Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fitness/Nutrition Mistakes to Avoid

Fitness and Nutrition Mistakes to Avoid

The fitness industry is full of myths, misinformed information and gimmicky programs that people buy into on a daily basis. From P90X to the NutriSystem diet, these gimmicky programs get people to buy into a short term approach to fitness. These systems are great if you stick to them but just like any fad, most individuals fall into the trap of yo-yoing their way through these different programs. Fitness NEEDS TO BECOME PART OF YOUR LIFE! This is not a short term project that you just do for a few weeks or months. It needs to become who you are as a person if you truly want to feel good, stay away from deadly diseases, and take advantage of everything around you.

Here are a few fitness and nutrition mistakes people are making on a daily basis:

1. Fad Diets. Ok, diets might work in the short term but who wants to count points or eat boxed foods the rest of their life? No one! You need to change the way you eat. Learn to make healthy choices when you go out to eat, learn how to grocery shop and learn how to cook healthy. I like this quote when it comes to nutrition: “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” So if you do not have your refrigerator and cupboards stocked with good, healthy and fresh foods, you will not make healthy decisions. If you do not prepare your snacks and lunch before you head out for your day you are more likely to make a bad choice throughout the day. So learn to make the change and be healthy all the time. A diet might jumpstart your fitness regimen but slowly get off of it and live the healthy way.

2. Crunches are good for your abdominals. “Repetitive flexion, extension, and rotation of the lower spine puts tremendous pressure and force on the low back skeletal area,” says Dr. Stuart McGill, a low back specialist from the University of Waterloo in Canada. If you continue to bust out hundreds of crunches a day, do not be surprised if one day you blow out a low back disc. The “core” region of your body integrates from your thighs to your rib cage and everything in between. You should not perform exercises that isolate just your abdominals. You need to build a strong core structure by firing your entire torso region together. Side planks, front planks and bridging are all great exercises that produce stability throughout the torso.

3. Long slow distance training for fat loss. You see this at every gym you walk into. People on the treadmill, bike or elliptical going at a slow to moderate pace for 45-70 minutes thinking they need to be in a “fat burning” zone so they can lose weight. Well this is not the answer for fat loss. You might lose some weight at first and see some results but you will plateau fast. Now if your goal is to complete an endurance event (triathlon, cycling or marathon) then yes, you need this type of training and that is a whole article in itself. But keep that as your goal, not weight loss. Interval training is the way to go if you want to see rapid fat loss. An interval is when you work for a specific amount of time and that work is followed by a short rest. You can use any piece of cardio equipment for this protocol. Try performing 20 intervals where you work for 20 seconds and then rest for 40 seconds (make sure to warm-up properly before starting this workout). You need to push yourself during these types of workouts. The intensity needs to be high but know the intensity and level you need to be at.

4. Buying into fitness infer commercials. Again, like diets, these programs are not a long term approach. How can you miraculous change your body in 90 days? I hate to break it to you, but it just doesn’t work like that. Unless you plan on working out 2 hours a day and eat perfect, it doesn’t happen that fast. “If a program seems too gimmicky to be true, then it probably will not be the answer,” says Mike Boyle, internationally known strength coach. It seems that every time I turn on the T.V. there is some type of gimmicky product being advertised. The “bender ball”, “slendertone”, “hip hop abs”, or P90X. These programs might get you motivated and get you active but they will never last more than 6 months. Plus, they might even be bad on your body. Put exercise into your schedule. Make it a lifestyle habit and watch your life soar.

If you want a fit and healthy lifestyle it needs to be just that, a lifestyle. Ingrain these principles that were discussed into your daily schedule and you will see the benefits. Fitness is for everyone! So go out and make it happen and get active!

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