Sometimes there are simple reasons why you don't see the results you want
21 OCTOBER 2010
So, you've decided to start working out and you've even got as far as signing up at the gym. That's the first step taken, but there's still a whole journey ahead and you want to be sure the effort involved produces the best possible results.
Sometimes, though, it seems as if you'll never reach your target weight losss, or quite simply, as if you aren't making any progress. There may be very simple – and avoidable – reasons for this.
These are the five most common mistakes when it comes to exercise:
Too much of a hurry
As a general rule, being in a rush to lose weight isn't a good idea. Don't get too hung up on achieving quick results, especially if you aren't used to exercise, as you may end up doing yourself harm by over exerting yourself too soon. Remember that lasting effects are best achieved bit by bit.
The wrong activity
It's sometimes tempting to choose your gym session simply because your friends have already signed up for that one, or because it fits into your schedule. But just because it's convenient, doesn't necessarily make it the best choice for you. It's a good idea to talk to an expert and see what is best for your specific goals and needs.
Aerobics, aquagym, salsa... These group activities are certainly fun, and they have a place in your work out routine, but they should be combined with exercises that are specific to you, to help strengthen your muscles and avoid sagging skin when you do lose weight.
Lack of discipline
Starting is one thing; keeping going is another. If you want to achieve good results from your gym sessions, you need to be disciplined. So write them in you diary – make a date with the gym as important as a business appointment or meeting a friend. Get organised and allow at least three hours a week for exercise. This is when it can help to get together with others for work out sessions as it can be more fun and motivating. Swapping your gossip over a coffee for a session on the exercise bikes together can be a way to help keep on track with your work-out resolution.
Not everyone has the same targets and objectives. Why are you working out? Is it to lose weight, gain muscle, improve your stamina or overall physical condition...? Even if two people have the same goals, they may not start from the same point, so may have very different requirements. To make sure you choose the best routine to achieve the results you want – and the ones your body really needs – a personal trainer can be your best ally. And once you've been advised of what to do and have a routine set, do try and follow it. Don't skimp on the plan, and don't push beyond it. If something doesn't work for you, consult the trainer again and make sure you get an individual programme that takes account of where you are, where you want to be, and how you, personally, want to get there.
One more point: above all, you need to avoid thinking of exercise as an obligation, and instead transform it into a pleasure. Exercise is healthy for both your body and your mind; it won't just help you reach your ideal weight, it can also make you feel better in general: use it to put a spring in your step and a smile on your lips.