By Blake and Gwen Beckcom | Fitness
Many people who spend hours in the gym try to get lean and toned, but sometimes achieving their goals turns out harder than anticipated. So, what do people have to do to actually tone their muscles and see some definition?
Getting a fit body requires completing a variety of exercises, including increasing your endurance and intensity, building muscle, and improving flexibility and balance. To make your body look fit, you need more muscle so it can reveal itself on your body.
However, this requires more than a few weight lifting sessions. Many gym-goers make critical mistakes when trying to tone down their bodies. Here are seven habits that you should avoid.
- Working alone
Don’t jump right in. While you may want to begin running or join a gym and play around with the machines, if you don’t know what you are doing, you probably won’t achieve the results that you desire. Instead of making up your workouts as you go along, consult with a professional to learn how to work out effectively.
Whether it’s a one-on-one coach, a boot camp or fitness class, having a professional lead you in the right direction and keep you accountable is important when you are starting to work out. They will make sure you work harder and consistently, which will help you produce results.
- Repeating the same workout
It is great to start out with a commitment to a certain workout program. However, doing this for too long can lead to a plateau which will halt your progress. Your body will adjust to your exercise routine over time, so it’s important to change it up to keep your muscles guessing and growing.
Switch up your tempo or mix in some strength training with your cardio. Any way that you can adjust your exercises throughout the week will help you achieve results.
Do your normal routine backwards. Cut the same routine up in thirds, which gives you interchangeable members that offer a wide variety of options. It can be that simple.
- Not eating enough protein
Although you may be inclined to cut calories when you start a new exercise regimen, you should make sure that you are still getting enough protein. Your muscles use this protein to recover, repair and grow. If you are not getting the protein that your body needs, your muscles will not be able to adapt and grow, which is not helpful when you’re trying to tone your muscles.
Try adding more healthy proteins to your diet like eggs, fish, lean meats, beans and high-quality protein powders. Ask yourself at every meal: “Where is the protein?” This alone will go a long way in helping you balance your diet. Download apps like MyFitnessPal to keep track of your protein intake throughout the day.
- Not committing enough time
You need to give your workouts enough time and intensity in order for them to be effective. If your workouts don’t feel challenging, then you are likely not doing enough and your body will not change. You want to finish your workout with a healthy amount of sweat and some weakness in your muscles.
It also takes time to see results, so don’t be so hard on yourself. Just show up, work hard and “lather, rinse, repeat.”
- Eating too much avocado
While avocado is known to be a popular superfood that has a lot of nutrition, it is important to remember that they also have a lot of calories. These calories add up quickly and end up being stored as fat. The same is true of nuts — good for you, but lots of calories. Be mindful of your calorie intake while you are trying to tone up your body.
- Getting dehydrated
Your body needs water throughout the day to function properly. If you don’t drink enough water, you will become dehydrated, which leads to fatigue, hunger, and a slow metabolism.
Also, your muscles are not able to properly recover after a hard workout if you are not hydrated and your body cannot effectively burn fat. Try to drink at least half of your bodyweight in ounces of water daily. A simpler alternative is drinking four 20-ounce bottles.
- Not sleeping enough
Working out results in small muscle tears to help strengthen your muscles, and these tears need time to heal themselves. If you are constantly working out without taking a break you can get into a “recovery hole,” keeping you from achieving the results that you are looking for.
Make sure that you are getting enough sleep and rest to prepare your body for its next workout. Aim for seven to eight hours. Try shutting down sooner, decompress, turn off the lights, turn down the air and get some Z’s.
—Blake and Gwen Beckcom run Fitness Together Mission Hills. Contact them at fitnesstogether.com/missionhills or call 619-794-0014.