Are you getting hyped up and ready to transform into a new you? Perhaps it’s the new year, or maybe you’ve just decided that it’s time for some change.
Whatever the reason, congratulations on your new journey into fitness!
Nevertheless, like the beginnings of any hero, such a journey would take some time.
Batman took years of training to become a master martial artist, wolverine spent decades honing his skills, and even Frodo and Sam spent half a year trudging through treacherous terrain.
On this epic quest that could take several months to even years, the last thing you would want would be to embark on a routine that’s as inefficient as plausible.
Thus, before diving headlong into the myriad of fitness plans available on the web, we hope that we’ll be able to help you out with a few basic fitness tips that might just save you many hours of wasted effort.
1. Thinking more Cardio equates to more Fat Loss
This would be the number one most widespread fitness mistake or myth that we must address.
Long duration or long distance cardio is one of the most inefficient ways to burn fat.
Does running at a low to moderate intensity every other day help you to shed those pounds? Sure, it most definitely will.
However, what will help you to burn that fat away even more efficiently would be to build muscle instead.
Firstly, muscle inherently burns calories at rest, so having a proportionately larger muscle mass would equate to you burning calories even when you’re not exercising.
Secondly, the process of muscle building burns up an incredible amount of energy, as micro tears (minuscule tears that occur in your muscle as they undergo physical stress) in your muscles are being healed up to get tougher and stronger.
Think about it this way: When you build muscle, you obtain a long duration (up to 24-48 hours!) buff that helps you to burn fat even faster.
However, when you only do cardio, your experience gain (fat burn) stays constant throughout, hindering your progression.
As an added point, all that running isn’t going to help you build much muscle. In fact, too much of it may even cause muscle breakdown due to calorie deficit and eventual muscle loss, the antithesis of fat burn. Ever felt that after a while, all that running seems to be plateauing and your body doesn’t seem to be improving any longer? Well, this is the reason why.
In a similar vein, if you’ve ever hit near-max-level on an MMORPG (besides WoW), you can tell how slow of a grind the last few levels will usually take without any external buffs.
Solution: Treat cardio as a supplementary activity. The dessert to the main course of weight lifting.
2. Trying to follow advanced routines
This is probably the most confusing aspect for beginners out there. There are thousands if not tens of thousands of different fitness programs out there for you to follow, leading to a myriad of mistakes being made. A simple google search would dumbfound even the more advanced trainees.
Here’s what you need to do, especially when you’re just starting out.
Ignore them all.
Getting to where you want to be in your fitness journey will never be about complexity or sophistication of the program.
Instead, it will always be based on consistency and simplicity.
Following a simple program of push ups, bicep curls and squats consistently will get you way further than any program that confounds you and is inherently difficult to follow or track.
In other words, if you don’t yet understand the program or exercises, don’t do it.
Think about it this way. You don’t immediately start the game and begin battling the boss, or carrying out complex attack combos, do you? (Unless you play Dark Souls. Hence the numerous deaths. We really don’t want to be replicating deaths in real life)
No, you don’t. You start out by hitting a wolf. Or a simple bandit. And then you do it again. And again, and again, and again.
As they say, the grind is real. And it really is.
But, the grind can also be very rewarding.
Pick a simple program. One that has a handful of basic exercises that you know how to do. Heck, for many of you guys, from where you’re starting out, it may even be taking simple walks in the park, or light jogs every now and then.
Start slow, and simple. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a simple step. Explore. Experiment. And most importantly, find a fitness activity or exercise you like to do, and enjoy the process.
Solution: Slow and steady wins the race.
You don’t charge head first into a level 50 area when you’re level 3.
Pick something simple, and stick to it. Advance only when you feel comfortable.
3. Changing your diet all at once
This last point will likely be the most challenging aspect of a healthy lifestyle, for both beginners and veterans alike. The difficulty of sticking to a regimented diet is comparable to the hardest bosses out there you’ve ever had the displeasure of kissing the floor endless times from.
So, is there a secret to finally ditching that sugar tooth and embarking upon the journey to a six-pack? Yes, there is:
Change only a little at a time.
For example, don’t even bother changing your diet on the first week when you first start working out!
The last thing you want to do is take on too many things at once. This happens to most people, especially when the new year hits, resulting in too much to be able to handle in the long term.
Following this, on the second week, change ONE THING AND ONE THING ONLY FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK of your diet. For example, you will try to drink ONE (not two, not three, ONE) less soft drink for the whole week.
And that’s it. Change nothing more and nothing less.
This would slowly evolve into changing one fast food meal into a healthy one, one weekend of ice cream into fortnightly, and so on. But you get the idea.
As with every thing in life, it’s the small victories that matter. Celebrate your victories, enjoy your journey. All those little steps will add up to a monumental victory at the end.
Just as Sam and Frodo, with their little hobbit legs, slowly but surely made it to Mount Doom, so will you too achieve the results you’ve always desired.
Solution: Change only one small thing at a time.
And that’s a wrap! The 3 fitness mistakes we hope that you will now be able to avoid when embarking upon your journey.
As always, if you’ve any questions at all, feel free to fire away. We were all beginners once, and there’s no such thing as a stupid question!
Interested in training together with me? Click HERE to get in touch with me, and I’ll be more than happy to meet you!