Today we want to “weigh in” on the biggest mistakes that women make when it comes to fitness. The good news is, the mistakes are pretty simple to fix, and some of the mistakes we make include working too hard!
Mistake #1: Not lifting weights.
One of the biggest mistakes that women make is that they often do not lift weights for fear of “bulking up.” The shape of your muscles all depends on the way that you train. For most women, doing a low weight, high repetition style of weight lifting will ensure long, lean muscles.
It is also physically impossible for most women to look like the female bodybuilders that they fear looking like without the aid of steroids and consuming mass quantities of protein. Stop worrying and start lifting!
Mistake #2: Overdoing the cardio.
Too often, women try to make up for lost time by doing hours of cardio a day after years of unhealthy habits. Or, they try to compensate for the fact that they don’t lift weights by cranking the stair stepper up and watching an entire Real Housewives of Atlanta marathon before stepping down. Maybe you heard that Demi Moore does ten hours of cardio a week, but, more likely than not, she spent years working up to that point.
Although you should not take this as an excuse not to do cardio if you’re not training in a way that compensates for it, there is a school of thought (H.I.T.—High Intensity Training) that believes cardio can make you put on more fat than it burns. That might sound strange, but the reason behind this is that most people typically are so hungry that they eat more calories than they burned or use it as an excuse to eat more calories than normal (oh, I can have that sundae, after all, I did an hour on the elliptical today—admit it, you’ve done it).
If you’re not training in the H.I.T. style, do not stop doing cardio because you read on Feel Rich that it can do more harm than good. If you haven’t heard of H.I.T., no matter how intense you think you’re workouts are, don’t worry, you’re not doing it.
Do use a reasonable approach to cardio and calorie consumption. If you are feeling hungry after cardio, try snacking on fruit first or filling yourself, then, if you are still feeling hungry, have a big meal. Do try to do a reasonable amount of cardio for your body, not for Demi Moore’s (say three 30 minute sessions a week).
Mistake #3: Not keeping to form when they do lift weights.
If there’s anything worse than not lifting weights, it’s doing it wrong. If you are letting your momentum do the work, not getting a full extension of the muscle, overextending the muscle, or just plain doing it wrong, you are either setting yourself up for failure or injury. If you don’t know, ask, even if that involves hiring a trainer or taking your annoyingly in-shape friend with you for a few days.
Mistake 4: Going by what the scale and/or their pants size says.
Back in the 1960’s, women used the scale and their dress size to determine their fitness level. Back in the 1960’s, women also thought a fat jiggling machine could help them lose weight. Stop using the outdated method of gauging your fitness level. It’s just as ridiculous as using a fat jiggling machine.
Muscle ways more than fat. We know that. If you start working out, your legs and butt will look great, but your pants size may go up by one to two sizes. If your butt looks better, why does it matter what the number says?
As a side note to women who think there’s a difference between a size one and a size two or a size three and a size four, there is not. Odd numbered pants sizes are juniors, even numbered pants sizes are ladies. A size three is the exact same as a size four, only it means you purchased it in the juniors department. If you go from a size four to a size six, that is only one pants size, not two, so stop freaking out!
Mistake #4: Not setting realistic goals.
Since we’ve already established that setting goals based on weight and pants size is pretty silly, we probably don’t have to tell you that wanting to lose 30 pounds in one month is even worse. Be prepared to be in it for the long haul. Set real goals that have to do with your actual fitness level or appearance, not with department store or a machine that does not account for muscle.
“I want to look in the mirror and love my butt,” “I want my husband to check me out more,” “I want to work out three times a week consistently for a month and four times a week the month after that,” “I want to be able to run without getting winded,” and “I want to be able to increase my weights/ resistance/ time” are all examples of good goals. For a simple goal setting packet click here.
Throw out the scale. Start using your eyes and your common sense. If you insist on continuing to use a scale, use the same one every time you weigh, at the same time of day, and invest in one that measures your body fat percentage. Getting realistic about your fitness and your goals increase your chances of success and sticking to the plan in the long term. Break your bad fitness habits and make your fitness efforts count.