With summer quickly approaching, the gyms are full of people who are trying to lean down. Many people see the next few months as a time to be in shape. Just the thought of bikinis, barbeques, and beaches is enough to encourage thoughts of weight loss, diets, and quick fixes. When sweater season approaches again, the diet is off and the weight creeps back on. Is there a way to minimize the yo-yo effect, and live lean year round? Yes! Let’s look at some common fitness mistakes, and ways to fix them.
Floating Goals vs. Objective Goals
Floating goals are vague and subjective. An example of this is, “I want to lose weight”. Since the goal is vague, how do you know when you have accomplished it? It’s also based in self-judgment, as you’re beating yourself up before you even start! Time in the gym will change body composition, as muscle is added and fat is lost. So, the scale may not change much. But, since the scale doesn’t budge, you have automatically failed, even if your clothes fit better and you look like a superhero.
Objective goals give you something concrete to train for. Do you want bigger shoulders and a smaller waist? Great! Come up with some measurement goals, and create a training plan that will allow you to reach them. Measure yourself each week, or take progress pictures. You’ll be able to see your improvements, and you’ll have a way to measure your success. This also helps keep levels of motivation higher.
Diet vs. Lifestyle
Many people think “diet” when they want to lose body fat. The term alone denotes thoughts of scarcity and deprivation. Make healthy living a lifestyle. Swapping out terminology, and changing your mindset will do this. Your diet becomes a meal plan. Food becomes fuel and nourishment. Exercise becomes training. When we switch our mindset from thoughts of scarcity and deprivation to thoughts of performance and training, we tend to lose weight as a byproduct - with no additional thought or effort. No foods are off-limits, but we can choose to eat right most of the time. This means that the occasional burger or pizza can be enjoyed without repercussions, and we actually look forward to “eating clean”!
Must Do vs. Want to Do
Do you despise lifting weights? Do you dread cardio? Most of us believe that we have to commit to hours of cardio to lean down or love our bodies. This is not the case! Do you like to dance…or swim… or hike? You can get into great shape without ever having to step foot in the gym. If you want more muscle, then experiment with weightlifting styles. You might not care for high reps with low weight. If that’s the case, train for powerlifting. Find something that moves you and you’ll keep moving.
Linear Progress vs. Overall Progress and Consistency
When starting out on a fitness journey, it’s easy to think that progress will be made consistently. Linear progress does not exist. Some weeks will be amazing, and some will seem like Groundhogs day. Enjoy the process, and know that even if you can’t see the changes on the outside, you are making changes internally. If you’re putting in work, eating right, changing your routine every few weeks, and getting enough rest, progress will come. Expect ups and downs, and roll with it. It’s part of the process!
All Out, All the Time vs. Strategic Training and Recovery
Beast mode has become common on social media. It feels like slacking if you don’t hit a PR or don’t “crush” the weights every day. But, not only is it not possible to train at 100% intensity every day; it’s not healthy. Your muscles and central nervous system need time to recover. Schedule tough days, moderate days, and active recovery days. Know that progress is made outside of the gym, when we give ourselves time to recover. I recover better with BetaTOR. It has really helped me get more out of my training.
Thanks for reading! Until next time, train hard, y’all!
- Erin Stern, 2x Ms. Figure Olympia