Now is the time. Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or just the goal of rocking your favorite summer wear this year, you’re starting to think about what you can do to get into shape. Be careful.
You might be among the millions of people who are frustrated every year that their workouts and weight loss efforts aren’t actually effective. According to one study, the majority of people who try to lose weight either quit before achieving their goals or regain it within a few months or years. That’s because too many of us make mistakes, both small and large, that keep us from reaching our goals.
It doesn’t have to be that way. You deserve the summer bod that you’ve always dreamed of. To make sure it happens this year, avoid these 10 fat loss mistakes and pave your way on the road to success.
1) Focusing Just on the Scale
Yes, you want to lose fat, that doesn’t mean you actually need to lose weight. It might sound counter-intuitive, so let’s dig in a bit further.
First off, your weight fluctuates as much as 4 lb every day, mainly due to variations in your body’s water and salt intake. Look at larger trends over a longer period of time, not just your day to day progress. Inform yourself about water weight, which is different from fat and will require some different strategies to keep off.
Muscle and fat weigh the same, but their densities are different. If you lose five pounds of fat and gain five pounds of muscle in your hip, you will feel your pants fitting more loosely. You may well find that you feel like you’re making progress, even though the scale doesn’t reflect it.
Good news! You don’t have to feel alone. Instead, you can hire Elite Body Data to take the hassle out of tracking your progress. Come in periodically for an ultrasound body fat test and Styku 3D body scan that goes far beyond the scale.
2) Keeping Your Exercise ‘Local’
It seems so simple: you want to lose some of that belly fat, so you start doing crunches. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t work like that. You cannot control where your body decides to burn fat. In other words, you need to approach your workout in a way that focuses on your whole body.
Start familiarizing yourself with HIIT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Done right, it keeps burning your body fat even after you’re done working out for the day. It also tends to focus on various parts of your body as a more holistic way of getting to your goal.
When it comes to working out, comprehensive is always best. Focus on workouts that allow you to exercise your entire body. That way, you don’t keep doing crunches only to get frustrated about your lack of progress towards your summer body.
3) Failure to Track Your Progress
You need to have a goal. Without it, you risk trailing off a few days or weeks after you start to work out. That way, you can build a system in which you regularly check in on your progress towards that goal, and where you still need to improve.
Too often, we just say “I want to lose weight”. Instead, ask yourself: how much weight do you want to lose? Are you really after weight loss, or do you want to improve your body? What’s the time frame in which you want to achieve your goals?
That goal needs to be not just tangible but also realistic. One study showed that people who expect to lose the most weight also tend to drop out of a program the most quickly because they are not meeting their expectations. Instead, aim for slow and steady progress over rapid improvement.
4) Eating the Wrong Diet
So much could be written here about the right diet. I’ll keep it short, mentioning only that eating right is just as important as exercising in your efforts to build your dream body. That includes:
Tracking your calorie intake. Find the balance between eating too much, which counteracts all of your exercise, and eating too little, which leads to a slower metabolism and loss of muscle mass.
Avoiding ‘diet’ foods. As it turns out, they’re often using sugar to balance the lack of other tasty ingredients. Being processed also makes them less healthy. Instead, focus on natural, minimally processed foods.
Eat more protein. It helps with your weight loss by satisfying your hunger and boosting your metabolism.
Eat only when you’re hungry, rather than snacking when you feel like it. Avoid sugary drinks, whether that’s soft drinks or fruit juices.
If you want to simplify your life, you can find out exactly how many calories you personally need by booking an Elite Body Data Resting Metabolic Rate test. This 12-15 minute breath test determines the calories you need to ingest to build muscle, lose fat, or maintain your weight.
5) Focusing on Aerobics Only
It seems like a simple equation: if you want to build muscle, you lift weights. If you want to lose fat, you do long-term cardio. Unfortunately, reality isn’t nearly that simple.
Cardio alone may result in a drop on the scale, but it’s not a comprehensive workout. In fact, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends a mix of cardio and strength training in order to achieve optimal fitness and health.
That’s why focusing on weight loss through cardio alone is not nearly as impactful as focusing on improving your overall body composition via weight training. You can weigh 130 pounds at 26% body fat, or 130 at 15% body fat. That’s why weight lifting should always be a part of your plan. Studies repeatedly show that lifting improves your metabolism and
accelerates your fat burning efforts.
That doesn’t mean you should forgo the cardio. Instead, balance is what matters most. Combine the two for a mix that both burns fat and improves your metabolism. The above-mentioned HIIT is a good way to get you started.
6) Exercising Too Much
Yes, there is such a thing as too much. Exercising your body is not linear; you don’t get more effective the more you do it. So before you jump into hours-long workouts every day, make a plan that ensures you don’t work out too much.
First of all, it’s unsustainable. Your body will get so tired after a relatively short time that you cannot possibly keep it up. You lose motivation (more on that below), and start getting off track. Working out too much also produces stress. Worse, you could actually hinder the parts of your body that produce the hormones responsible for regulating stress.
It might be tempting to go all out, but for the sake of your body, and your long-term physical and emotional well-being, set yourself strict limits. When in doubt, talk to a professional about what it takes to get to your goal, and start your workout towards your summer body early enough to not run into a time crunch.
7) Not Getting Enough Sleep
On average, we’re supposed to sleep between seven and nine hours every day. If we don’t, we’re not just harming our bodies and mental well-being. As it turns out, a lack of sleep can also adversely affect your weight loss efforts.
Let’s start with the obvious. The more tired you are, the less energy your body has to actually exercise at its optimum capacity. We just don’t want to hit the gym if we can hardly keep our eyes open. In addition, we’re more likely to consume caffeine, which – surprise! – comes with its own calorie challenges. That latte may keep you awake for your morning meeting, but it won’t do your summer body any favors.
It gets more scientific, too. Studies have found that people with less than eight hours of sleep snack twice as much as their counterparts. A lack of sleep also triggers a cortisol spike, which tells your body to preserve its energy. In other words, your body will try to protect its fat, which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish.
8) Losing Motivation
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, don’t make the mistake of losing motivation on your long-term goal. It’s easy to make a new year’s resolution about your summer body. If you have a beach vacation planned, it’s even easier to come up with something to work towards. The key, though, is making sure that you keep working towards that goal regularly and consistently.
Most of us don’t inherently like to exercise. That makes it easy to lose motivation over time. Instead, keep yourself motivated through the following tricks:
Write down your progress towards your goal. If you don’t just keep it in your head, you’ll be much more likely to stick with it.
Fit your exercise into your current lifestyle. Don’t rearrange your schedule or social life, or you’ll go back to that alternative sooner than you’d like.
Keep your goal clearly in mind. Why do you want to lose weight? You might want to display the reason at or near your workout equipment.
Work out together. Social commitments towards the same general goal tend to help us stay on track and motivate each other.
Plan for set backs. Yes, the cheat day can work when done in moderation. Allow yourself some leeway within a larger structure, rather than going to the extreme when you lose motivation.
Let Elite Body Data be your buddy that keeps you inspired. Book an initial meeting as well as your follow-ups to keep track of where you are, and keep yourself accountable.
We know that not every meal or workout will be perfect. The key is to do the best you can. It’s important to put in your best effort, rather than beating yourself up when things go wrong.
Don’t give up too soon! Let us take a load off your shoulders by helping you celebrate the successes you accomplish along the way, thanks to our data testing offerings.
Get Started on the Right Track for Your Summer Body
Working on a summer body is not easy, but it’s much more achievable than you might think. You just have to make sure that you don’t fall into the same mistakes that so many others make. The above tips can help you get started and keep you on schedule for your ultimate goal.
It doesn’t hurt to have a partner in the process, either. Elite Body Data helps you track the food you eat, test how to optimize your cardio sessions, and even measure every inch of your body to make sure you’re not just trusting the scale.
By taking advantage of our amazing prices, you can test the effectiveness of your workout and nutrition program as often as you’d like. It’s a great way to stay on track, making sure you’re on your way to getting that body you’ve always dreamed of.