The 5 Worst Workout Mistakes
Hey Lovelies Naomie here! As you may know I have often struggled with my weight and body confidence. A few years ago I was able to lose a significant amount of weight and sculpt my body through workouts and weight training, however I found it extremely hard to push past the plateau. I've been able to maintain a similar weight for the past 3 years now but I still felt like there was a little more that I would like to shift in order to feel completely comfortable within myself.
So! I came across the Metabolic Factor Challenge. It's a 22 day challenge that switches up your meals, cuts the snacking and curbs your carbs every few days. During this challenge I lost over half a stone ( 8 pounds ) in fat and honestly you could really see the difference within my body. My arms are more sculpted and my stomach is tighter, which is exactly the goal I was aiming for! I just wanted to lose those fluffy bits in certain areas and this plan has helped me to finally achieve this.
10 weeks in and I have now adopted this plan as a way of life, I have lost a stone in weight (14 pounds) and have managed to maintain, even over the holiday period. I have accepted that this is how my body likes to lose fat, it works to speed up my metabolism and honestly I don't think I cold ever go back to the way i used to eat. I feel like I have so much more energy now & I love that I'm still able to treat myself to junk foods whilst still losing fat!
What I especially loved about his plan was that It heavily expresses that, in order to reach your weight loss goals, you don't need to OVER DO IT in the gym. This was music to my ears! As an avid gym-goer I often battled with the fact that I need to be there 6 days a week and have a high impact session every time otherwise I would never lose weight. It was beginning to get to me and I was starting to hate working out, the sight of the gym made me depressed. Although during my session I felt great, after my sessions I would usually CRASH! Mentally and physically drained, which would then have an effect on how productive I was with the rest of my day.
So I wanted to share with you the 5 mistakes I was making whilst exercising with the overall goal to lose fat. Once I had acknowledged these mistakes and completely switched up my workout routines I started to notice a HUGE difference not only in my body but mentally. The gym isn't stressful to me anymore, and now that I have a better understanding on how to treat my body kindly, working out smarter not harder, I really wanted to share these tips with everyone who may be experiencing the same.
"When exercise is taken to the extreme you will create metabolic changes that lead to hunger, unpredictable energy, cravings and metabolic slow down. This is called metabolic compensation. At this stage, you can’t lose weight no matter how much you exercise. This is called metabolic resistance."
1. EXERCISING FOR TOO LONG
The longer you exercise the more your body will be under stress. You will begin secreting large amounts of stress hormones, especially cortisol. Cortisol is a fantastic element to help burn fat as it is often released with testosterone and growth hormone.
But when cortisol is released in large amounts that exceed the levels of testosterone and growth hormone, it will turn into your worst enemy. In the absence of growth hormone and testosterone, cortisol will cause you to lose muscle from your upper body and store fat in the middle of the body causing your Insulin levels go up as cortisol breaks down muscle tissue and turns it to sugar. High levels of cortisol, are also associated with cravings for highly palatable food rich in fat, sugar and salt which is why you may find that you crave a burger or a huge fry up after workouts! lol
Instead of going longer, make your exercise shorter and more intense. Keeping your workouts under 40 minutes or better yet under 20 minutes or less, allows you to create the opposite effect. Shorter harder workouts are better at burning fat, building muscle and have less of a negative effect on metabolism.
2. EXERCISING TOO FREQUENTLY
In order for the metabolism to function optimally, it requires time to recover, repair and then adapt. Exercising more is not better, better is better! What many people don't realise is that the beneficial effects of exercise actually don’t occur during exercise, they occur after.
To keep the metabolism from crashing, follow these rules:
- Never exercise more than 5 days in a row without a recovery day.
- Always try your best to separate cardio days and weight training days. This lets the metabolism focus on one thing and reduces stress.
- Never do two heavy weight-training days back to back. This is especially true if you are working the same body parts.
- Make sure heavy weight training sessions are at least 2 days a part.
- If doing cardio and weights together in a single workout, give at least 1 day of rest between sessions. Take regular active rest and recovery days (massage, sauna, walking, stretching, foam rolling, tai chi, etc.)
3. EXERCISE THAT IS TOO INTENSE
Pushing yourself too hard too often is one of the easiest ways to induce metabolic damage. If your cortisol levels shoot through the roof, and we're back to the world of increased insulin, reduced IGF-1, and stubborn fat.
Heart rate recovery is a great tool to use to measure training stress. To see if your body is responding, you can monitor the flexibility of your max heart rate and how fast it falls back to resting after a period of exertion. If your heart rate is not recovering at least 10 beats in a minute, or changed by more than 20 beats difference from when you started, then you know the workout is becoming too stressful.
Fragmented sleep, daily fatigue and lack of motivation for your workouts, is another indication you are pushing the metabolism too hard. Consider backing down the intensity or taking an extra rest day or two.
4. EXERCISE THAT IS TOO VARIED
Research has repeatedly shown that pushing against something heavy--even your own body weight--causes an explosion of fat-burning hormones. Exercise is about creating a stimulus that will help you adapt and get better. To do this, you need to vary the workout just enough, but not too much.
Here are a few hints to keep this effect going in your workout.
- Choose an area of focus like the upper body or the lower body or even a few body parts.
- Pair antagonist exercise. An antagonist is a body parts opposite. So, if you do a chest exercise, pair it with a back exercise.
- If you’re going to combine cardio and weights together, put the cardio bursts in between the weight exercises.
- Make sure you repeat the exercises 3–4 times to assure the muscle gets an adequate stimulus
5. TOO MUCH CARDIO NOT ENOUGH WEIGHTS
Too much cardio is the perfect way to stress out your body. Although cardio can be a great healthy activity, too many people make the mistake of doing it too often, for too long, too intensely and without any weight training to balance it. Which in turn can cause a series of reactions that will counteract the metabolic response required to burn fat.
To assure you get good results here are two powerful workout hacks for you:
- More weights than cardio. Keep your cardio and weight training sessions to a 2:1 ratio. For every one session of cardio you do, do two sessions of weight training.
- Lift weights faster. If you really are a cardio junky, and need to do more cardio then give this a go.
By using weight training and shortening your rest periods, you get some of the benefits of both worlds. This also allows you to train shorter, do fewer sessions in a week and get better results.
The metabolism is a lot like one of those thin rubber bands. It works perfectly well within a particular range, but stretch it too hard and it is bound to pop. Give the strategies above a go, I can promise you that along with a good eating plan the following methods will keep your metabolism humming.
Wishing you the best health