We all make mistakes. It’s part of the learning process, but when it comes to health and fitness, mistakes can sometimes be costly. Here are four fitness mistakes I made when I started out that I hope to help you avoid.
Mistake #1. Not incorporating resistance training from the start
Resistance training is your friend, no matter what your goal. It can increase muscle strength, mass, endurance and/or power and is also shown to promote bone growth. It can even help prevent injury that can occur when performing other sports or tasks. For those of you with fat loss goals, it’s important to note that the increase in muscle mass you can acquire with resistance training gives your metabolism a boost, enabling your body to burn more fat…even at rest! If you’re an adult, you should aim to work all major muscle groups on two or three days each week, leaving 48 hours rest in between. Trust me; this is not something you want to neglect.
Mistake #2. Obsessing over every single calorie
Whether your goal is to lose weight, bulk up or just perform your selected sport or activity more efficiently, nutrition will play an important role in your training efforts. “Calories in…calories out” is a popular mantra, and not without truth. But there’s a lot going on inside your body, and this means the quality of the calories you’re putting in there count, too. For those of you looking to lose weight, keeping a food journal can be a helpful tool in managing your intake. Be as accurate as possible when making entries, but don’t stress out if you don’t know exactly how many calories are in the casserole you made for dinner. Just be mindful of your portion size as well as the overall nutritional quality and balance of the meal. It’s not worth developing a neurosis over.
Mistake #3. Not purchasing a really amazing pair of shoes…or two
I can’t stress this enough: a good pair of shoes is not a luxury. When shopping for athletic shoes, scouring department store shelves for sales is usually not your best bet. This is no time for bargain hunting! Instead, check out one of your local running shops. The associates at these stores are often trained to fit you with the best shoe for your foot type, gait and activity. If you find a pair that work for you, consider buying a second pair and rotating them into your routine. You may think that you are not doing anything “hardcore” enough to warrant the purchase, but your feet (and ankles, knees, hips and back) will thank you.
Mistake #4. Having too close of a relationship with the scale
Way too close. There are so many things going on inside your body that can tip the scale back and forth from one day to the next. Hormone levels and glycogen stores can affect the amount of water you retain, which in turn can affect the number on the scale, sometimes dramatically. A new or difficult workout can also have an inflammatory effect on your muscles, prompting water retention as well. This is why I don’t recommend weighing in at all during the first month of training. If after a month or so you find that stepping on the scale motivates you, limit yourself to no more than once per week. Make sure you weigh in at the same time of day, and don’t let yourself become emotionally affected by what the scale tells you. If your scale starts to make you feel bad about yourself or you get to clingy, it might be time to take a break from one another.