The beginning of the New Year usually jump starts many of us into a health-craze leaving the majority of the newbies beaten after a couple short weeks of motivation. After the holidays are over I’ll agree that even I’m excited for the New Year, and to burn off all the junk I’ve been ingesting over the past couple months.
Unfortunately most people approach this New Year jump start completely wrong, and they become another “Resolutioner” who has bit the dust. It’s way too easy to get way overexcited when you’re first getting into a training and nutrition program that you go overboard. And when this happens it’s only a matter of time until you drown.
The truth all of us know is that diets just don’t work long-term. Sure, I can tell you to drink nothing but water and eat grapefruit for a week and you’ll definitely lose some weight. But, realistically, any kind of diet can only give temporary results because they don’t encourage you to build long-term habits.
But if the Resolutioners had taken things one step at a time while gradually progressing their involvement they would have been much more likely to not quit after a couple of weeks. In this blog post I’m going to give you 5 common bandwagon jumping mistakes most people embarking on a new fitness regimen succumb to.
I have absolutely zero hate towards marathons or those who run them all the time. My real problem lies with those who sign up to run a marathon in a fit of excitement even though they’re more out of shape than a four-sided triangle. I don’t have to mention there are much more efficient ways to get in shape than to run or train for a marathon, but I can see why some people really enjoy doing it.
The truth is most out-of-shape people who start training for a marathon end up injuring themselves because their bodies aren’t use to the high volume of training that’s required. If your heart is really set on running a marathon than I would recommend starting with a 5K or a 10K combined with some resistance training before you do a half or full marathon.
2. Running Barefoot
If you see me working out in the gym you’ll probably see me wearing my Vibram FiveFingers, and to me they sure are comfy. I usually prefer to wear the days I train my lower body because all of my joints feel better the next day. After I get a few weird looks from people they’ll usually ask me what I’m wearing on my feet, and I always give them the same stipulation.
I tell them that I wouldn’t recommend they start running or doing any kind of hard exercises while wearing them since they could easily hurt themselves. Most people have been wearing over-cushioned shoes most of their lives so their ankle joints are going to be a lot more stiff than mine. If you go from wearing shoes that resemble blocks of wood on your feet to practically going barefoot then it’s setting yourself up for an injury. I’ve heard horror stories of people who started running barefoot tearing their achilles after only a few times of doing it. If you’re really set on training barefoot then I’d recommend progressing slowly by first wearing a minimal shoe like the Nike Free and walking in your FiveFingers for a while before doing anything hardcore with them.
3. Zumba Dancing Madness!
There’s no doubt that getting up off the couch while actually moving your body until you break a sweat is better than nothing. Zumba definitely qualifies for this but it’s honestly not a very effective means towards getting real results. I’ll admit Zumba has done a great job for getting people excited about working out again by re-imagining fitness into dancing.
Also Zumba does incorporate high intensity interval training into their workouts so it’ll most likely be better than just going on a long walk. But just by doing a class like this a couple times a week isn’t going to give you any drastic changes. A typical class only burns about 369 calories so I would have to recommend dietary modifications along with additional training protocols to make some significant improvements in your body. So you don’t have to write of Zumba completely, although be aware you should be doing more than just this.
99% of Resolutioners have been sitting at their desks, in their car or on their couch for years and years. Their bodies are so out of whack that it’s a struggle to even teach them how to squat properly. This is why I wouldn’t recommend throwing them into a yoga class and expecting them not to injure themselves.
Incorporating some yoga into your training program will undoubtedly help to improve your flexibility, strength and mobility. Although, for those who are just beginning their new fit lifestyle I can’t recommend holding crazy poses for lengthy periods of time. If you are looking to do a lot of yoga seek out a great instructor who isn’t going to contort your body into a pretzel to the point of snapping your tendons like an overstretched rubber band that’s been sitting in the Arizona sun.
5. CrossFit… Is it the devil?
CrossFit is probably the most controversial training program today. It has become wildly popular, borderline cult and it looks like it isn’t going away any time soon. I’ve gone to a couple CrossFit boxes and I’m really torn with it.
CrossFit boils down to this. If done correctly you can burn a lot of fat while building lean muscle with their training programs. The problem with CrossFit is you never know if you’re going to get a coach who actually cares and knows what they’re doing. I’ve heard a ton of stories of people getting hurt because the guy coaching them had them do a ridiculous amount of reps for an exercise even though they hadn’t gotten off the couch in years.
But I’ve also met coaches who are very intelligent, caring and know what they’re doing. This combined with progress-able versions of their training programs can help people get the results they’re looking for. I honestly can’t give a blanket statement that I approve of CrossFit, but I also can’t make one against it. If you’re really set on trying CrossFit I would highly recommend doing some research by finding a coach who really knows what they’re doing and that they care enough to take the time to adapt the workouts to your current fitness level.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college level. He has over 10 years experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He hopes to be able to bring inspiration & results to people all over the world to live a healthier life through diet & exercise.