By Paul Hunter
The 6 Biggest Mistakes when Starting an Exercise Program
It is warming up, people are shedding their thicker clothes and you have decided now is the time to make a change in yourself and your body. You may have heard, “If you always do what you have always done, then you will always get what you have always gotten.” True, however, I’d like to add a little caveat: “If you always do what you always done, you will get less results than if you had begun to do more sooner.” Why? Because as time passes, we get further from our goals both physically and mentally. We add an extra pound here, pick up an unhealthy habit there - all things that can take us away from our intended goals.
When we venture to make a change in our lives, we need to make a change in our lives and quite often there is more than one. Activity, nutrition, rest, thoughts - they all play a key role in our success, whatever we do. Quite often we find ourselves way out of balance and thus not looking, performing or feeling the way we’d like. Let’s take a look at 6 things that can keep us from achieving all that we hope we can be.
- Not setting attainable goals: Here people set out to accomplish the impossible. I hear, “I need to lose 30 lbs this week because my sister is getting married.” Or, “My 20-year high school reunion is in two weeks and I want sculpted arms.” Even the American College of Sports Medicine has a standard set that our bodies can healthily lose 1-2 lbs per week. More than that and research has shown it’s mostly water if not muscle mass. Frequently I’ll measure someone’s body composition and explain the difference between lean mass and fat weight. Simply, lean mass is you, bones, muscle and organs. Now why would you want to lose any of THAT?! Take it easy and keep reading.
- Starting too fast, going too hard: It’s “An apple a day that keeps the doctor away,” not “Seven apples on Saturday.” You’ve now set your realistic goals, right? You plan to continue this “healthy new you” program for a long time, right? If your body has been dormant for some time, you need to remember your brain may be strong but the tissue connecting your muscles, bones and joints together may not be so strong. It takes time for your tendons and ligaments to gain strength, and with a safe and effective program it will happen. Rome was NOT built in a day but it continues to stand.
- Not fueling the body while starting a “diet:” “I need to go on a diet” may be one of the most-often uttered phrases in the English language. Something happens when someone begins a diet. They eat nothing but what the book or magazine says, thus cutting out all snacks, extra food, et cetera. All sounds great until the body is not receiving what it needs to function at its optimum and the dieter commonly “snaps” and fills it with very familiar snacks. Remember, we are looking to “be changed” two years from now and not have sprung back to our original shape. Make consistent changes in the right direction, and your chance of success will improve.
- Not getting some expert instruction: If you study the people at the top of their game, you’ll find there is a coach or trainer working with them to guide them along the finer points for better results. No time? No money? It’s an investment in yourself and the knowledge goes a long way. A trainer should actually be a time manager for you; the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
- Giving up too soon: It may feel like only yesterday that you were in shape or had the shape you wanted, but you didn’t actually get here overnight. If you have set the right goals, not started out too fast and received some expert instruction, your goals will be closer than you think. Do not grow weary in doing the right things.
- Not starting at all because you see the hill and not the view from the top: The view from the top is rewarding, and you’ll find that the majority would rather complain or make excuses about the trip “they want to take or could have taken if only...” The daily changes, the effort, the discipline, the view. It’s all worth it and so are you. You’ll be surprised at what you can become if only you stop trying to steer the “parked car” and get moving.
Make it a Great Day!