Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Foolproof Tips To Avoid Sabotage...Mistakes To Avoid To Increase Your Fitness Gains

Whether you are a seasoned fitness enthusiast or a rookie chances are you have made mistakes and sabotaged your fitness progress at times. Mistakes definitely hold you back. Not knowing what those mistakes are can keep you frustrated and put you out of the game (many people quit because of this). There are things we know, things we don't know, and thing we don't even know we don't know (this is where we can help)...some of that ends now.

I am willing to bet that most of these mistakes are the fault of traditional gyms, over-hyped exercise communities (mainly blogs and forums), and even some popular fitness programs (think DVD's and many of the fads out there). Many of these are saturated with well-intended advice (still may have some benefit) that is often rooted more in bro-science than real-world up-to-date research.

Eliminate the following mistakes from your fitness training program to maximize your gains and stay in tip-top shape:

Mistake #1: You have a routine.

Girl pushup w arrow

The exciting and rapid gains you enjoy at the beginning of a training program will eventually taper/diminish if you keep doing the same workouts all the time. Your body can adapt to exercise stress pretty quickly and many of your gains can taper off after 4-6 weeks. Your job (and the goal of any good fitness plan) is to make sure that muscle growth (adaptation) never stops. Keep in mind an integrated approach is most often times the best approach for overall fitness.

Fixing it: Trust in tweaking.

If you are a rookie, mix things up every 4-8 weeks. If you're a savvy veteran, you will need to do so even sooner. Changes can be minor to stimulate new growth such as changing your pace or your grip, adjusting your foot positioning, or cutting rest periods (increases intensity and density) between sequences. It is also a smart idea to integrate totally new workouts or even programs into your plan.

Mistake #2: You forget to train your backside (posterior chain).

In pursuit of ROCK HARD muscle, many people focus only on those muscles they can see in the mirror; pecs, shoulders, arms, and abs (anterior chain). HUGE PROBLEM! Without balance on all sides of your body you are prone to a hunched posture, hip problems, muscle imbalances, certainly an increased risk of injury, as well as ongoing pain.

Most people are already anterior dominant. This means they more frequently use the muscles on the front of their bodies (think pushing moves in many cases). Such one-dimensional training often worsens existing postural problems and can create performance issues.

Fixing it: Train away from the mirror.

Avoid a mirror to gauge your progress. Focus on the muscles you cannot see. To balance your upper body, perform two pulling exercises (pullup, row) for every pushing exercise (shoulder press or pushup). To balance your lower body, perform two sets of hamstring-dominant exercises (deadlift or leg curl) for every set of a quad-dominant exercise (squat or lunge). Once you work your imbalances out you can switch back to a 1-1 ratio.  

Mistake #3: You fail to find your sweet spot.

You can train too hard or not hard enough. Less is often more when it comes to building lean muscle (the presence of muscle is the absence of fat). You need some real experience to know how to safely push your limits. Very few people learn to optimize their sweet spot (training stimulus). Do you think you are being effective and efficient?

Yes, you need to challenge your muscles to make them grow stronger (big doesn't always correlate to strong), but you never want to push them to the point where you inhibit their ability to repair themselves. When it comes to muscle, repair equals growth.

On the other hand, if you don't push your muscles hard enough, you fail to trigger growth at all. See the quagmire? Your goal is to find that sweet spot, to hit the intensity where you maximize results without compromising recovery. You should seek a fitness pro for help here if you want to save yourself time and much frustration. You can start by always listening to your body.

Fixing it: Track your work.

With weights, cut it 2-3 reps short of in your last set of an exercise (if you are doing a set number of reps...again this is where a fitness pro can help). Those reps provide very little additional growth stimulus, and might actually slow muscle growth by extending the time needed for recovery. That said, you shouldn't have more than two reps left in you, as that's a sign you need to push harder

If you're doing metabolic training (intervals, complexes, supersets, or circuits), use a heart rate monitor to fine-tune effort and rest. One way to determine your theoretical max HR is by taking 220-age. You gauge your work and rest at a percentage of that number.

During work periods, build up your intensity to 75 to 90 percent of your max. During rest periods, let it fall to 65 percent of your max HR before beginning your next round...

Mistake #4: You don't dial in your nutrition (we avoid the word diet).

You cannot out-train a poor nutrition plan. Your eating habits need to be in line with your fitness goals to be able to see real progress. Eat to support your active lifestyle. Most people miss their sweet spot here too. They eat too much food or not enough and many also fail to really understand how to adjust their macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein).

Many active people eat too many simple carbs and fall short on fat and protein. A simple switch here can work wonders...

Fixing it: Compromises in the kitchen.

Simple upgrades you can start doing now...
  • Limit sugar (from natural sources) to 10% of your caloric intake. On a 2000 calorie diet that is 50 grams of sugar.
  • Eat at least two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables a day.
  • Make sure every meal contains a balance of protein, fat, and fiber (think color, balance and variety).
  • Increasing your protein intake is particularly important.*
Neglecting these suggestions may yield poor blood sugar control, higher insulin levels, increased fat storage, and decreased fat burning... 

Keep in mind a focused fitness studio or fitness pro can help you pinpoint your mistakes and improve your fitness experiences... 

*In a study by the U.S. Military Nutrition Division, people who ate twice the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein-1.6 grams instead of .8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight- preserved more muscle as they lost weight than those who stuck to the RDA. If you weigh 150 pounds, your daily protein quota is 109 grams.


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