Don’t forget to sign up this weekend for the X-Weighted National Challenge. Nothing spurs progress and holds you accountable like a contest and a deadline.
As I wrote earlier this week, Slice’s award-winning documentary series is urging all out-of-shape Canadians to log onto xweighted.ca/the-national-challenge. It’s a free six-month health and fitness challenge designed to create lasting lifestyle improvements and stimulate sensible weight loss.
But before you start, check out this timely advice from Dr. Eric Plasker. The best-selling author of The 100 Year Lifestyle Workout and The 100 Year Lifestyle, Plasker warns exercisers to watch out for the following five fitness traps:
1. Exercising For Someone Else — If you are exercising because someone else wants you to, it won’t last.
Quick Fix: Be sure to understand why it is you’re working out. Do you crave more energy? Improved health? Better-fitting clothing? Or are you trying to satisfy your partner, your boss or your doctor? If it’s the latter, think about how exercise can help YOU, and cement that reason in your mind before you embark on an exercise program.
2. Starting Too Fast — You used to run five miles a day, so when you decide to start running again, you push and push until you get injured.
Quick Fix: Be realistic and start slow with baby steps. You can’t expect to instantly bounce back to your old pace when you haven’t worked out in months. Start at a pace that feels comfortable and after a week or two, gradually increase the frequency, intensity and duration of your workouts.
3. Insufficient Quality Sleep — If you sleep less than seven hours a night, your body isn’t getting the recovery time it needs to perform at its best and maintain health. Plus, you’ll have less energy to power your workout, and you’ll be chronically tired, less focused and more disconnected from people, too.
Quick Fix: Prioritize sleep and make sure you have a supportive pillow and mattress. Seven to nine hours a night is ideal.
4. Poor Eating Habits — If you feel sluggish or find that despite your best workout efforts, your clothes are getting tighter instead of loser, you are falling into a common fitness trap. Exercise does not give you an excuse to pig out; nor, does it give you a reason to starve yourself.
Quick Fix: Fill your diet with Superfoods like blueberries, salmon, whole grains and almonds to get the proper nutrition and energy you need. Figure out how many calories your body burns in a day and adjust your eating habits accordingly. A “normal” diet consists of 1,500 to 2,000 calories per day.
5. Unclear Goals/Poor Monitoring System — Is your goal to become healthier, define your muscles or lose inches? How are you tracking your progress? Looking in the mirror is not a reliable test and will not succeed in keeping you on track.
Quick Fix: Define your goals and create a schedule for assessing your progress. Measure yourself regularly on a scale, as well as with a tape measure and body fat caliper. You should also track your length, duration and intensity of workouts to make sure you are consistent.