3 fitness pitfalls to avoid in the New Year

Is getting in shape an annual resolution that you wish to permanently cross off your list? The road to health is paved with good intentions, however there are many pot (pie) holes and rocky road (ice cream) blocks that are detouring you to the same dead end each year. Here are the top three mistakes that are keeping your gut in a rut:

You are your own worst enemy. My father has always placed an emphasis on being the captain of your own ship. You have the ability to achieve all your fitness and health goals, but you must have a strong wind in your sails first, because you are going to encounter some rough seas from time-to-time in the life-long journey of achieving and maintaining good health. What am I saying here? You cannot push forward and go the distance if you're filling your brain with negative thoughts of defeat, or if you are beating yourself up because you haven’t hit your weight-loss or fitness goals immediately.

Have patience with yourself. You didn’t put on the weight overnight, unless you were a participant in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, and you won’t drop the weight overnight either, unless you're weighing yourself on the Moon. There is nothing sadder than standing in your own way of success. Avoid setting unachievable goals. While you may want to lose ten pounds in your first week at the gym, this is unrealistic. A healthy weight-loss goal would be losing one-to-two pounds per week. Be kind to yourself.  

Cheaters never prosper. This year you can have your cake and eat it, too. Allot yourself one day a week to indulge in a meal you desire. Does this sound too good to be true? Well, it is. While you are entitled to a day of decadence, when the clock strikes twelve you will turn into a pumpkin if you break your Fitness Fairy’s wishes. There are pros and cons to the cheat day. The upside, your cheat day is like a gold medal, congratulating you on eating healthy all week. On the flip side, a cheat day can be the doorway to disaster if you decide, “Hey, what’s the harm in having two cheat days?” Sorry friends, this is a one day offer. The benefit of behaving badly once a week is that you reset your fat torching hormones, which are responsible for regulating your insulin and metabolism.

The cheat day is not for everyone. The alternative method I prefer is to eat in moderation. If you have a sweet tooth and want a piece of chocolate, have a York Peppermint Paddy Mini after dinner. If cheese is your weakness, keep reduced-fat Laughing Cow Cheese in your refrigerator, or substitute spaghetti squash for pasta. The bottom line - use common sense. Don’t eat or cheat yourself out of your weight-loss goals.

Pick up the pace. Unless you are cramming for a last minute final, or the fate of the free world depends on you finishing the last few squares on the New York Time’s Crossword Puzzle, there is absolutely no excuse for reading while exercising. Save your leisurely exercise for a walk in the park, not when you are in the gym. If your heart rate is not elevated due to a lack of intensity, then you are not burning calories. The number one fitness machine responsible for encouraging leisurely exercise is the Recumbent Bike. While this bike is a great tool for rehab patients, or for those with back ailments, its seat-back position is a little too comfortable for most healthy individuals. The only feature missing from this bike is a popcorn and Raisinets dispenser to add to the enjoyment of spinning your legs 1 MPH, while you watch reruns of “Who’s the Boss.” If possible, opt out of this La-Z-Boy bike and go for an upright one that will encourage core activation and good posture, instead. 

The only person standing in your way of health and happiness is yourself. Set realistic goals and don’t lose sight of your ambitions. Setbacks are normal and expected. Stay the course, be kind to yourself and above all know that you are capable of achieving all you desire in this life. No more excuses. Today is the beginning of the rest of your life!

Earn it.

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.