With over 60 million memberships in Europe alone, it’s plain to see that the Health and Fitness industry is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world today. Fitness club revenues across Europe were over 26.5 billion in 2017, while the Irish fitness industry made around 230 million in membership receipts alone.
So the gyms and fitness clubs are definitely benefiting from your membership, but are you?
Sticking to a diet and gym routine can be hard work, even for the most committed gym junkie. Life can get in the way sometimes, work can be busy, you’re sick, you just can’t find the time right now, or maybe you’re putting obstacles in your own way by accident. It’s all too easy to find excuses to convince yourself not to work-out, or that the extra piece of cake won’t matter because you’ve had one anyway.
If you’re struggling to stick to your plans, there may be something you can do. With a good attitude and some adjustments, you can get yourself back on track.
Below are some of the biggest mistakes people make on their fitness journey and some advice on how to avoid them!
- You try to change too much all at once
Whether you’re trying to gain muscle, lose weight, or just feel healthier overall, your plan needs to be sustainable. When most people decide they want to be ‘healthy’ they cut out all sugar, they only eat salads, and they decide they’re going to go from never exercising to running 10 miles a day.
This is not practical or sustainable.
You may stick to it for the first few days but when you’re absolutely miserable on your new no-fun diet and you dread going to the gym, you’ll be more inclined to quit and think ‘it’s just not for me’.
Baby steps is the way to go! For example, if you’re a sugar addict, start by eating a little bit less sugary foods every day, eat one biscuit instead of two, or don’t have that extra scoop of ice cream after dinner! These small manageable changes are far more sustainable than completely forbidding yourself from having something you enjoy.
With exercise, don’t try to make up years of missed gym sessions in one week! It’s easy to feel super motivated when you first step back in the gym but throwing yourself into a crazy high intensity workout everyday will only be maintainable for so long and you’ll soon burn out, that’s if you don’t injure yourself first!
Start with a simple programme and increase the intensity as your body gets fitter and stronger.
2. You’re basing your life around the gym not the gym around your life
You can’t go from being a couch potato to suddenly being a gym rat that goes twice a day, seven days a week. You just will not have the time or energy, and you’ll end up either skipping workouts or quitting all together because it becomes ‘too time consuming’.
Create a workout routine that fits your day to day lifestyle and habits. When creating this routine, what you need to ask yourself is ‘how much time do I really have to work-out today?’, not how much time you want to have!! Fit workouts into your spare time rather than trying to create time for them.
You don’t need two hours to work out either! If one day you know you’ll only have 30 minutes free, then make them 30 minutes count because it’s still better than not going at all.
3. You don’t eat regularly or enough
Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to think that the fastest way to lose weight is to eat very little. They’ll skip breakfast, have an apple for lunch, and a salad for dinner leaving them feeling cranky and hungry. Then, at the end of the day because they’ve eaten ‘so healthy’ all day, they ‘reward’ themselves with one biscuit… which turns into two… which turns into the packet. Before you know it, you’ve eaten every sweet treat in the cupboards!
When trying to fit a clean eating routine into your lifestyle, you need to establish a regular pattern of eating big healthy meals to prevent you from being overly hungry and to stop the evening binge! When you know you’re going to be eating every few hours, you’ll find it’s easier to manage your portions and hunger.
You need to be eating enough food so that you’re creating a sustainable change (see mistake number one!). Generally, people feel hungry every 3 to 4 hours. So, plan out what your meals are going to be for the day and you’ll find yourself less likely to snack or crave food because you know exactly what your next meal is and when you’re eating it!
4. You’re looking for a quick fix
When you decide you want to change your lifestyle for the better, it’s only natural that you are keen to see results… and fast. People decide to try juice cleanses, diet pills, The Atkins Diet, or they religiously do a workout DVD that promises to burn 1000 calories in just 10 minutes(!!!!)
But, one thing you need to remember is THERE IS NO QUICK FIX.
That’s the cold hard truth of it. If you want to see results, you need to make good food choices and be consistent in both your diet and the gym, for a realistic period of time.
Does this mean that you can never have a Chinese takeaway and miss a gym session ever again? Of course it doesn’t! It means that you need to find a balance between the good and not-so-good choices, that suits your life best.
Long-term results come from long-term changes. So, just because you didn’t lose a stone in the first week, like the internet said you would, don’t be deterred! Be patient and keep to it, it will be worth it. Once you start seeing some results and changes in your body, you won’t ever look back!