By the middle of January, most of us are probably well on our way to achieving those new years goals we set weeks ago. With a full head of steam and a resolute intention, you may be thinking this is the year to achieve everything you set out to accomplish. Whether you’ve been here before or not, there are some very common mistakes that can lead us astray, and if you are at least aware of the most problematic, you stand a much better chance of hanging in there and seeing some real results.

Today, we will be discussing the most common mistakes and pitfalls, so that they can be avoided, and will not turn into roadblocks on your way to the finish line. Unrealistic expectations, ignoring genetic limitations and making simple training mistakes are some general problems people run into when making resolutions and setting goals for themselves, but even if you have specific and realistic goals, things can still go astray. The 3 most common ways are as follows:

1. Too much mindless cardio: The rows and rows of cardio machines facing a few big screen TV’s in most gyms seem like a good option for burning calories. But if you look closely, you’ll see that most people are simply watching they’re favorite shows as they passively pedal or stride away for 30 or 40 minutes at a time. This may seem like a great workout, but it is actually one of the least effective ways to lose weight and make a real difference. If you doubled the intensity, you could cut your time in half and you’d probably still burn more calories and get a better cardio workout.

2. Risky exercises and improper technique: Whether you’re adding new exercises to your routine or trying a new workout all together, please remember safety is paramount. If you get injured, you will have a much harder time reaching your goals. Invest the time into learning good technique, safe lifting habits and how to respect your own limits. Poor technique, bad movement habits and ignoring your limits all lead down one road, and it’s one you do not want to go down.

3. Inadequate rest: Lately, much has been made of the importance of a good nights sleep, but the significance cannot be overstated. As you try to workout more, you may find less time to sleep. Don’t let this happen; sleep is the one thing you cannot sacrifice in order to make more time to workout. Sleep is the most critical part of your recovery and without it, many other things can go wrong. A lack of sleep decreases your immunity, cognition, libido and can lead to much more serious cardiovascular problems.

Avoid these pitfalls and you will have the best chance of making your goals a reality. Good luck and if you have questions about this article, or any others written here, call Alliance Health for answers.

Chris Telesmanic is a Doctor of Physical Therapy at Alliance Rehabilitation in Fresno. He alternates writing this column with Dr. Maria Fermoile. Both will be happy to answer questions submitted to maria@alliancehealthfresno.com or chris@alliancehealthfresno.com. Learn more about movement, fitness and health in this space each week, or by going to www.alliancehealthfresno.com, or calling 478-5833.

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