Top 5 Things You May Be Doing Wrong
This is a frequent concern with patients entering my practice. Their weight on the scale is high, BMI is abnormal and they are struggling with weight loss. Their percentage body fat is too high and their lean body mass is declining. If you have a similar story, you are at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. I often hear: “But I work out everyday!” So what is the problem then?
There are 5 main reasons this can be occurring:
1. Overdoing it: Your body needs time to recover between sets and between work outs. Pushing yourself too hard physically can wreak havoc on your energy production systems and actually lower your metabolism. Avoid this by setting up a schedule that includes 1-2 break days/week, take breaks during sets as well as rotating between the major muscle groups so they have some time to rebuild.
2. Wrong type of exercise: Cardio is the go-to exercise because we have all been told this is so important. And it is. But from a healthcare perspective, strength training is much more important. Did you know strength training can be a cardio work out too?? Yes, a 2-for-1 deal. Recent studies suggest that there is not one protocol best for all people; instead, muscle gain is unique for the individual. Experiment with different set, rep, weight, and rest schemes to see what makes you feel best in your body. I highly recommend using a certified personal trainer to help you with an exercise program individualized to you. Strength training will build and maintain lean body mass. Don’t worry ladies, I’m not suggesting you become body builders. Strength training will make you look long and lean and leave you feeling strong. Just remember the amount of lean body mass you maintain throughout life predicts how long and how well you will live. Now that’s motivation!
3. Inadequate protein: Protein requirements vary from person to person and from day to day. It is based on the amount of lean body mass you currently have (measured by body composition analysis) and how physically active you are. I recommend steering clear of those body-building type of protein powders – they contain dangerous additives and artificial sugars that can adversely affect your health. Consider whole food sources such as: lean beef cuts, chicken, fish, turkey, beans, millet, barley, pumpkin seeds, etc.
4. Not intense enough: It’s common for people to not push themselves during a work out. There is a fine balance between overdoing it and not enough. You might notice in classes or team sports situations you are more likely to push yourself towards your limits and get a better work out. If you are one of these people, set yourself up for success! Take a pilates or yoga class, join a team sport, get a personal trainer – these tactics will help you. Prefer the gym or at-home work outs? Another great trick is interval training. Choose an exercise move and do this for a set time on a stop watch (start with 30 seconds – progress to 60 seconds). You will be amazed how much harder you work when you have a set time versus a set number of reps. You will see results quicker and progressively be able to do more reps within that time frame with each consecutive workout.
5. Same old, same old: Doing the same workout forever might feel comfortable and familiar but it will not help you get to where you want to be. Your body needs to be challenged with new exercises all the time. Change your work out routine every 2-4 weeks so your body can’t adapt and stay at the same level. This will help you maintain a healthy body composition.
Even if you are not working out right now, these 5 points can really help you to start out the right way and avoid common mistakes.