doing so much, I was actually hindering my results. I started to get some serious overtraining symptoms and knew I had to scale back. It wasn’t until I decreased my workouts but kept the intensity that I finally saw the results I had been looking for.

4) Not fueling myself properly for my workouts. This is something that took me a long time to learn, and is still constantly evolving. I would work out on an empty stomach, or fail to replenish afterwards. As a result I found myself getting injured, tired, or hitting the wall way before I should have. I think my exact methods will continue to change as my workouts (and modes of exercise) change, but at least I know now that I need to have a small bite before a workout and a meal afterwards with lots of water.

Related: Get More Out Of Your Core Workout

5) Trying to fit myself into a mold. As someone who likes to do a lot of different things, I found myself wanting to fit into a specific mold or label. I felt like I couldn’t be a spinning weightlifting barre-ing Zumba-ing yogi. I needed to be a runner. Or a lifter. Or a dancer. I felt all over the place, and if I wasn’t focusing on one thing, I kind of felt like I was failing at it. Looking back now, it is so silly. Now I embrace the fact that variety is the spice of my fitness life. Sometimes I run more often that usual, others I’m all about dance, or super into yoga; it changes based on how I feel. When you lead an active life that leaves you healthy and feeling energized, labels don’t matter.