Sometimes in our zeal to achieve a particular goal, especially as it relates to health and fitness, we try to do too much and become our own worst enemy.
When do we know we’ve had too much of a good thing? When is less really more?
Sometimes in our zeal to achieve a particular goal, especially as it relates to health and fitness, we try to do too much and become our own worst enemy. And sometimes, we end up doing more harm than good.
Here are five things you may be doing that you think are helping, but really aren't:
1. Exercising too long. Spending two or more hours in the gym each session is rarely a good idea. Too much strength training weakens joints. On top of that, if you over-train on a regular basis, you can actually make your body weaker instead of stronger. Also, too much cardio can end up burning as much muscle mass as body fat.
Short but intense exercise sessions are much more effective over the long run for building lean, toned bodies. Do this and your workouts will be more productive and you’ll significantly reduce the chance of injury.
2. Exercising every day. Muscles need time to recover. Going to the gym seven days a week can have a similar effect as working out for several hours at a time – it can do more harm than good.
Schedule your days off. It is during our rest time that muscles become stronger and that we recover and recharge ourselves for future workouts.
3. Eating too little. Severely reducing calories does not create a healthy body. People who skip meals, particularly breakfast, usually aren’t as successful with weight loss as those who don’t skip. Cutting carbs or fat completely from your diet is not realistic long-term.
Food is good for you. It is not your enemy. Use it to fuel your body. But choose healthy food and reasonable portions.
4. Spending too much time on your abs. People love doing abdominal exercises because they want to lose belly fat. But ab exercises usually aren't the best for burning fat. And losing fat is a body-wide process anyway – you can’t target one part of your body for fat loss.
Full body exercises like squats and deadlifts are better for burning extra calories and also do more to work the abs as they are designed to work – as a stabilizing muscles.
5. Going it alone. Everybody needs support. It helps to have help from a trainer or a workout partner, especially if you’re just starting out. It also helps to share your goals with the people you love. The support they can provide can get you through the rough days and help you find success where others fail.
Workout smarter, not longer. Eat to nourish your body, not deprive it. Live a healthy life, not one that constantly punishes your body.
Frank Shelton is a certified fitness trainer and owner of The Village Gym. He can be reached at (302) 376-3060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.