Starting to exercise, all people want the same thing: to look good, feel good, be healthy and strong. Why can’t they always get it, even if they’re willing to work hard?
Mistake #1: No clear goal
Any girl is starting to practice setting the goal of “getting in shape,” “to tone the body.” At the same time, many add that they don’t want to lose weight and grow big muscles too. But behind “body shape” and “tone,” there are very specific things: body composition, which depends on the amount of fat and muscle in the body and the ratio of one to the other. This gives us different options for what a person might look like.
Little muscle and a lot of fat: an overweight person.
A lot of muscle and little fat: a slender, toned body, the very “tone” that everyone is waiting for. If the phrase “a lot of muscle” seems to be a huge performing female bodybuilder, then do not forget that these are always anabolic steroids – a lot and for years. In an ordinary person, “a lot of muscles” look different.
Little muscle and little fat: a skinny fat figure. In her youth, the girl is slim, but with age, she still goes into the category of “a lot of fat, little muscle.” Even with clothing size S, the fat-to-muscle ratio is not in favor of the latter.
A lot of muscle and (conditionally) fat: a powerful, stocky, strong figure.
The figure, tone, and shape depend only on the amount of fat and muscle and the relationship of one to the other. Only these two variables can be manipulated. Ideally, reduce fat and increase the amount of muscle in the body. The problem is that the human body is not good at doing both things simultaneously: fat burning and muscle gain require completely different and mutually exclusive conditions: different hormonal levels, different nutrition, and different physiological processes.
Realizing that fat cannot be turned into muscle, we can choose one of two things:
- Reduce fat and maintain muscle through diet and strength training. Muscles are not only not lost on a diet but also become toned and more voluminous due to the accumulation of water, and the fat left opens the relief. This changes the body’s composition: fat goes away, and muscles remain.
- Improve the quality of the body not by reducing the fat percentage but by increasing the amount of muscle. For many slender but dissatisfied with their figure and therefore forever losing weight, this option is suitable for girls.
We know that the best results happen when we set a specific goal. But what to choose when you want both? This determines the percentage of fat in the body. If the body has less than 24-25% fat, but the figure does not suit you, you can work on muscle growth. If there is more than 24-25% fat, you should first lose weight, even if you want relief muscles.
Thus, concrete things stand behind the abstract “tone.” Both options lead to a great figure over time; you need to be clear about what is happening and where it leads. Otherwise, there will be throwing, constant change of programs, and dissatisfaction with the results and oneself.
Mistake #2: Training and Nutrition Don’t Meet Your Goals
We can set goals but do the exact opposite and see no results. For example, a girl decided that she wanted to increase her muscles. But she continues to diet and do a lot of cardio because she fears gaining weight. Or they do not know that mass is not taken from the air, and muscles need building material and energy. In the same way, the house itself does not add up from the air – bricks and builders are needed.
Or the girl decides that her goal is to lose weight, but she chooses workouts suitable for muscle growth and does not follow her diet. Weight can not only stand still but also grow. Or she stops eating altogether and adds two hours of cardio daily, getting rid of those muscles.
Training and nutrition always go hand in hand with each other, and together they should meet the goals for a set of muscles, one scenario, for weight loss, another.
Mistake No. 3: an ill-conceived program
Often, workouts are devoid of even the most minimal program and look like a messy set of exercises that change from workout to workout on purpose.
A variety of exercises is good in itself. Working a muscle from different angles in different exercises improves results if the goal is muscle growth. Still, people go to extremes by doing dozens of the same types of exercise in one workout.
Too long workouts can be shortened without losing results. It is enough to remove the superfluous, duplicative, and secondary – and give all the best, getting better results.
Mistake #4: Too light weights, no load increase
For muscles to grow, they need to be loaded. If you’re new to strength training, body weight and those pink dumbbells are enough. But as soon as you become stronger, you need to increase the load. For example, you can start with bodyweight squats, add dumbbells, and eventually move to a barbell. Squatting for months with one weight or no weight is ineffective.
Mistake #5: No workout diary
This part error follows from the previous one, when the same program, the same exercises, the same weights for months, and sometimes for years.
A training diary is necessary for everyone who plans to train for the result. This is one of the most important tools for working with a figure. It is simply impossible to keep in mind a huge number of parameters for each workout. A person who trains without a diary will not always remember what and with what weight he did a couple of weeks ago and cannot set a goal for a couple of weeks in advance. This is a completely failed approach to training. It may turn out that a person has imperceptibly reduced working weights over time, from which there are no results.
Mistake #6: Too Much
Daily two-hour workouts with a ton of exercises for different muscle groups, 40 minutes of cardio after. On non-strength days, fasted cardio and/or group classes. If the enthusiasm is great for the first couple of weeks, then with each new day, it becomes more and more difficult to maintain such a regimen. But many do so because they constantly hear:
- You must suffer to see results.
- Nothing will work if you don’t “kill” yourself in training.
- You have to leave the gym on all fours. Otherwise, the training is not worked out.
- Work harder and longer if you don’t see results.
If we suffer, we will be rewarded for it, so it seems absurd to advise doing less to get more and that achieving good results does not require an extreme approach and workout.
To some extent, you have to get out of your comfort zone. But in fitness, as in medicine, there is the concept of a dose-effect curve: up to a certain point, an increase in the “dose,” that is, efforts, leads to greater, better results. But after reaching a certain point, the effect stops increasing or even decreases with increasing dose.
The word “dose” is associated with drugs, and it is easy to understand this by their example. The dosage is always written in the instructions. If you have a headache, 200 mg of ibuprofen or another similar drug relieves pain. 50mg is too small and ineffective, but there is no point in taking 800mg because it is not only ineffective but also dangerous. Strength training is just as powerful for the body. However, according to the principle, women completely forget about the dosage and practice “the more – the faster and better the result.”
The body does not have time to recover in the special forces regime, and exhaustion, overtraining, and injuries quickly set in.
The body needs to be given stress to get it out of its comfort zone, but the stress must be controlled. No need to drive yourself and apply at once everything you hear and read at the same time.
Mistake #7: Spontaneous Forays into Fitness
Why is it so difficult for some to make fitness part of their lifestyle? Many women have unrealistic ideas about how much they need to exercise to get results. They believe they should be in the gym six days a week for an hour and a half to two hours. When they can’t pull off such a regimen and miss a couple of workouts, they think everything is in vain and give up classes.
Others don’t find time to train little by little but regularly and take the approach of “working off the two missed weeks in one three-hour workout.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. The best results are not for those who give everything 100 times a week or two, but for those who are engaged in a program that is compatible with the schedule and life and does a little bit regularly and gradually increases the load.