Can you believe in the New Year already? Seemed like yesterday we we're getting ready for a beach holiday!
And now the summer body panic is setting in? Yes, we know alllll about it!
There are reasons for it – booze, pizza, sofa – but there are OTHER reasons too. Ones which can be blamed on fitness. Honest to goodness…
It mainly comes down to the fact you went hell for leather during the first three weeks in January, didn’t see the results you were after and slowly but surely your drive vanished.
But it’s not too late to jump back on the hobby horse to abs. The first step is to have a look at your current gym routine (or previous gym routine if it is somewhat lacking at the moment). Second – do the same for your diet and you will see results.
In the meantime, here are 8 of the most common mistakes people make when they hit the gym, so if any of these crop up on your radar you know changes are needed…
1. Cardio, cardio, cardio, abs
Going in and pounding the treadmill three days a week and performing an intense ab session twice a week is NOT going to give you a six-pack.
There is no muscle building here, and abs are muscle after all.
By performing big movements and lifting weights, you’re performing a type of cardio which will help grow your muscles then by doing some progressive ab work you’ll see those abs.
2. HIIT is life
HIIT is awesome. It gets your heart pumping. It makes you really “feel” like you’ve worked out and it brings on a serious sweat. Not to mention the fact it’s amazing at dropping fat over time.
However, it can be extremely demanding on the body and should not be done more than 3 or 4 times per week.
Find yourself doing more than that? Mix it up with some LISS, gym classes and weight training.
3. You’re scared to squat
Big weighted exercises like the squat and deadlift – plus all their wonderful variations – are the key to honing your gym body.
Why? Simple – they’re the exercises that burn the most calories as they target most muscle groups in one go. They also engage your core and help shape your toosh – nice.
4. Flexi diet
The word “diet” is a terrible thing. It conjures images of restriction and not being able to enjoy… life.
But just because you’re wanting to get fit and healthy doesn’t mean you have to torture yourself and avoid eating out or living out of Tupperware.
Try the 80/20 approach, whereby you eat healthy foods most of the time, but allow yourself a treat without feeling guilty.
And don’t forget the big three – protein, carbs and fats!
5. Light weights – High reps
Your body is a smart machine and one thing it’s really, really, really good at is finding ways to reserve calories. That’s why you plateau.
So, if you’re still lifting the same weights and performing the same exercises week in week out, you’re not going to see results.
However, by varying between heavy, light and moderate weights with lower, higher and moderate reps you will set yourself up for long term success.
6. You train without purpose
If your goal is to have a six-pack, then you’re probably not going to do too great.
By setting achievable smaller goals alongside your long term ones will help keep you motivated as you will see the small improvements each week.
And they don’t all have to be weight orientated. They could be – try a new class out, walk to work each morning, prep your meals etc.
7. You hate your routine
Going to the gym or working out shouldn’t be a chore. By deeming it so, you’re setting yourself up to fail as nothing drains your motivation more.
Instead add a few fitness classes you enjoy or try out new training techniques until you find one you like – it’s going to hurt regardless – this will help keep your fitness spirits nice and high.
8. Your mindset
For long term success you must look at your diet and exercise regime as something you really, honestly enjoy. It’s a lifestyle, not a race for a summer bod.
Once you begin thinking of it as a lifestyle choice – rather than chore – you will begin to enjoy the journey and progress you’re making.
Fitness and health is not defined by visible abs or rippling biceps. It’s also not about banning your favourite chocolate bar. If you feel healthy and happy in yourself then you’re doing great!