We look in the mirror and think, “Ugh, I’m still so fat,” and so we punish ourselves with a low-carb diet and a 5 a.m. WOD. We’ve all had the thought that we could be happier if we just changed our physical appearance or were able to do something physically difficult. We set goals and work hard for a short period of time, but then we often give up. We look in the mirror and think we’re not good enough, so we punish ourselves by trying to do more.
Sometimes we unknowingly sabotage our own efforts to be healthy. It might be as simple as skipping a workout or eating unhealthy foods. Here are some signs that you might be self-sabotaging your efforts to be healthy, as well as some tips on how to overcome them.
You’ve taken “less is more” a little too literally
If you want to get strong and fit, stick to the basic movements. However, if you’re interested in overall fitness, you should try new things and new activities.
You’re overly wedded to one school of thought
If you discover SS, Leangains, or CrossFit, it can be a game-changer. For example, SS provides clear, concise instructions for all the major lifts, which is the sort of information you would usually only get from a personal, highly skilled coach. Leangains makes it possible to gain strength and lose fat without much effort. CrossFit becomes addicting because of the community, variety, and intensity, and it is especially effective when you first start out. However, I have heard from people who read the book, followed the program, and now feel like anything less than low bar squats three times a week is pointless – even if it’s no longer the most effective way for them to train.There are many popular and effective fitness programs available, but it is important not to get too tied to any one of them and to remain open to trying new things. This is the only way to continue developing and progress in your fitness journey.
You’re on the wrong program
It has been three years, and you are still progressing linearly. You might be on an advanced program when you are actually a beginner. You need to be on the right program to get the results you are looking for. I cannot tell you what you need specifically, as there are thousands of people reading this. What I can say is that you should assess your progress truthfully. Review your training log, if you have been keeping one. Have you been getting stronger or have you hit a plateau? Are you getting faster or are you staying the same? Look at where you fall on the scale of strength standards to figure out if you are a novice, intermediate or advanced lifter, then choose your program based on that information.
You’re not incorporating nature into your workouts
Though research does not indicate any difference in strength or stamina, exercising outdoors has been shown to be superior for improvements in mood, self-esteem, and stress reduction. Try taking your workouts outdoors to reap the benefits.
If you focus on one aspect of fitness to the detriment of others, you will not be as fit as you could be.
You don’t have to be able to do everything, but it would be helpful if you could ride a bike, swim a lap, hike for an hour, run a mile, and lift some heavy objects. I find people who are extremely athletic impressive, which is why I was interested in marathons and triathlons for so long. However, if you want to be a top performer in an elite sport, you have to be willing to sacrifice your overall athleticism. Back when I was one of the top runners in the country, I was much weaker in the weight room than I am now. I was also less flexible and couldn’t do anything but train for my specific sport. Today, even though I am older, I am probably a better overall athlete than I was then and I am doing a lot less work than I did then.
Eating the wrong foods
What you put in your body before and after a workout makes a difference. Even if you are eating the right amount of calories for your fitness goals, you might be harming your workout by eating the wrong foods. Yes, you can lose weight by eating ice cream, but would you be able to improve your strength or do well in a CrossFit class? Most likely not. What you eat before and after a workout makes a difference.
The best way to maintain a healthy diet is to focus on consuming the right amount of macronutrients, especially protein. Use a tool like My Fitness Pal or Macros, Inc. to calculate how much protein, carbohydrates, and fat you should be eating each day.
Based on your personal preferences, you can adjust the amount of carbs and fat you consume. By logging your food intake, you can get an idea of how much you are straying from the recommended amount of protein. Almost everyone falls below the amount of recommended protein intake.
The average person who is not active should consume 0.36 grams of protein per pound while some experts suggest that active adults need more than double that amount.
Being the clown
It’s hard to resist the temptation to go into a workout knowing it will be difficult, and not complaining or making a show of how hard it is. Maybe a few people around you will laugh or join in.
If you’re not in the right mindset, you won’t be able to perform well. A lot of being in shape is mental preparation. If your workouts need a lot of focus and energy, you won’t be able to do them properly if you’re not ready mentally.
Keeping negative thoughts to yourself while you’re working out will make it easier to overcome the urge to quit. I used to be that person, so I know it’s not easy. But eventually, the negative thoughts will become less and less frequent.
Assuming a power pose, or a position of strength and confidence, before beginning a workout can help you to perform better and feel more mentally prepared.
The to-do list
A to-do list can be daunting if it’s full of items that will be challenging to complete. It’s natural to start with the easy tasks and save the harder ones for last.
This means that my workouts are pushed back more and more because it takes time to get the kids ready, drive to the daycare, and get upstairs to workout. I usually get called back to the daycare to get my screaming one year old.
I find it tempting to get instant gratification from doing things like cleaning up the kitchen, doing the laundry, and pulling the weeds. But I know that the payoff from getting workouts in is worth the challenge in the long run.
Sometimes I have to get up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym before my daughters wake up for the day. On other days, I still have to take them even though the weather is bad or there’s a chance I’ll get called away from my workout 15 minutes in.
Cheating the rep and the set
It is common in CrossFit and weightlifting to neglect the form of the rep or movement, or to intentionally cheat.
All too often, people waste their time working out inefficiently. Why bother spending an hour working out if you’re just going to half-heartedly squat or do pull-ups with bad form? You’re not going to get any benefits from this type of workout.
Working with a coach can help you learn the proper way to do things and be held accountable for your actions.
It was tough to learn this lesson after years of CrossFit, but it’s essential to take breaks if you want to get stronger and lift heavier.
Starting Strength is a linear progression program created by Mark Rippetoe. Novice athletes follow a schedule of squatting three sets of five reps, three days per week with one full day of rest in between. Each session, they add five pounds to their squat. This continues until they reach a weight where they can no longer do the required reps, at which point the sets and reps change, but the recovery time often stays constant or increases.
The goal of lifting is to get stronger, so your body needs time to repair the muscles between sessions to be effective.
You’re not having fun
Workouts should be challenging, but they should not make you dread their arrival or hate your life. Taking on a workout routine needn’t require Norwegian death metal, head butting the power rack until a mild concussion sets in, and the reception of three to five hard slaps to the face to get you psyched up. If not having fun is your thing, cool. What I’ve found, though, is that the perpetually hard and miserable and bad workout routine is a recipe for disaster and ruin. Remember what I always say: I train so I can play. If you can make your workouts look and feel like playing, even better.
You’ve forgotten about mobility.
If you want to be as fit as possible, you need to focus on your joint mobility. This will allow you to generate more power and avoid injuries.
Fear of failure, and success
About a couple weeks ago, I read a post by Amiyrah Martin recognizing that her self-sabotaging habits were stemming from a fear of success.
In her post, she writes that success is inevitable, but people often try to get in its way. She says that people lie to themselves about not needing more success because they don’t want to lose friends or family members who aren’t ready to reach the same level.
Whenever I see someone succeed at something they’ve worked hard for, it feels like a punch in the gut. I often tell myself “I look good enough” or “I’m happy with where I’m at” even though I know I could do more and want more. I shouldn’t have to apologize for that. I have to work for that.