Hey hey! I know when I first began living a healthy lifestyle I didn't really know where to start. I didn't know what I should do and what I should avoid. It was kind of a trial and error process, but I have found out for myself what to avoid in order to get fit. Here is my top nine things to avoid in order to get fit! Also, please keep in mind that this is what I've found to work for me. If you do something that I put on this list and it works for you, don't change it!
1| Processed food
I know, I know, we’ve all heard it before. Processed foods are to be avoided at all cost. However, that doesn’t seem to stop a lot of us from purchasing it. Processed food hurts your ability to become fit because
- Usually they’re full of fat and/or sugar and/or sodium
- They’re full of chemicals and poor ingredients that will actually slow down your progress.
To ensure you’re getting all the progress you can possibly achieve from any workout program, it is vital to stay away from processed food as much as possible. Of course, a few times here and there won’t kill you, but why put something full of chemicals and low quality ingredients into your body? For me, my discipline of eating clean and healthy became a lot easier when I changed my viewpoint to “I want to put fantastic ingredients into my body so it’s a well-oiled machine” rather than “I don’t care, my body will be fine” because really, my body wasn’t doing fine internally when eating processed food.
2| Eating too few calories
We all know not to eat too MANY calories, but then a lot of us go the other extreme and eat too few. This is just as bad as eating too many calories, and it won’t help you become fit. You may become skinny, but that’s not what you should be aiming for. A nice toned body needs energy from calories to build muscle and recover properly.
I personally don’t recommend tracking your calories daily. I believe it can become an obsession. You can, of course, track your calories for a day or so to see exactly how much you’re eating (I recommend My Fitness Pal for tracking), but after that don’t dwell on it. Instead, I like to base my meals off of serving sizes and how much is recommended for each food group. Here’s a good resource for finding recommended serving sizes for those in the U.S. I also ensure I’m eating from each food group to maintain a balanced diet. This of course is what I like to do, but if you’ve found it doesn’t work for you then there are many other options, such as IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros - I explain it a little bit here at the bottom of the page).
3| Sticking to just one form of exercise
I’ve talked about this a couple of times, but it is so important to not just stick to one form of exercise. Cardio is cool, but you’re missing out on some serious muscle definition if that’s all you do! Instead, do some weight lifting - and no you will not become “manly”. Most gyms have a great selection of weight lifting equipment. Some of my favorites are:
- Leg Curl
- Hip Adductor/Abductor
- Ab crunch
HIIT and LISS should also be on your list of things to try if you haven’t already.
4| Comparing yourself to others
I know what you’re thinking; it’s impossible to not compare yourself to others - it’s pretty much a natural thing! Girl, I know, butyou also must know that comparison is truly a trap to destroy you. Sounds harsh, I know, but think about it. When you compare yourself to someone else, it doesn’t make you feel good, right? It makes you second guess your progress, makes you wish you had a better body, had faster progress. Well, all of those things are why you SHOULD’NT compare yourself to someone else.
First of all, we all have different bodies and different genetics. Your friend may be able to gain muscle faster than you, but that in no way means you’re not working your awesome booty off. You’ll get there - who cares about how long it takes? This is a journey my friend, not a race - enjoy it!
Second of all, you may be comparing your chapter one to someone’s chapter 10. It’s unfair to you to look at someone who’s been working out for a year and then tell yourself you’re not good enough when you’re on week three of a program. Unlike all the false advertising out there, you will not gain a six pack in three weeks time. That’s not to say you’ll never have a six pack, but it will take months, maybe even over a year to reach that goal.
5| Tracking calories like a mad man
Like I said above, I don’t recommend tracking calories daily. In my personal experience, and along with many others I’ve talked to, tracking your calories daily can actually make it harder for you to reach your goals. Surprising, right? You’d think you’d reach them faster because you’re paying close attention to what you eat. Well, yes that could help, but in the long run (and trust me, getting fit and staying fit is a long term thing!) it will only make it hard on you. Obsession over calorie counting can happen and is an unhealthy obsession at that.
Have fun, enjoy your life, go out with friends, eat cake every once in awhile - it’s okay to do those things! A couple of weekends ago I ate so much junk food with a bunch of my best friends. I didn’t gain weight and I didn’t lose progress because I know it’s okay to do that every once in awhile and I know that I’ll get right back into my normal routine on Monday. So, don’t stress - have fun!
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6| Not understanding your macros
Macros are important to know in my opinion. Macros are grams of protein, fat and carbs you take in each day. Everyone has a different amount of grams they should reach per macro based on their age, gender, height, weight, etc. It can be extremely beneficial to track your macros and is what IIFYM is based off of. If you want to track anything, I’d choose macros.
7| Not drinking enough water
Water!!! It is SO important! In fact, it’s so important, that it could be one reason why you’re not seeing those abs you want so bad. Water also keeps you energized, gets rid of toxins and lets your skin shine through, just to name a few benefits.
Try drinking 8 oz. of water every 1 1/2 hours or so. I’m actually horrible at doing this so I pre-ordered this awesome water bottle that lights up to reminds you to drink water and it shows your water intake progress via an app on your phone. How cool is that! However, it doesn’t come until December so for now I’m using my Camelbak and I put lemon/fruit in it to make it easier to drink.
8| Detoxes & fad diets
Tea detoxes, lemon detoxes, watermelon detoxes, whatever it may be… They. Don’t. Work. I could make a whole post about how detoxes and fad diets won’t get you where you want to be and in fact can actually bring you even farther away from your goal than where you started! There is no magic pill, 3 week program or “natural” plant that can make you healthy and fit. It takes hard work, dedication and time, but it’s TOTALLY worth it! Save your time with these lame diets and just exercise and eat right - that’s all it takes.
9| Doing the same routine as others
The program your best friend is doing may work great for her, but it may not work well for you and that’s totally okay. Everyone’s body is different. Search around for programs, try them out and see if it works for you. There are many programs out there. Tone It Up and Kayla Itsines’ BBG are two that I love. I’ve also heard great things about Way of Gray. Also, if a certain program doesn’t seem to be working that great for you, don’t give up! You’ll find it and the best part about trying different programs is that you’ll get to interact with a bunch of different people and make some awesome friends!
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