5 Common Mistakes People Make When Setting Their Fitness Goals




Mistake 1: Not being specific with your fitness goal

Whenever I speak to clients about goal setting, their first response is “I just want to lose weight.” They have no idea how much to lose. Then they will proceed with pointing their undesirable body part. “Here, I want to lose this entire bit!” It could be the tummy or the thigh or the hip area. You can’t lose based on specific body part. It is best to quantify your fitness goal if you want to lose weight. Telling yourself that you want to lose 7% body fat is clear versus being vague about your goal setting as it sets your directions and a game plan.


Mistake 2: Feeling anti-social during the process

You hear this all the time; 80% is nutrition and 20% is exercise or abs are made in the kitchen. I do not believe that the latter is true. Abs are made in the mind. Once you have set your heart and mind on a task, you will get it done no matter what. Similarly, you can’t expect to exercise and still continue to eat crap. You start by having a kitchen make-over followed by your home food cabinet. You throw out junk food and sugary drinks. You start packing home-cooked food to work and people around you start noticing the changes in your eating habits. You either feel embarrassed or proud. However, at time goes on, you might feel anti-social because you get to miss out the office goss by not eating out with your colleagues or enjoying the hawker food or favourite cuisine that you used to enjoy at lunch times. And, I am sure very few of us are happy to watch everyone else eat the birthday cake or huge bowl of ice cream while I sip silently away my cup of black coffee or green tea. Sounds familiar? Forcing yourself to sit on the side-lines of social eating is going to set you up for a poorly balanced diet.


Mistake 3: Stubborn to accept mistakes

My number of years of coaching and training experience across various disciplines in the fitness industry may be inferior to a number of fitness veterans but I am humble to say that I have made and learnt from many mistakes. Most importantly, I have grown from them. I have coached many individuals who lack the open-minded nature to understand what they are doing is not correct. It does not mean that you look more muscular than me you know what you are doing or you look fitter than me you know which cardio workouts to perform. Do not judge the book by its cover. It is critical to explore the science and methodology of the workouts and not compromise the form or technique when performing them. Remember safety comes first! Educate yourself on the mind muscle connection theory. Embrace mistakes after all it is an important part of the growth process.


Mistake 4: Over-training OR Under-training

When most individuals find their way into an athletic lifestyle, they get addicted to their sport or workout and to being active. However, this comes with a big sacrifice.

Not to point at Cross-fitters but I do know a majority of them (including me in the past), were hooked on Crossfit and a bunch of us used to train at least 4 to 5 times a week. We lift heavy We squat heavy and we spent hours in the gym perfecting our pistol squats, or kipping. It was a bit of an overkill. And I wondered why my performance was not getting any better with 2 hours of training a day 5 times a week. That lasted for 3 months and I stopped but not completely. I started to lessen the duration of training each day but still kept to 5 times a week. And, I chose Sunday to have a rest; a full day of no exercising just complete rest. This allows our muscles to recover properly. We are not robots. We can’t function like them. At the end of the day, you want to age gracefully and no pain is more gains.

With under-training, most individuals feel more sore and tired easily. If you are performing the same workouts, using the same weights, moving at the same pace and never up your repetitions, sets, distance or intensity, you are under-training and you will never change. It is important to build your training progressively and I meant by adding more weight once you feel that the starting weight is getting comfortable and when you can perform more repetitions. It is time to up the load. Switch up your workouts; incorporate high intensity interval training when your body is conditioned. Add in strength training and conditioning. Pick up a sport. If you like badminton, play it with friends or family. Just enjoy it. I am not telling you to get into the profession.


Mistake 5: No pain No gain

I have heard direct quotes from many accomplished Trainers/Coaches and accomplished Athletes saying “No pain no gain” or “It is better to be over-trained than under-trained” or worse still, “Less is more.” Do not get me wrong. I am not dissing what these great ones are saying. I am just saying when comes to program design, it’s no wonder they are confusing a lot of us. There is no such thing as a miracle formula. There is no such thing as performing 100 squats in 30 days will give you a sexy butt. And, then what happens next? The cycle repeats? When too much stress is placed on the body too fast, your body is trying as hard as possible to maintain homeostasis. Symptoms such as knee pain, depression, loss of motivation and constant pains starts to set in.

It is important to understand as time progresses with consistency there will be stable gains. If you are injured and tired all the time from trainings, it means that you are over-training and it is time to listen to your body and REST.



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