Sometimes, even the most committed exercisers find it difficult to lose weight, and the whole process can be frustrating and confusing.
So, what factors are involved in stalling your attempts at losing weight? There are potentially a number of things, but if you’ve been struggling to lose weight and your exercise plan isn’t yielding results, it could be one of these common workout mistakes.
Should I Exercise every day?
Doing some form of physical activity every day is great for everyone, but if your goal is to lose weight, then repeating the same workout, intensity, or duration every day won’t work because your body adjusts and you will hit a plateau.
The Solution: Essentially keep your body guessing by developing a workout schedule involving different activities, different intensity levels and different session lengths. For example, if you normally do 40 minutes of walking, maintain that for two or three days of the week, and add a challenge of walking for 60-75 minutes one day during the week.
On the remaining days, perhaps mix in some cycling, and a day of walk/run intervals. Depending on your fitness level you could also add in some high intensity intervals. The bottom line is that by incorporating greater variety into your workout schedule, you can exercise every day whilst avoiding burnout.
Don’t Eat More
When you add exercise to your routine, you may feel hungry more often, especially if you are doing something every day. The key is to banish the thought that you can eat whatever you want because you’re exercising.
The Solution: This will take some time and thought, but unless you want to spend your life counting calories, or weighing everything you eat, you need to find a balance between portion control and eating enough to ensure that you have the energy to do the workout you’ve planned to do. I can’t pretend that this is always easy but, as with most things, if you’re exercising consistently you will find what works. The only hard and fast rule is that you really can’t out exercise a bad diet.
Ensure Balanced Training
A good fitness schedule should include cardiovascular and strength training, as well as flexibility. Incorporating all 3 ensures a balanced programme, and each have weight loss benefits.
The Solution: Most weight loss programmes will include aerobic activity, but also try to include strength elements 2 or 3 times a week. If time is an issue, do a circuit workout and complete short intervals of strength exercises in between 4- 5 minute bursts of cardio. Then, finish every workout with at least 5 minutes of stretching to help maintain healthy joints and remain injury-free.
Don’t Decrease Non-Exercise Physical Activity
If you regularly complete hard core workouts, then fair play to you, but if you’re so exhausted that you decrease the amount of non-exercise physical activity you do during the day, then your daily calorie expenditure may end up being the same as if you hadn’t done the killer workouts – counterproductive and demoralising if your aim is to lose weight.
The Solution: Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) should account for a significant percentage of the calories you burn every day. So, if your workouts drain you to the point of exhaustion, it may be time to re-evaluate your programme. Make sure that your high-intensity workouts are relatively short and that you include some easy recovery days during the week to give your body a chance to recuperate and rebuild.
Rethink your Supplements and Sports Drink Intake
Do you refuel during or after your workout with sports drinks or bars? Of course there are disciplines where athletes need sports drinks, and they are appropriate to aid recovery. But for most exercisers, water is the best choice for hydration. Your post-workout diet supplement may not be helping in the way you would like either. There are hundreds of products on the market and, sadly, most of them do nothing except make empty promises and drain your hard earned cash.
The Solution: Instead of investing in bars, drinks, or supplements, it may be worth to have a session with an accredited sports nutritionist or registered dietitian. They will look at your exercise and diet and help you maximise your workout recovery. They can also help you to understand and perhaps debunk the claims of the supplements you want to use.
So, as always, be consistent with your exercise in order to maintain your strength and fitness, but also try to avoid these mistakes so that you give your weight loss goal the very best chance of success.