The last thing you want to do after an intense sweat session–especially one that caused you to get out of bed at the crack of dawn or made you miss out on a night out with your girlfriends–is to sabotage your awesome efforts. Yet, so often, many people do this with their workouts being none the wiser. Imagine how infuriating it must feel to try on those coveted “skinny” jeans only to find they feel just as snug as they did three weeks ago. It’s enough to make anyone looking to burn unwanted fat throw in the proverbial towel. If you’ve been having problems making strides with your health goals, be sure that you haven’t been sabotaging yourself with these six mistakes.
- Overdoing It: Grinding it out in a workout can be great, but doing so too often can be hard on your body, as well as a tad confusing. When you exercise, your muscles need a little time to recover, and in doing so, your immune system becomes compromised. Work out too hard, too often and you can end up sick. Additionally, work out too hard all the time, and your body will be conservative on how it burns fat, thinking that it needs more to keep up with the constant hard work. Vary your fitness from day-to-day instead of always being maxed out. Your body will get the break it needs, and the intervals in intensity will keep your metabolism powered up.
- Not Sleeping Enough: Some of the best fat burning happens when you’re not even awake. There are hormones that work while you sleep to ditch the unwanted fat and build muscle. Don’t get your Zzzs or you could be wasting the best hours to shrink your waistline.
- Rewarding Yourself with Food: You’re not a dog. You do not need a treat in the way of a cupcake or candy bar for doing a good job at the gym. Find better ways of patting yourself on the back, such as with a massage, a new outfit, or lazy movie-marathon day on the weekend.
- Stressing: Stress is an unfortunate part of life–and it’s all around us: work, home, and even when we travel. If you aren’t managing your stress levels in a healthy way, the effects could be detrimental to your fitness results. And it’s all thanks to cortisol–a hormone that is released when you stress. It’s job is to provide a boost of energy when the going gets tough, but since most people are stressed all the time, it’s constantly being released. Too much cortisol has negative health effects, and can make fat loss nearly impossible.
- Not Feeding Your Thirst: The more you sweat, the more you dehydrate yourself. However, after a workout–when calories and fat have been burned–you might have a tricky time determining if you’re hungry or thirsty. In these scenarios, drink up. Not only does your body need the fluids–water, specifically–but it will help you feel more full, keep your metabolism in check, and flush out any toxins from your workout.
- Forgetting the Fun: Transitioning to a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t still have a good time. In fact, if you fail to factor in things you enjoy doing–including exercise you don’t dread–your lifestyle change will likely be a lot more temporary than you’d hoped.
If you’ve had a great workout, keep it that way. Do your best to stay on the path toward a healthy lifestyle–both when you’re exercising and when you’re not.
What healthy rules do you try to live by? Share with others in the comments!