With the new year in full swing there will be some common pitfalls ready to ensnare young hopefuls, to help you understand what they are and how to avoid them to the best of your abilities we will cover the 4 most common.
1 – Too Much Too Soon.
You’ve spent the best part of 2015 living on convenience foods and building forts on the sofa, but 2016 is where that will all change. In the first week of the new year there will be the familiar sight of hoards of newbies hitting the gym EVERYDAY, going hell for leather and literally pushing themselves to the point of feeling sick, just short of collapsing. It’s okay though, it’s meant to be like this, right?
After doing this for a week, maybe two a gym virgin will be utterly ruined. Walking normally will be a distant dream, sitting on the toilet will be like harder than climbing Everest, you get the idea.
Starting down the path of self improvement is great and I fully support those who want to make a change, what you need to remember is that doing too much won’t get you results faster. It will however leave you sore, frustrated and demotivated, all of which can cause a person to quite their endeavor and we don’t want that.
My advice for gym new comers would be to join a couple of classes 2-3 per week will be sufficient to get you progressing, enjoy your workouts and also making some new friends too. If you can afford it hire a trainer/coach as they will be able to teach you a lot of the things you need to know, not to mention correct exercise form.
Don’t rush, take your time and avoid doing too much too soon.
2 – No Patience.
Everyone wants to get results, the biggest issue is the fact that everyone wants their results by yesterday. This is a major problem. Results take time to achieve, occasionally a very long time and this can be frustrating for people.
In the modern world of health/fitness there are some unrealistic expectations of what is achievable, this is largely down to rampant PED (performance enhancing drugs) use and a reluctance to accept that the people many often admire have been training for a great number of years – 10+ in most cases.
Is it possible to lose 30lbs of fat in 12 weeks? Yes, however it would require extreme focus and dedication and sadly a lot of people don’t have that. This means you will be realistically looking at more like 24 weeks to achieve that goal, this for some people is too long to wait.
Results take time, learn some patience and don’t give up when you don’t have abs or are a size 8 after only one week in the gym.
3 – Your Nutrition is Wrong.
A simple subject made complex. Here is the basics of nutrition:
To gain weight – Eat more calories than you burn.
To lose weight – Eat less calories than you burn.
Simple right? So that being the case why do so many people struggle? The answer is obvious really… You are either eating too much or not enough. Seriously, for the majority of people that is the honest truth.
Okay, now for the slightly more interesting part.
Establishing how many calories to eat. There are literally hundreds of formulas/websites on the internet that will give you a rough estimate, with one of the best being the Harris-Benedict formula (I’m not writing this one down as it’s rather long and complicated). If you’re looking for a quick guide way to establish your potential daily calorie needs then use this *equation:
Weight Loss – Weight in Lbs (ideally your LBM-Lean body mass, meaning what portion of you isn’t fat) multiplied by 11-13. So, LBM in Lbs x 11-13 = calories for weight loss.
Weight Gain – LBM in Lbs x 17-19 = Calories for weight (muscle gain).
*Disclaimer – this is a rough guide, if you want a more accurate number hire a trainer/coach to do all of this for you.
The next part from here will be establishing your Macro-nutrient ratios (protein/carbs/fat) Ideally this is based off of your LBM. There are a specific amount of calories in each macro-nutrient:
Protein – 4cals per gram
Carbohydrate – 4cals per gram
Fat – 9 Calories per gram
Grams of Protein = 1xLBM – of you weigh 150lbs of lean mass then you need 150g of protein.
Grams of Carbs = 1xGrams of Protein – 1×150=150g carbs (25-40g of this number should be fiber).
Grams of Fat = Add the calories from protein/carbs together then take it away from your established number of daily calories. What ever number that is divide it by 9 for your grams of fat, for example: 900cals remaining / 9 = 100g fat for the day.
In recent times you will hear people say that your choice of food doesn’t matter. Yep, you read that right. Provided you hit your macros/calories you can eat what ever you want, in theory… Would I personally advise this? No. Personally I would prefer people eat mostly whole foods (meat/veg, basically what is considered adult food, not sweets, cakes and convenience foods) this is for better for overall in health in my experience. True you will find people who throw science/theory at your proving it doesn’t matter but if I’ve learnt one thing it’s that everything works in theory but that’s about it.
The real secret to nutrition is to enjoy what you eat, don’t restrict yourself but don’t gorge either. Aim for the classic 80/20 split of whole foods to indulgence, hit your calories/macros and you will find you don’t go far wrong.
4 – You Don’t Put in Enough Effort (Mentally).
I am not going to sugar coat this fact.
The main pitfall that leads to people giving up is their mind is weak. The difference between fantasy and reality is purely desire, well, most of the time in the things we can control anyway.
Try to remember that you are in charge of your life. You control your actions, no one made you eat that cake, you wanted to eat it. Is that a bad thing? Hell no! If you want some cake then have some, just don’t eat the entire cake and feel guilty or blame someone else for eating it. So what if you were at a child’s birthday party? You didn’t have to eat it, you wanted to eat it. Accept your decisions and move one swiftly from the bad ones.
Everyone has the potential to achieve their goals, what most people lack is the patience, dedication and mental fortitude to keep going when it gets tough. There is no quick fix, the only way to get lasting results is to make a life long change. Remember that.
Have faith in yourself, I know you can do it.