I recently went to lunch with a friend who wanted to get in shape. She had gotten a membership at a local gym and started working out on her own. She also told me that she bought a widely popular app created by an Instagram fitness star and was “fast-tracking the app’s workouts” – against the advice of the Instagram star, of course.
She also mentioned to me that she hadn’t worked out in the last two weeks. She was tired and felt discouraged that she hadn’t seen any results. Granted, she had only been at it for a month but still, despite her daily, hard-core workouts for half of the month, she hadn’t seen any gains.
She had unknowingly pointed out so many common mistakes that she was making that it took a lot of willpower to not cringe while listening to her story. Now, I’m no fitness pro, but I’ve been at it long enough to spot the mistakes she was making.
And some real talk here – I only learned some of these mistakes while training under Dave Fontaine’s guidance at Premium Performance Fitness Centre. For a long time, the number on the scale dictated my mood. I would go out and give it my all during a run, especially after not running for months. I would eat crap after a hard workout too because “I could afford it. I just ran 5k!!”
It took a lot of work to change these habits (honestly, joining a real gym helped) and that mindset. After sitting down with Dave, co-owner of Premium Performance, I learned a bunch of mistakes and common myths that women tend to make when they start working out. I’m going to share what I’ve learned with you so that you can make your own fitness journey a little smoother.
Step Off The Scale
I need to take my own advice here and quit letting the scale dictate whether or not I’ll have a good day today or a bad day today. Yes – I’m hard on myself.
Dave mentioned to me that the human body naturally fluctuates a few pounds daily so keep that in mind when you get discouraged. Dave also stressed it takes about 6-8 weeks of regular exercise to start seeing results. Also, there are a bunch of factors that can affect what the scale shows and how you feel, like water retention and too-tight clothing. So, don’t get discouraged! Just stick with it!
Without fail, I’ll start running like a maniac at the beginning of each spring season and cry and whine that the scale refuses to budge. I’ll wake up one day after two months of running and BAM! Weight has dropped off, my clothes are a lot looser and I’m happy with my hard work!
The personal training at Premium Performance has been a real gamechanger too. My back has tightened up so much that my bras no longer feel tight. I’ve dropped an inch off my waist and I can get back into my favourite Mile High Levi’s!
Not Believing In Yourself
When I started at Premium Performance, I didn’t think I could get through my training program. Seriously. I took one look at Dave and Mark (Mark is my other personal trainer) who were so much more fit than me and frankly, felt a little “out of my league”. There was no way I could do the Smith Machine or shoulder presses with weights greater than 5lbs! I could barely lift a bag of potatoes out to my car!
I wasn’t very confident that I could “work the machines” or lift any heavier than I had been lifting for the past few years, so I never bothered changing my workouts.
Dave sat me down and reassured me that his guidance would help me through it and that’s what the trainers were there for – to push you to your limits without hurting yourself, therefore seeing real gains in a timely fashion.
I left the gym that first night feeling more confident. When I actively chose to lose that “I can’t do it so why bother” mindset, I started seeing some real gains.
Strength Training Is Your Friend!
You know why strength training is awesome? It’s such an effective workout that it makes you burn calories throughout the entire day. When you build muscle, it burns calories fast – way more fast than fat.
And ladies, you are not going to hulk out with weight training. With a great training regimen, you will build a lean frame that is balanced and beautiful. Trust me. Just pick up some weights. Promise you won’t end up looking like Schwarzenegger with a wig on.
Expecting Too Much Too Quickly
In the past, I would expect to lose 5 lbs after two short runs. I would immediately weigh myself and feel bad because the scale never budged. I would also do a handful of weight classes at my previous gym and expect to have Michelle Obama arms immediately.
Lifting the same old light weights for years and never changing my workouts meant that I never really saw any progress. When I got serious about working out and stuck to a regime created by Dave (no flaking out after two weeks too), my body changed! Dave’s workouts gradually got harder and the weights got heavier and that’s when I started seeing real results. I’ve never looked and felt better!
Crunches Do Not An Amazingly Tight Tummy Make!
Look – you can do 100s of crunches daily, but if you are eating a chocolate cake a day, you are never going to see them. Beautiful abs come with great nutrition and careful eating. You have to burn calories and get rid of that cozy layer of fat on your tummy to see that six pack. So, step away from the two-litre bottle of wine and get one step closer to JLo abs.
Working Out Too Hard
Last spring, I started running outdoors too fast and too quickly. That resulted in some back pain so terrible, I couldn’t sleep or sit properly for two weeks. In addition, I strained my hamstring where it connects to my glute, and I wouldn’t wish that pain on my worst enemy.
I was also constantly exhausted and naturally, eventually started dreading my workouts. I sat down and re-evaluated what kind of exercise I actually liked doing and what results I wanted to achieve.
My physiotherapist was a big help too. She gave me a training program for a 5K race that was easy, slow and gradual. My hamstring healed and I totally stopped hating my runs – lol!
Same goes for weights. Don’t expect to look like a fitness model after 10 weight training sessions in a row in as many days. You’re just going to hurt yourself!!
I hope these training tips help you as much as they helped me. Got any to share? Please do so in the comments!
*A huge thank you to Elly Pistol for the cute sweatshirt and to Premium Performance for whipping this bag of bones into shape.