A lot of people want to lose weight, for a variety of reasons. Most of us achieve this by cutting out calories and increasing the amount of exercises we do and this tends to work. However, inevitably, we reach some sort of plateau. Either we stop losing weight, we become burned out or we can’t stick to our diet. Most of us then feel like a complete failure, but the reality is actually that we are making a number of mistakes, which can easily be avoided.
Mistake 1 – Training Too Much
When it comes to working out and dieting, the golden rule is less is more. You may feel that if you cut more calories or workout out more, you will see more results. In reality, however, you will leave yourself barely able to cope. If you are cutting your calories, you already don’t have sufficient nutrients to truly sustain your body. If you then also increase the amount of training that you do, it quickly becomes obvious that you will wear yourself out.
“Exercising excessively or incorrectly can backfire on your health in a number of ways. Your body can enter a catabolic state, in which your tissues break down.”
What you should do instead is what is known as the “minimum effective dose,” which means you do as little as possible while still seeing results. Three sets of around one hour a week are more than enough.
Mistake 2 – Doing Isolation Work
Most bodybuilders do targeted isolation work. This is a fantastic idea if you are trying to bulk up, but you are trying to lose weight. If you do this when you are on a calorific deficit, it will backfire tremendously. In fact, it will start to eat up any muscle tissue you do have.
The solution is to do exercises that target the whole body. Also make sure you go through the full range of movements, including pulls and pushes. This way, you start to build up some muscle tissue, while at the same time burning up your fat reserves. Once you have reached your target weight, you can start thinking about bulking up those muscles.
Mistake 3 – Too Much Cardio
Cardio is a firm favorite amongst people who want to lose weight. It gets your heart rate going and burns a whole lot of calories, so it must be good for you. It is certainly true that cardio should be an integral part of your weight loss regimen, but there is such a thing as too much as well. Remember, less is more! Again, you are at significant risk of burn out.
“There is this horrible misperception in our society about fat loss. A lot of people think that if you starve yourself and do two or three hours of cardio each day, the fat is just going to melt off. Actually, performing too much cardio will put your body in a catabolic state and burn hard-earned muscle. The loss of muscle will not only reduce strength, but it will also slow down your metabolism. If your metabolism slows down too much, you’ll have a tough time burning fat.”
If you want to lose weight fast, it is far more important to focus on your diet. Keep the calories down and do only a bit of cardio. This will increase your metabolic rate, leading to weight loss.
Mistake 4 – Cutting Muscle
We all know that to lose weight, we will have to cut. Cut your food intake, and you will start to feel hungry, which is hard to deal with. Plus, there is a chance that you start eating up your muscle tissue. You need to treat your muscle as a sacred thing.
Hence, make sure you follow the Eat Well plate and consume enough protein, fat and carbs to sustain yourself. Although reducing your calories is vital to weight loss, you should not cut more than 10% to 20% from your maintenance level. Remember that you are also working out, which means you’re burning more.
Mistake 5 – Cutting Too Clean
Clearly, if you’re going to change your diet and lifestyle, you will also focus on getting what calories you are allowed to eat from clean, wholesome foods. Nothing wrong with that. However, there is a chance that you start to be too restrictive, and you won’t be able to sustain this. If you never allow yourself that little biscuit, you will only crave for it more.