Habits That Sabotage Your Fitness Training
There are many factors influencing the success rate of fitness training programmes: the commitment to follow through with it, a healthy diet and lifestyle, and your own body type (there is a different set of exercises recommended for each body type). However, despite these factors being successfully met, there is no visible progress even after weeks of training.
The main reason for this lack of progress is, as improbable as it seems, the fact that you are sabotaging your own training. Yes, it is true, there are certain habits which you do routinely and which prevent you from losing weight, building muscles or gaining more endurance. They are common, everyday habits, which you would never consider telling your trainer because they seem absolutely irrelevant to your fitness routine.
However, they are your silent enemies – lurking in the dark and undoing everything which you are trying to achieve in the gym. Let us take a look at these habits which stand between you and your fitness goals.
1. Not Sleeping Enough
Sleep is essential to your health and well being. It helps the brain unwind after a hard day’s work, rests your muscles, digestive system, and allows your heart and lungs to work less than during the day. All in all, sleep is essential for a healthy, long life. Not sleeping enough, or suffering from disturbances during sleep (waking up frequently), are serious issues which you should solve.
They may seem unimportant to you, but these issues affect your health, quality of life and even your fitness training. If you don’t get enough sleep, you feel tired, unable to focus and lacking energy, so you will not be able to perform every routine and exercise correctly and with the recommended intensity and duration. Thus, although you go to the gym, you do not burn sufficient calories and build sufficient strength to make any progress.
2. Cheating on Your Exercises
It won’t make any difference if I bend my knees a little while doing this exercise, right? I can lean against the handles of the elliptical bike just for a while, can’t I? Of course you can, but you are cheating and are not actually exercising your muscles properly. It is one of the key reasons for not making progress: you keep on cheating “just until I get stronger and build endurance to do it correctly”, but you never gain that endurance.
You have to step out of your comfort zone and sweat out at the gym doing the exercises accurately. Otherwise, you will keep finding excuses for being stuck at the same unsatisfactory level.
3. That Late Movie Snack
All right, you had a busy day at work, went to the gym and worked out really hard and now it’s time to relax and unwind at home. You put your favourite movie on the home cinema system, grab a beer and some popcorn… Stop! The can of beer and the bowl of popcorn are adding up to your calorie intake. Surely, you know that you must count everything you eat and drink. Late night movie snacks count, too, even more than the morning bagel you had en route to the office.
Do not feel ashamed, you are just one of many, many people who do not know how treacherous quick snacks are. You consume them almost without being aware of it, as part of a ritual (watching the game or a movie, going out with friends) and you don’t realise that they cancel the progress you made in the gym earlier today, burning calories on the treadmill.
4. The Long Break between Routines
Taking 2-3 minutes to cool down after an exercise before you start another is great, even recommended by trainers. Spending close to a quarter of an hour checking your mobile phone or chatting with other gym goers is not good at all. The longer you take between reps, the less motivated you will be to do the next one correctly. Your muscles will start relaxing too much, you will lose momentum and focus, and basically go into cheating mode (see point 2 above).
5. Getting Energy from the Wrong Source
Energy drinks will not exactly restore your energy and give you the boost you need to continue your fitness routine. Instead, they will give you an extra intake of calories. To be honest, the name of these drinks is rather deceiving: their main purpose is to keep people awake through a high level of caffeine and taurine. They are also rich in sugar. If you want to drink something other than plain water (although this is just enough for you), go for sports drinks. These are rich in minerals which you lose through sweating and have a low calorie count.
As you can see, all these habits seem almost harmless at first sight, or a part of our modern and stressful lifestyle. However, they are bad, not just for your fitness training, but for your overall health. Try to give them up as soon as possible and you will start seeing progress in your level of fitness.