Unrealistic Fitness Goals You Should Avoid from Never Set These Unrealistic Fitness Goals

Never Set These Unrealistic Fitness Goals

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Unrealistic Fitness Goals You Should Avoid

The hardest part about working out is getting started. The second most difficult phase is setting goals. You are sabotaging your fitness routine and setting yourself up to fail without them. People are different and they struggle with various obstacles to lose weight – personal habits, genetics or work. The key is to set a realistic goal because this is the only way you’re going to stick to it.

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Losing more than 2 pounds a week

You often see diets that guarantee you to lose 10 lbs in 7 days. “A realistic weight loss for most people is 1-2 pounds per week,” Ingrid Wentzel, ACE Personal Trainer & Health Educator, says. “It may sound boring and slow, but can be maintained better than rapid weight loss.” No diet that guarantees rapid weight loss should be trusted, Wentzel warns. “Most scale weight lost in the beginning of a diet is due to water loss, with more loss of body fat coming over weeks or months,” she adds.

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Doing everything right

“Avoid entire lifestyle overhauls overnight,” Melissa McClusky, Mobile Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach, says. “One of the most common mistakes that I see while trying to adopt a more fit and healthy lifestyle is trying to do too much all at once,” she adds. People become overwhelmed and, as a result, they aren’t able to stick with the plan and end up jumping ship altogether. “Depending on where you are in your fitness journey, less can absolutely be more,” she adds. In the book The Power of Less, Leo Babauta says that when only one habit is adopted per month, success rates can be as high as 80 percent. But when people try to increase to two habits per month, their success rates for either habit plummets to less than 20 percent.

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Working out every single day

“If someone is used to exercise and comfortable doing something every day, I say go for it. But take one to two easy days each week so your body can recover, like walking, light yoga or a really good stretch out,” Wentzel says. People who are new to exercise are better off planning 2-4 days of activity per week, and then actually doing it. Overtraining is one of the worst things you can do to your body. The muscles actually get toned during the recovery stage when you’re resting.

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Following a strict diet

“Calorie controlled diets that are nutritionally balanced absolutely do work for the short term,” Wentzel says. “Many people make the mistake of not having a ‘phase 2’ plan for coming off a strict diet, and after losing weight [they] just go back to how they were eating before,” she adds. Oftentimes, McClusky adds, if you choose to follow that route, you will end up worse off than where you started.

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Trying to spot-reduce

The idea that you can lose fat from a specific body part by working the muscle near it “makes no sense because muscle and fat are gained and lost in different ways,” Wentzel says. The logic is simple: To help the body lose fat and keep muscle, people have to use more energy than they take in. “The reality is that it takes time, and varies depending on age, fitness level, nutrition status and effort,” she adds.

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Aiming for a thigh gap

“This is one of the latest media-inspired trends that are unrealistic for most women past their teen years,” Wentzel says. “Since our hormones cause us to hold body fat in our hips and thighs, having a gap between the upper thighs typically indicates very low body fat or is simply a function of individual anatomy,” she adds. Having strong and toned thighs, on the other hand, is an excellent goal.

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Thinking easy does it

Unfortunately, when people decide they want to work out to lose weight, “the expectations usually exceed the results,” Wentzel says. “One reason for this is that it takes a lot of exercise to burn enough calories to see results if we don’t change [our] food intake as well,” she adds. Another mistake is not matching the exercise to the goals. The third and possibly most common mistake is not using enough intensity to trigger the changes they want.

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You look for instant abs

This is every person's goal. But you can’t achieve it no matter how hard you try. “It’s because the combination of toning muscles and losing body fat most people are looking for actually requires effort,” Wentzel says. “The other piece of the pie is consistency over time.” Getting started is easy. Everyone has figured that one on January 1. But keeping the momentum going takes a different level of commitment, especially if results don’t come instantly, as people usually find out by February 1.

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Losing weight for a specific event

“Often times, I’ll have clients [who] want to lose weight for a certain event, but they will not give themselves and adequate amount of time to do it,” McClusky says. They’re not consistent in the gym, and they’re unwilling to make any meaningful changes to their current nutritional intake. “This, unfortunately, is not a reasonable way to obtain weight loss success,” she adds.

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Counting calories

“I do think that calorie and/or macro counting can have its place, but for most people who are just trying to be healthy, feel and look good, learning portion control will be much more realistic and conducive to their accomplishing their long term goals,” McClusky says.

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Trying to look like a celebrity

You don’t have the same body type as Cameron Diaz so don’t aim for thin legs when you’re more like Jennifer Lopez – blame genetics for that. Don’t try to look like her either because what you see in magazines is not what she looks like in real life. Photoshop and other design programs have been showing a false representation of celebrities for years.

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Having arms like Madonna's

It’s in women’s genes to accumulate fat in the back of the arms. The older you get, the longer it will take to build muscle there and the harder you’ll have to work to maintaining it toned and strong. Women just don’t have enough testosterone. Depending on your muscles fibers, it’ll take at least six weeks to see any changes in definition. The muscles are made of two different types of fibers, responsible for all gains: Slow-twitch, which generate less power making it more difficult to build muscle; and fast-twitch, which do the opposite.

Never Set These Unrealistic Fitness Goals