13 Common Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Fitness Goals

13 Common Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Fitness Goals

Studies have shown that fitness can boost your energy levels and help you build lean muscle, lose weight, reduce risks of chronic diseases, make you happier, etc. You have set your fitness goals and worked hard to attain them but you have no results to show for your efforts.

If your commitments are not yielding commensurate results, you need to be sure you are not making these mistakes that can ruin your fitness efforts. Thirteen of these fitness mistakes are discussed below.


If you often feel your workout is too easy and your motivation is still soaring, you may be undertraining. Remember that you can still get a small level of results with undertraining. But, why would you perform below your capacity when you get better results with increased training load?

The commonest signs of poor training are lack of improvement in performance. You can identify this sign through consistent monitoring of objective fitness metrics. If your training is not engaging and you feel bored, they won’t stimulate your mind.

Poor performance and occasional workouts are just enough signs that you are undertraining. You need to up your game. Occasional high-intensity workouts could help redefine your limits without pushing you beyond the boundaries.


Excessive training is as bad as poor training. Your muscles need to recover between successive workouts. Otherwise, your performance will begin to dwindle and you may not attain your fitness goals.

The chances of achieving close to 70% of your training potential with overtraining are high but your possibility of injury will also be high.

Training more than normal will lead to fatigue, changes in mood and eating habits, reduced motivation, constant soreness/discomfort, depression, troubled sleep and the worst of them is decreasing performance and fitness results.

Recovery strengthens your nervous system and muscles. You need to discuss with your coach on how to optimize your workouts to maximum performance and results.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation leads to poor exercise performance and could make your workouts feel like you are climbing a dangerous mountain. Poor sleep can ruin your motivation to work out, leading to increased fatigue.

A study published by the National Institute of Health revealed that sleep deprivation results in a lesser likelihood of completing your workout session compared to when you have restorative sleep; thus, the shorter your sleep, the poorer your performance.

Disrupted sleep will make workouts tougher than you could imagine. This is because your muscles found it hard to restock its energy stores.

This could limit muscle functions because of muscle glycogen burnout which limits total muscle work capacity. Sleep also helps to restore your immunity and endocrine system which aids production and distribution of testosterone and growth hormones.

A publication on Researchgate.com revealed that sleep boosts protein synthesis and mobilization of free fatty acids which supplies energy and repairs muscle after a training session. Eight hours of sleep is recommended.

Protein Deficient Diet

A recent study revealed that one-third of adults over the age of 50 fail to meet the recommended daily allowance for protein. Older folks are not the only people deficient in protein intake. Those who follow a restrictive diet can also suffer the same effects.

Bodybuilders, wrestlers and other strength trainers may self-starve their bodies to gain lean muscle, leaving them nutrient-deficient. Inadequate intake of protein happens when you eat less than the optimum amount of protein your body needs.

Your body needs protein to recover from workout sessions and rebuild worn-out muscles. It’s key to muscle growth and increased strength. Insufficient intake can lead to loss of lean muscles and reduced muscle strength.

It could also lead to weakness, cramps and soreness. Consuming protein-deficient diets is a sure-way to muscle wasting. It could also result in low rates of wound healing and reduced collagen formation.

For effective muscle and strength growth, you need enough protein intake. Take care of what you eat. If you are on a workout, the minimum quantity of protein per day is 1g per kilogram of body weight. This means that if you weigh 60kg, your protein need per day is 60g of protein.

Highly Processed Food

A recent study by the University of Chapel-Hill revealed that 60% of the food purchased in the United States are highly processed. This has health implications, especially for bodybuilders and strength trainers. The quality of the food you consume is equivalent to the results of workout sessions.

Nutrients are essential in optimal muscle building especially pre- and post-workout. For increased fitness results consume protein, carbohydrates and fat 2 to 3 hours before your workout especially if you are not on a balanced meal. This will enhance your muscle glycogen production, protein synthesis and increased endurance.

During your post-workout, your muscles are primed for growth and with poor diet or meal, breakdown of energy molecules are bound to happen. If this is the case with you, you can supplement with protein shake just after your post-workout. This will help maximum nutrient absorption and muscle gain.

Dehydrated Body

Dehydration is bound to happen at some point in life. This could result in headache, low energy and dry mouth. Dehydration even in its mildest state can negatively affect your performance in subtle ways.

You can figure out if you are dehydrated by observing your urine. Darker urine is a sign of dehydration. This is unhealthy for your fitness goals. This may necessitate that you keep bottles of spring water handy during your workout.

You may also aim to drink a minimum of 2 liters of water daily. It’s also essential to note that those endurance athletes who go on the marathon distance need to understand that not only is taking a sufficient quantity of water essential, replenishing their electrolyte is equally basic.

High-Stress Lifestyle

Achieving your fitness goals will be extremely difficult if your lifestyle is characterized by stress. The reason for this is simple. Rather than your body focusing its energy on muscle repair and building, its energy is spent on managing stress.

The stressed body releases cortisol which breaks down muscle and promotes fat storage. Stress limits your body’s ability to recover fast after workouts.

Additional stress to the ones your body cushions during and after workouts could lead to excessive muscle tension which causes muscle spasm and lowered focus. These are easier ways to increase the risks of injury.

Not the Right Balance of Macro Nutrients

Macronutrients (fats, protein and carbohydrates) are the energy-giving chemicals needed in large amounts for efficient body functions. The amount of macronutrient balance needed for effective workouts differs from one person to another.

One person may tolerate little carbohydrates without packing pounds while another person may need as much as he could get. What you need is a proper understanding of your macronutrient need per day. You can set a fitness goal but need to consult a dietician on how much you need daily.

Get started with USDA Supertracker. Once you get a better idea of what needs to be done, you can start planning your meals. For instance, if your body’s macronutrient needs are 100grams of protein, fats or carbs in a day, you may choose to get 20grams of each of the macronutrients if you get five meals daily.

Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is not healthy. It will not help you achieve your fitness goals. Eating food that makes you feel comforted or better is not preferable when you’re hungry. You tend to consume more calories than needed when you indulge in emotional eating.

With emotional eating, hunger hits you suddenly and makes you feel overwhelmed and urgent need to eat anything. In this state, everything sounds good to eat.

This can make you crave for junk food and sugary snacks to cushion that instant hunger. To start addressing this eating habit, learn to respond only to the need for physical hunger which comes naturally and gradually.

Binging on Alcohol

If you have ever done a workout on a hangover, you will realize that it’s a mere waste of time. Not only will alcohol make it easier for you to pack pounds due to its high calories with no nutritional value.

But, it can also dehydrate you inducing more stress on your body. If binging on Alcohol is already part of your lifestyle, you need to start limiting the quantity you consume.

The big problem with alcohol binging is that it decreases your testosterone levels and increases the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone in your body that works to decrease muscle-building efforts, induce muscle damage and decrease your overall muscle strength.

Skipping the Stretch

If you have formed the habit of working out without stretching, you are in for serious sabotage of your fitness efforts. Stretching lowers your muscle stiffness and helps to prevent injury.

Working out without stretching leaves much stress hormone in your body because stretching helps your body to recover after an optimal workout.

Forming the habit of stretching before a workout is proven to curb muscle soreness and reduce your risks of injury while improving workout performance. You must also avoid static stretching when you do.

Stretching will also help to limit tightness which will not allow muscles to pull on joints thereby limiting potential serious pain. The rule of thumb is to give yourself ample time, about 5 to 10 minutes to calm down and open up your muscles after every workout.

Skipping Pre-Workout Meals

A recent study revealed that skipping pre-workout meals can affect how you handle food for the rest of the day. This could limit how much food you eat. The best way to stay on track of your fitness goals is to ensure you eat one hour prior to your workout.

A powerlifter is supposed to have a healthy and balanced meal that contains both carbs and proteins. This meal needs to be consumed one hour before weight training. A site like Southfloridaathleticclub can be a helpful resource to get informed about a nutritious pre-workout diet chart for beginners.

A piece of nutritionist advice says avoid rich-fiber cereals as well as peanut butter prior to your workouts. Fiber and fat help to keep food longer in your stomach. It is also ideal to have your food digested before you begin your workouts.

A good workout meal is a protein. However, prior to your workout, consume carbs because they are capable of powering your workouts. Carbs will help you to avoid glycogen exhaustion and prevent both physical and mental energy collapse.

Comparing yourself to others

When it comes to enhancing mental toughness and performance, social comparison is merely normal because it serves as motivation and sometimes gives direction. Outside its motivational purpose, it is unhealthy.

The man or woman with toned abs perhaps may have inherited the body shape. This means that she builds muscle faster than you could imagine. Social media images are sometimes altered and you need to change your focus.

Rather than comparing yourself to others, compare yourself based on your fitness journey. Compare yourself to yourself, looking at the progress you have made so far. This helps you to keep the focus on self-improvement. Be aware of your thoughts and check your thoughts against comparison.


Attaining your fitness goals could be simpler and easier than you think when you make conscious efforts to get rid of the above-discussed mistakes that can ruin your fitness efforts.

Avoid both under- and overtraining, ditch alcohol binging, stretch before workouts, take your pre-workout meals, take enough sleep, eat balanced and quality meals, stay hydrated, reduce stress and balance your macronutrients needs while focusing on self-improvement.

This content is brought to you by Daniel Bailey.

Photo: Shutterstock


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