We asked a personal trainer for some expert advice about getting fit in the new year, and this is what he had to say.
This is for any women who may be on that new year, new me vibe. It's 6 of the most common misconceptions/mistakes when it comes to working out. That's not to say that men don't need guidance. Being the dense animals that we are, we actually require even more IMO. In no particular order, here you go:
1. Fear of lifting. Ladies, if you lift weights, you will NOT look like a man. I often hear women say they want to get in better shape, but don't want lift because they don't want to get big. Typically a female lacks the required amount of testosterone to build big bulky muscles. It's even tough for guys to pack on muscle. When women do lift, they get toned, not huge. So don't worry about being allergic to iron, if you touch it you won't get swole.
2. Being a cardio queen. A lot of people get on the treadmill and attempt to run away from bad food choices. Anything that burns calories is good, but if you spend an hour or so running every workout, you will stagnate. Nerd alert! This process is called general adaptation syndrome and it means your body will adjust to the stress and the runs will become easier. Sounds good right? Well, not really. It also means because your body can run with more efficacy, it requires more to burn the same amount of calories. Instead try high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is alternating between periods of all out exertion and periods of rest or less exertion. The most famous HIIT method is the Tabata Protocol. Named after Japanese sports medicine doctor Izumi Tabata, it's 8 sets of 20 seconds of high intensity (doing as many reps as you can or running/peddling as much as you can), followed by 10 seconds of rest. Also, affectionately referred to as 4 minutes of hell. You can download a free Tabata timer for Android or Apple in the app store.
3. I just want a move to get rid of my under arm fat (or other random spot). This is a myth called spot reduction that people fall for. There is no move that burns fat from just one area. The body burns calories evenly, unfortunately. The most common spot reduction trap is the sit up or crunch. Everybody wants abs, but you don't burn many calories doing these moves and if you do thousands of them every workout (like some of you do), without doing something to torch calories, you run the risk of actually making your stomach look bigger (😮 ). On top of that, most people are hunched over a computer all day in a state of flexion, so the last thing they need is more flexion. So if you want to get rid of those love handles or thighs, you need to challenge yourself with workouts that burn calories. A safe general rule of thumb is to do your lifting when you are fresh and high intensity work after.
4. I don't want to go to the gym because I am too self-conscious of how I look. This one blows me away. The gym is for people who want to improve themselves. Everybody has to start somewhere. Health and fitness are a marathon, not a sprint, so just focus on your next step. Stop comparing yourself to the woman on that magazine cover. Photoshop, great lighting, and professional photographers put in a lot of work to create that illusion. Keep in mind even those fitness models had to start somewhere, so get your butt in that gym.
5. Diet and fitness fads. Just no. There is no detox tea, slim wrap, super vitamin or pyramid scheme supplement that will replace consistent hard work. You also can't flush fat and your liver is the only real detox that works.
6. Carbs are bad, no dairy, no meat, no alcohol, no pizza, etc. Food is fuel. You need it. Do not starve yourself or your body will begin to store fat. Also food is not a reward or a guilty pleasure. Unless you have a known trigger food that makes you over eat, then anything in moderation is fine. Eat real food. Limit processed artificial junk. When you workout, your body will need healthy food to recover and repair.
Remember that fitness should be fun! If you enjoy your workouts, you will have a better chance of being consistent which leads to hitting goals. If you find that you are having a hard time progressing your workouts or challenging yourself, hire a professional. Personal trainers do the hard work of planning out a customized program and ramping it up or down a notch to get you where you want to go.
See you in the gym 🙋 💪👊
More About Jason
Jason Uga is a personal trainer, wellness coach, massage therapist, and Hall of Fame martial arts instructor who now calls Palm Beach, FLA home.
**This has been updated and revised from a post that appeared on the site in January 2017.