The road to optimal health and fitness is a long exhausting, and bumpy one, with many, many obstacles along the way. If you are able to adapt, persevere, and overcome however, you’ll one day reach your chosen destination and will be glad you embarked upon your epic journey. Getting fit and healthy is extremely tough, no matter what your goals and targets are. Some may be looking to shed a few pounds in order to feel better about themselves. Whereas others may be looking to drop hundreds of pounds in order to change their lives. Whether you want to make small changes to your health, fitness, and physique, or massive, life-altering ones, we all have to start somewhere. There will be times when your workouts are going great, when you’re sticking to your diet, enjoying the healthy foods you consume, and are seeing noticeable improvements every single day. Unfortunately, there will also be times when your progress stalls, when you find it tough to eat right, and when all you want to do is bury your head in an XL bacon double cheeseburger and drink your bodyweight in milkshake. In order to overcome we must persevere and get over any obstacles that stand in our way. If your health and fitness progress has hit a roadblock, it could be due to any of the 10 things we are about to list. Here’s a look at 7 things that could be sabotaging your fitness goals.
Doing the same workouts every single time
When you’re training in the gym, it’s awesome when you find a workout that seems to be working for you. Not only will you be seeing noticeable improvements to your fitness levels, strength, and physique in general, you will also be enjoying what you’re doing. However, there will eventually come a time where the workout that has served you so well for all of those months, eventually decides that it no longer wants to help. Despite it obviously no longer proving to be as effective, a lot of gym-goers make the mistake of sticking with that same workout week in and week out, and they barely see any progress whatsoever. When you inevitably reach a plateau in regard to your workouts, don’t stick with the same one, switch things up and try something new instead. The body loves to be kept on its toes and it thrives on uncertainty. For that reason, when you reach a plateau, look for another workout routine or program you can follow for the next several weeks, to kick-start your gains, as it were, and to help you continue to make progress. If muscle growth is your target, and you’ve found that your trusty 5-day-split is no longer yielding the gains it did to begin with, find a different routine instead. You could, for example, go with a heavy full-body routine which places an emphasis on heavy compounds. This new way of training will shock your muscles into responding positively, meaning you’ll once again start seeing lean muscle growth and increases in strength. That’s only one example, as you can apply this principle to anything you like. Basically, if one type of exercise stops working for you, try something new for a few weeks and you’re sure to see noticeable improvements.
Thinking that hardcore training will be enough
Okay, we’ve all heard about the Michael Phelps 10,000 calorie diet, and we’ve all read about how Usain Bolt famously chowed down on Chicken Nuggets before breaking yet another record. The thing to remember here is that those guys are Olympic athletes, and they literally eat, sleep, and live for their chosen sport. Those guys are on a different level to 99% of everybody else, so if you think you can eat junk and can justify it by working hard in the gym, well, sadly you’re very much mistaken. As much as we’d like to believe it to not be so, the sad reality is that you can’t out-train a bad diet. We see it every single day, in gyms worldwide, where people head out to train, they bust their butts, they burn off hundreds of calories and put heaps of work in, only to head home and undo much of their hard work by eating processed junk. Even if you don’t particularly have much body fat to begin with, you still should not try to use this as justification for an unhealthy diet. The fact is, that if you put garbage into your body, you will feel like garbage and your health will suffer. We all enjoy a nice treat now and then, and the odd cheat meal here and there will do you the world of good. The problem is that most people don’t just have the odd cheat meal here and there. Instead, they base much of their daily caloric intakes on junk, and try to use the fact that they exercise regularly, as justification for poor dietary choices. The fact is, that the body needs healthy, nutrient-dense foods, so ditch the junk and embrace wholesome, healthy produce instead.
Not getting enough rest
Forget about these ridiculous “motivational speakers” who talk about how, ‘while everybody else is sleeping, I’m in the gym working’ because that’s just nonsense. Sleep isn’t an unnecessary luxury, it is a necessity for optimal health and well-being. We need sleep to function, we need to it to think straight, and we need it to perform at our best. Sleep is also an important part of the post-workout recovery process after you train. You see, in the gym when you exercise and pump iron, all you are doing is breaking down existing muscle tissues and fibres. The reason why you become bigger as you build more muscle, is because your body repairs this damage by replacing damaged tissues and fibres with bigger and stronger ones. Guess when it does this? That’s right, while you’re sleeping! If you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body will obviously not have enough time to repair itself, so you could actually lose lean muscle mass. Not only that, but a lack of sleep can also negatively affect your immune system and cause it to weaken, leaving you susceptible to illness. Studies have found that we need, ideally, between 7 and 9 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep each night, so if you’re staying up late on your phone, or streaming movies in the early hours of the morning, do something about it and get your butt to bed at a reasonable time each night.
Looking for quick fixes
This is another very common mistake made by gym-goers and would-be fitness fanatics the world over. Yes, we’re talking about looking for quick fixes and for an easy way out. When it comes to health and fitness, there are no real quick fixes that are sustainable, and sustainability is what you need. Sure, you could try some fad diet where you are barely taking in enough calories to survive, you can drink as many “magical weight loss shakes” as you like, but the second you return any form of normality to your life all of your progress will be gone in the blink of an eye. If you want a guaranteed way of sabotaging your fitness goals and your progress thus far, then by all means look for a quick fix. If however, you want sustainable progress that sticks with you for the rest of your days, look to make lifestyle changes instead. Quick fixes are generally unhealthy, they promote binge-eating, body dysmorphia, and other psychological issues related to body image, and honestly, there is no place for them in the fitness world. Forget about crash diets and “revolutionary” training programs, look for tried and tested measures of getting fit and healthy that will stay with you forever.
Sticking with one thing or the other
In regards to exercise, generally people either tend to focus on cardio, or they focus on lifting. It’s very rare that somebody will focus on both with equal vigour and enthusiasm. If you want to continue down the road to good health however, not to mention building yourself a great physique, you need to make sure you do a bit of both. If your goal is to build muscle, obviously you are going to be primarily lifting weights in the gym, several days per week. If you want to burn fat, you probably find yourself on the treadmill a lot more than other people. Ideally however, you should incorporate different aspects of physical exercise into your routine in order to work on your overall health and well-being. In simple terms, what we’re trying to say is that you shouldn’t just do one form of physical exercise, regardless of what your goals may be. If you want to build muscle then of course your workouts should primarily consist of resistance training with weights, but you also need to make sure you perform a few cardio sessions per week to help keep your weight in check, and to also work on your stamina and fitness.
You’re going wild at the weekend
We know all too well how stressful daily life can be, and it’s nice to be able to let loose once in a wild, and to let your hair down and enjoy yourself. However, one common way in which people sabotage their fitness progress week in and week out, is that they go wild at the weekend and party too much. During the week, Monday to Friday, they’re incredibly strict with their diet and training. They head out to work, they prep healthy meals, they eat right, they drink their water, and they bust their butts when working out. As soon as the weekend rolls around however, it’s a very different story. They’re then out partying with friends, drinking way too much alcohol, eating junk, and not getting enough rest. Alcohol is a toxic, it promotes fat gain, plus it causes you to lose your inhibitions and to make poor dietary and life choices. After several thousand empty calories from alcohol, many people round off a night of partying with a greasy, calorific meal full of unhealthy ingredients. You don’t need us to explain to you why this isn’t conducive for people trying to get fit. Not only that, but the day after partying hard, you’ll wake up hungover and feeling sick, you’ll barely move, you won’t want to exercise, and again, you’ll want to eat junk. The occasional night out is fine, in fact, we recommend it. If however, you are out partying every Fri and/or Saturday, don’t be surprised if you don’t see your waistline shrinking, or if your Monday workout feels far, far tougher than it should be.
You’re becoming obsessive
On the exact polar opposite of what we have just looked at in regards to partying, another common mistake people make when trying to get in shape is to obsess over what they’re doing. They become so obsessed with seeing the numbers on the scale go down, or up if they’re trying to bulk, that they exhibit obsessive compulsive tendencies that could lead to potential mental health issues. If you are dieting down to get in shape then that’s great, but don’t think that every single meal of every single day, has to fit into your daily macros and has to be “clean”. If you’re out for a celebratory meal with friends or family, don’t just order a grilled chicken salad because you’re scared you’ll de-rail your progress, order what you like, have a good time, and get back on track the next day. If you’re looking to lose weight, or gain weight, weigh yourself maybe once a week to monitor your progress. Don’t weigh yourself several times per day, and don’t beat yourself up if the numbers on the scale aren’t going in the way you may have hoped. There’s being committed and dedicated, and then there’s being obsessed, and once you become obsessed, your fitness journey no longer becomes enjoyable, and that’s when it becomes a real problem.