1. White Carb Creep
You can train intensely six days a week but if you aren’t eating the proper foods, it will go unnoticed. When it comes to the hierarchy of fitness, diet is at the very top and must be mastered in order to achieve a nice physique. You must limit your carbohydrate intake specifically white carbs. This includes white bread, white rice, tortillas, cereal, potatoes, pasta, fried foods and food with breading to name a few. Lastly, you want to eat cleaner carbs in moderation, such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, and oatmeal.
2. Not Sleeping Enough
Not getting enough sleep hampers your metabolism and will put a halt to your progress in the gym. This is due to two hormones by the name of ghrelin and leptin, which are associated with fat loss. Ghrelin signals the brain and tells you it’s time to eat. When you are sleep deprived your ghrelin levels increase, causing you to eat more. In addition, Leptin, a hormone that signals the brain to stop eating, decreases. Not to mention cortisol levels spike when you are sleep deprived, causing you to store fat. I recommend that you get 8 or more hours of sleep each night. I understand everyone’s life is different so at the very minimum you should get 6 hours of sleep.
3. Drinking Calories
It’s amazing how many people I meet that do not know that they are drinking their calories away. It doesn’t matter how strict your diet is, if you are drinking loads of soda and artificial juices filled with sugar, you are not going to see much progress. One of my clients recently lost nine pounds in 11 days by simply eliminating soda from her diet. No additional exercise, no change in her diet, she simply stopped drinking soda and now she is nine pounds lighter. It is wise to steer clear of juices as well. Stick to water. If you are looking for a little flavor try Crystal Light, which has little to no sugar.
4. No Focus & No Intensity
Cellphones, books and other distractions are rampant at many gyms. As a result, people are not exercising efficiently or as intensely. When you leave the gym you should be in a full sweat and feel the effects of your workout, which must be challenging and focused. Try putting your phone on airplane mode, time your rest periods, and go into the gym with a plan.
5. Understanding Cheat Day
Implementing a cheat day once a week may sound counterproductive but it just might be the key to losing weight. In order to lose weight, you have to achieve a calorie deficit, which is just a fancy way of saying you have to burn more calories that you consume on a daily basis. When you remain at a caloric deficit for approximately ten days or more your body will begin to store fat as a survival mechanism. So you need to take one day to eat a little more than you usually do to let your body know it’s okay to burn fat again. However, most importantly one must be at a caloric deficit for six to ten days before implementing a cheat day.
This article was originally published in Westchester Magazine.