If you're looking to shed some weight, getting back into the gym and establishing a workout routine is a great first step. But, you also want to make sure you're making the most of your workouts and choosing the right activities and eating habits that can further maximize your progress. Essentially, you don't want to end up developing any of the worst workout habits that sabotage your goals.
Unfortunately, it's easy to fall short and become less motivated or discouraged from a lack of results. You may not even realize the mistakes you're making might just be what's holding you back from dropping those pounds and building more strength. To help you stay on track, we rounded up a few common workout habits that are just hindering your weight-loss goals.
Soon enough, the struggle to get that scale to budge will be a thing of the past! And if you're looking for exactly what you should be doing instead, check out the 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
Choosing a workout you don't love.
Choosing any type of workout because you think it will make you lose weight, rather than one you actually enjoy can be problematic, as you may lose motivation fairly quickly.
"Picking a workout you genuinely enjoy makes it more likely you'll get your workout done, and keep working out long term," says Lauren Chante, certified strength and conditioning coach.
Thinking harder is always better.
Assuming harder workouts equal weight loss is just wrong. In fact, too hard of a workout can backfire, especially if done too often.
"Sometimes, harder workouts fire up your appetite because your body is craving recovery, so, it's harder to stick to your nutrition plan," adds Chante. You can end up overeating or binge eating, and that can impact your weight-loss. You may even gain weight instead!
Eating too little while doing intense workouts.
If you think you need to eat less and force yourself to sweat it out even more during your workouts, that's just a recipe for disaster.
"Dieting doesn't nourish your body, so you might experience overtraining and injuries from eating too little," says Chante. If you are restricting calories to lose weight, then you're not going to want to go with a sports performance or intense type of workout that will require more fuel, as you might end up injured or have soreness from overuse.
Looking for some meal inspiration to keep on course? Get lean for life with this 14-day flat belly plan.
Working out but still eating junk food.
Choosing a workout without changing your eating habits toward a healthier diet won't help you lose weight. "Your nutrition habits make up 80% of your results and while exercise is a great jumping-off point, it's not realistic to expect significant, long-term weight loss if you're just focusing on working out," says Chante.
Doing it "all or nothing" style.
You'll want to ease your way into these new lifestyle habits instead of just going all-in right away.
"It's easy to get overwhelmed when you change everything at once and you're more likely to quit when you get overwhelmed," says Chante. "I teach my students to choose one area of focus at a time, then to focus on perfecting that one area for at least two weeks."
Essentially, don't start to exercise six days a week with a new meal plan all at once. Instead, go with a few exercise days first to get into the swing of things, with more rest days incorporated, and work your way up.
Drinking juices and smoothies high in sugar.
"If you love your fresh juice, choose one with less fruit and more veggies or blend your fresh produce instead so you're still getting the fiber which will help balance the sugar content, keeping your blood sugar more stable," says AKT Master Trainer and certified personal trainer Alissa Tucker.
Not taking recovery days.
Simply put—rest days are vital.
"Recovery is just as important as your workout itself and so it is important to give your body at least one day of rest," says Tucker. "Exercise puts stress on the body and overdoing it without proper rest time can cause hormonal imbalances that actually make you hold onto rather than lose weight."
Following a workout with happy hour.
Don't hit a workout and then think it's OK to just have tons of drinks afterward as a "reward."
"Not only does alcohol contain a lot of calories but consuming too much can lead to other not so healthy food decisions and potentially missing your early morning workout the next day," says Tucker. If you are going to drink, opt for a clear spirit like vodka or tequila with soda and lime rather than a sugary cocktail or beer.