Throughout the past 15 years i’ve undoubtedly made hundreds or even thousands of mistakes. We all make mistakes every single day, and as long as we learn from them that is absolutely acceptable. Today I am going to talk to you about the biggest mistake I ever made, and hopefully help you learn from my own experience. There are so many ways you can go wrong with your diet and exercise! You could be doing a no carb diet, neglecting weight training and strictly doing cardio, exercising every day but not paying attention to diet, believing in miracle pills and wasting your money, not getting enough sleep, etc… But if theres ONE big mistake i’ve made that I want to make sure you all don’t make, its that...
I NEVER HAD A PLAN
Just like nearly every other aspect of life, regardless of what you’re doing, you need to have a plan and you need to stick to it to be successful. If you go through life and plan to just “wing it” along the way, chances are you won’t be very successful. Same applies to your health and fitness goals, you have to have a PLAN to achieve them! Of course this assumes you first have a goal, which is your very first step in planning!
I NEVER HAD A GOAL
Can’t have a plan without a goal first! Once you have your goal, you can put the rest of your plan into action. Set yourself an achievable goal, something that you can strive for and that you KNOW you’ll be able to reach if you put forward enough effort. Don’t set yourself up for failure with some ridiculous goal like, “I want to lose 30 pounds in 3 week.” because honestly, thats just not going to happen. When people don’t reach their goals they get discouraged. When people get discouraged they stop doing what they know to be right and healthy, and often look for comfort. What better way to “feel” comfort than to eat comfort food? Now say for example you set yourself a more realistic goal, “I want to lose 10 pounds in 1 month.” Not only do you lose those 10 pounds but you surpass your goal and lose 15 pounds! You feel great! You see the results and it makes you want to stay on track and keep working hard.
I NEVER HAD A PLAN WITH MY DIET
I used to think that I ate healthy. Loved fruits and vegetables, whole grains, had plenty of lean meats and good fats. But looking back now I realized I wasn’t eating right, because I didn’t have a plan! I just ate pretty much whatever I felt like, whenever I was hungry. Most days I would eat probably 3500-4000 calories, and when I saw my body weight go up at the rate of a couple pounds per week I thought, “sweet, must be all muscle.” NOPE not at all. I always think back to college, 3 times per day eating at the dining halls all you can eat buffet every time. I gained about 30 pounds in 1 year (I called it the Freshman 15x2). Went in without a plan, and ate whatever looked good. “Oh this breaded chicken parmesan has chicken in it, that must be healthy. Let me steal some more of the cheese too because it has calcium!” WRONG! Okay you get the point haha. You need to create an attainable and sustainable plan for your diet. Try to get roughly the same amount of calories day to day, and try to make it nearly equal parts protein, carbohydrates, and fat. You can eat healthy food all you want, but the fact of the matter is, if you’re eating too many calories you will gain weight.
I NEVER HAD A PLAN WITH MY WORKOUTS
I’m honestly ashamed at myself for this one. For years I would go to the gym religiously (5-6 days per week) and just wing it. “Today I feel like doing arms because its almost beach season and I want to invite everyone to the gun show! Screw legs nobody sees those anyways!” It wasn’t a very effective method to say the least. I did not plan out which body part I was doing until I got there, and therefore could not plan out what exercises I would be performing. The reason this is important, is because if you don’t have a plan written out you likely won’t do the exercises you perceive as being hard! Plan out your workouts ahead of time. Know how many days you will be going to the gym each week, and what body parts you will be working on each day. I would recommend hitting each body part at least once per week, maybe twice if you are going to the gym enough times. Start with the bigger compound (harder) lifts such as squats, deadlifts, bench press… you won’t want to be doing them at the end of your workouts.
I NEVER HAD A PLAN FOR MY PROGRESS
Once I started planning out my workouts, I realized I also had to track my progress, to make sure I was actually making progress! Consider this, someone goes to the gym with a plan, but does not track progress. This person can do 225 lbs on the bench press for 6 reps. At the end of the year this person is still doing 225 lbs for 6 reps. This person is still going to the gym, which is great, but no PROGRESS has been made. If this person were to start tracking their weights, sets, and reps, I can guarantee that if this person wanted to, they would have made progress. In order to make progress in the gym you must adhere to the principles of progressive overload.
Progressive Overload - In order for a muscle to grow, strength to be gained, performance to increase, or for any similar improvement to occur, the human body must be forced to adapt to a tension that is above and beyond what it has previously experienced.
There are several ways you can create progressive overload; increase resistance, increase sets, increase reps, increase frequency (how often you train each muscle group), increase number of exercises, increase intensity (how hard you push yourself), and decrease rest time. Chances are most people are already incorporating some of these progressions week to week and month to month, but now that you know about it you can start to TRACK PROGRESS and you’ll be amazed at how much faster you progress!
I NEVER HAD A REASON TO TRAIN
Without a reason to train, you’ll likely find yourself just going through the motions day after day. There are countless reasons people are exercising and eating healthy, and each person should have their own. I personally like to train to stay physically fit, I feel better when I look better, and I know I am much healthier than I would be if I did not workout. Some people train for bodybuilding shows, powerlifting competitions, health reasons, to help an overweight friend get into better shape, it helps them sleep better at night, reduces stress, etc… Just make sure you know WHY you’re training, and keep reminding yourself of that reason. It will no doubt help you keep it up!
Hopefully you guys learned a thing or two from my previous mistakes. Any questions whatsoever please feel free to ask!
Until next time, keep it healthy!