Avoid These 5 Mistakes That Slow Down Your Fitness Progress

August 27, 2021

Getting the motivation to work out can seem like a feat in itself, let alone consistently putting in the effort to bring those fitness goals to the forefront.

But what if a few simple missteps are slowing down your progress? Let’s take a look at 5 common mistakes to avoid in order to get the most out of your fitness routine.

1. Not having a plan

Whether you are going to a gym, working out at home or sweating it with a friend in your neighborhood, you want to make sure you have a plan. What are you going to do? How often are you going to do it? Does this align with your overall fitness goals?

If you are looking to build muscle in your arms, you probably don’t want to focus your workouts on jogging the neighborhood. Be intentional about what you are choosing to do and then make sure to be consistent, a fitness necessity. You will not make those gains if you work out once every month or so. Find a plan for how many and what kind of workouts you are able to get in each week. Make sure to be realistic. Start small and work your way up so it is sustainable for your life and your schedule.

2. Not eating enough protein

When you work out your muscles they will tear in order to rebuild themselves to be stronger. This is why you might feel sore when doing a new workout that challenges certain muscles. In order for that muscle to recover properly and allow it to grow it’s imperative to ensure you are getting adequate protein in your diet. Protein is what helps to rebuild that torn tissue.

It is recommended to consume at least 15-25 grams of protein within 2-hours of your workout to achieve the best results [1]. If you are not hungry or don’t have a lot of time after a workout, opt for a protein shake to ensure you are still meeting your post-workout recovery needs. Be careful though, a lot of protein shakes have hidden added sugars that can sabotage your progress.

Make sure that the shake you choose has a good source of protein without tons of added sugars, such as this strawberry banana protein shake from Naked Nutrition. These plant-based protein shakes provide a whopping 20 grams of protein from yellow peas, making them vegan and vegetarian friendly, with only 5g of sugar from natural sources. This is an easy way to ensure you are meeting your post-workout recovery needs with bonus points for saving time while still providing a balanced snack.

3. Choosing the wrong pre-workout meal or choosing nothing at all

Fresh pina coloda cocktial with coconut milk and banana on the blu wooden background

If you are getting ready to workout, the last thing you want is to eat a large meal right before. This could result in bloating, upset stomach and nausea. You want to make sure whatever you eat is either fully digested or something that is quickly and easily digestible prior to heading to the gym. On the flip side, not eating before a workout can make it more difficult to perform.

It’s important to fuel appropriately before getting in activity. If you are planning your workout 2-hours after your last meal, a snack may not be necessary. But if going a longer period without food you might consider a pre-workout snack to keep you fueled and ready to crush it in the weight or cardio room.

An ideal pre-workout snack will include a small serving of easily digestible carbohydrate and protein such as peanut butter on toast or low-fat Greek yogurt with berries. You want to avoid anything too high in fat or fiber as this takes your body longer to digest and may result in discomfort during your activity. Another thing you can do before working out is take pre-workout powders, (you can learn more about pre-workout powders through reading reviews by The Nutrition Insider) to boost your energy levels which will result in a more fulfilled workout.  

4. Skipping the warm-up and cool-down

Urban fitness women running and climbing stairs for legs power and strength training. Female athletes working out outdoor in rainy winter day.

Nothing is worse than diving full force into a new exercise regimen and having to take a break to recover from an injury. Making sure you are warming up your muscles before working them out can mean the difference between starting to see some progress and spending your spare time with an ice pack on the couch.

Warming up prior to a workout allows better blood flow to your muscles and helps to loosen joints, decreasing your risk for injury. Always ensure you are giving yourself at least 5-minutes of warm-up time pre-workout. This can include 5-minutes of cardio or dynamic stretches to get your heart rate up.

Similarly, a cool down post-workout can also help prevent any potential injury that might halt those fitness goals. Allowing yourself some time to do some cool down stretches can help with recovery and improve muscle soreness. It’s easy to feel antsy to hop in the shower and move on once the hard part of your workout is over, but do not overlook the importance of these two pre and post workout requirements or you might find yourself out of the exercise game sooner than you expect.

5. Not taking rest days for recovery

Finally deciding to take charge and commit to a workout routine can be exciting, so exciting in fact that sometimes we neglect rest days in the hopes we will reach out fitness goals that much faster. I have some bad news for you, this will actually slow down your progress. Your body needs time to recover. Too frequent workouts without adequate rest in between can result in over-training, fatigue and even loss of muscle so don’t forget to take it easy on the days in between those workouts. If you still want to be active during this time, choose a low intensity exercise such as a walk or a leisurely bike ride to keep you moving without overdoing it.