It’s the time of year that makes me hate walking into stores!

As soon as you get inside the doors, you see aisles and aisles full of school supplies. There is nothing more depressing to me.

Even though I have been out of school for a long time, the years of trauma from the back-to-school blues are still fresh in my mind. The summer days are coming to a close, the vacations are ending, and the sun will be gone before we know it… ūüôĀ

If you are like me and most other people, you are not ready to say goodbye to the relaxing days of summer.

But, there is a bright side to consider for us fitness folks and people who want to get healthy: With the approach of the new school year comes a more predictable routine that helps you succeed. When you are able to create a plan and stick to it 80-90% of the time for 6-12 weeks, you will have yourself some success!

Today I am pointing out 5 of the BIGGEST mistakes people make when starting a fitness routine:

  1. Not sticking to the plan – There is a really wise strength coach named Dan John. He said, “The goal is to keep the goal the goal!” As simple as that sounds, it could not be more perfect for you to hear. Too often we start something without creating the goals or periodically reassessing goals. For those of you that do have goals, don’t get side tracked. See your plan through and then determine if a change of course is needed. Keeping the goal the goal requires patience.
  2. Not having a routine written/printed out РI think one of the biggest values at BEST or any other decent training gym is having a 4-5 week  training program in your hands that you can see and write on. It is a routine that you follow for an entire month, and it is pre-planned with a goal or a quality of fitness in mind. This helps with number 1 above. It keeps you constantly chasing 1 or 2 purposes in the gym rather than doing a hodgepodge of exercises thrown together on the spot to make you sweat.
  3. Not lifting enough weight¬†– I have had two women in the past week ask me, “Does heavy lifting make you bulky?”¬†The answer is a resounding, “NO.”¬†In nerd speak, heavy lifting, which is a completely relative couple of words, simply activates high threshold motor units and all of the muscle fibers they innervate. (What the hell does that mean!?) It boils down to this: When you lift heavy you get stronger. That is all – It’s all neurological.¬†If you lift heavy AND eat in a calorie surplus, then THAT is when you will get bigger and bulkier. The increased amount of food here is the main thing that makes you bigger…NOT the heavy lifting. If you lift heavy as all get out and eat in a calorie DEFICIT, you will maintain muscle mass, get stronger, and lose both weight and inches. That is what we call a win-win-win, folks!
  4. Not taking before and after assessments – When it comes to progress assessments, I always tell BESTies to “take them and forget them.” Let me take this a bit further. The first mistake is being to scared to take initial assessment, but even when some do, the second mistake is an overwhelming tendency to dwell and judge their progress negatively. In the¬†healthy fitness world, we do not judge our progress assessment negatively, because we know we are on a long term journey. Self-compassion will carry you a lot further than self-criticism.¬†Don’t be derailed by negative mind games based on arbitrary deadlines. Although, deadlines can be really helpful, and should be set. (This is like 3 mistakes in 1!). Helpful assessments are photos, girth measurements, and some subjective assessments – like this fitness scorecard
  5. Not getting accountability from wise friends and coaches¬†– One of the most overlooked areas of your success is your social support system. I always tell my clients The Crab in the Bucket parable because every time someone starts at BEST, they hear this from their friends, “You do not need to do that! You are beautiful!” or “I can’t believe you are paying all that money! Can’t you do it by yourself!?” or “You don’t need to change the way you are, just eat and enjoy life!” Sound familiar? Well, those comments come from crabs, my friend. Here is the parable:

A man was walking along the beach and noticed another man casting his fishing line over the end of a pier. As the first man drew closer to the fisherman, he saw that the bait bucket had no lid, and to his surprise, it was full of sea crabs crawling on top of each other. Knowing the crabs could certainly escape, the man wondered why there was no lid. He asked the fisherman, “Why isn’t your bait bucket covered so the crabs won’t escape?”

The fisherman explained, “You need to understand that if there’s a single crab in that bucket, yes, it could certainly escape. However, since there are so many, if one tries to crawl out, the others grab onto it, making sure it can’t escape so it will meet the same fate as the rest of them.”

There ya have it, 5 mistakes (maybe 7) you won’t make this fall when the back-to-school blues strike and your new routine is beginning!

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