Join 220,000+ Fitness Fans

Share your name and email and I'll send you a FREE copy of my eBook - The 10 Forgotten Rules of Weight Loss. Plus, you'll get exclusive articles not found on the blog.

5 Ways You’re Likely Sabotaging Your Fitness Goals

5 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Fitness GoalsIn my experience, most of us don’t try to sabotage ourselves; often we’re just unconsciously trying to work around roadblocks without actually being aware of them. Here are five ways you may be sabotaging your weight loss or fitness goals without even knowing it.

Letting Weaknesses Develop

We all have our favorite body parts that we like to focus on improving. I’m guilty of this as well; I love hitting my shoulders hard and developing my glutes.

The danger is that when we ignore other areas, our body can get out of balance. For example, I recently realized that my quads aren’t very strong (which may help explain why I can’t progress in certain movements). If I continue to hammer my posterior chain without training my quads equally as hard, I’m going to end up with an injury.

What you can do:

  • Remember that most muscles have an opposing (antagonistic) muscle that needs equal attention. Examples are triceps/biceps, quads/hamstrings, abdominals/lower back, and chest/upper back. Give each muscle equal attention when you’re strength training, and if you participate in a sport such as running, be especially aware of imbalances.
  • Train all heads of a muscle. For example, your triceps have three heads and shoulders have a front, back, and side.
  • Strengthen supporting (secondary) muscles. Do isometric holds (such as planks) and small, light exercises for rotator cuffs, wrists, and rhomboids, for example.

Doing Someone Else’s Workout

It seems so easy to follow a workout someone posts online. “They look great, so if I do the same thing, so will I.” While I’ve seen many very good beginner workouts posted by fitness pros and even people who merely enjoy working out, use caution with the more advanced ones.

Your workout should be based on your own abilities, experience, goals, and history. A one-size-fits-all training program does not exist. Your body has vastly different biomechanics and wear and tear than the next person. That’s why a personal trainer asks lots of questions and requires you to complete questionnaires and assessments before designing a program for you.

What you can do:

  • Follow programs that provide exercise substitutions or become knowledgeable about substitutions you should use.
  • Know your weaknesses! (See above)
  • Learn new movements with very light resistance.
  • Consider hiring a trainer to design a customized program for you.

Ignoring Your Range of Motion

Range of motion is the amount of available movement in a joint from its natural starting position to its ending position. If your ROM is limited, you may experience pain, dysfunction, and eventual injury. All kinds of things can cause limited range of motion, but one you can control is muscle stiffness. Tight, tensed muscles need to be released every day and before you exercise.

What you can do:

  • Perform a thorough, dynamic warm up before every workout. A good warm up should take about 10-15 minutes and cause you to sweat a little.
  • Do mobility exercises between weightlifting sets and at home.
  • Foam roll regularly.

Using Thinness to Gauge Fitness

Ever see someone who’s really thin and wish you had their body? A lot of runners and cardio addicts have a slender, lithe appearance that seems the epitome of good health.

However, thinness is not a good gauge of fitness at all. People who are slim but have little lean muscle mass can have a very high body fat percentage. If all you do is aerobic activity then your muscles actually diminish year to year, resulting in a host of health problems.

What you can do:

  • Strength train. Build muscle and strength using weights, resistance bands, medicine balls, machines, or other methods.
  • Pay attention to your body composition. Know your body fat to lean muscle mass ratio.
  • Eat enough. Building muscle takes calories, typically about 200 kcals over your normal daily intake, depending on your activity level.

Letting Alcohol Wreck Your Diet

I’m not one to preach abstinence; I enjoy a glass of wine just like the next person. However, too much alcohol can derail your daily caloric intake in a big way. A typical 6-ounce glass of wine has 140 calories and 12-ounce a bottle of beer has around 150 calories. Mixed drinks are a virtual minefield, some with 500 to 700 calories each – enough for an entire meal alone.

Of course, the health risks of alcohol are well documented, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and the contribution to poor nutrition due to empty calories. Drinking in moderation or abstaining has benefits beyond keeping your weight in check.

What you can do:

  • Just say no. If your friends invite you out frequently, either decline or commit to only having one drink.
  • If you choose to drink low-calorie options or make your own drinks at home, remember that those calories add up too and may contain a lot of sugar.
  • It may seem obvious, but if you know you’ll be indulging, calculate alcohol into your daily calorie intake.
  • Fitness Weapons

    Wow this article is pack with tips! I always try to tell my cleints that not all workouts are meant for everybody. we are all different. (in regards to “Doing Someone Else’s Workout”)

  • Marc Perry

    Thanks for the link to my article about lean body mass and keep up the great work!