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The 3 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes Beginners Make

The 3 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes Beginners Make

There are a few costly mistakes that people make when trying to lose weight. Here are the most common ones to avoid making.


We've all been there. That moment when you catch a good look at yourself and hate what you see. You make a plan and swear this time is going to be different. 

Maybe you get a new gym membership or you buy some new piece of equipment you saw online that guarantees incredible results. You might even make some great progress but sooner or later it all falls apart. You lose momentum, the good habits get replaced by the old ones, and you find yourself worse than when you started.

These are the frustrating moments when many people give up. They write off fitness all together in favor of the easy way out. In talking to many people who struggle with this, I've found that many of them make three simple mistakes and if they corrected them and adjusted their approach just a bit, things would turn out differently. 

So I'm going to address these three big mistakes that you're probably making and tell you how to fix them so you can finally hit those fitness goals and get yourself in the shape you want to be in.

Too much cardio and not enough resistance training.

 Photo: IBX Insights

Photo: IBX Insights

Let me start this by saying that some exercise is better than nothing. Unfortunately, too many people focus on the wrong type of exercise. You see, cardio has it's place and it can be incredibly effective at burning calories and improving cardiovascular health. But cardio, on it's own, is not the best way to lose weight.

This is the biggest mistake beginners make. Their instinct is to go right to the treadmill, elliptical, or stairmaster when they're trying to lose weight. They have their place but they're not the only things you should be using in your quest to drop pounds.  

Here's the solution. 

The research has been pretty decisive: high intensity interval training and weight training are superior to cardio when it comes to one thing in particular. That's Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC. This is your body using oxygen to return to its normal metabolic rate after a strenuous workout. And more oxygen used means more calories burned. 

The other thing is how important resistance training is for improving your body composition. It's simple. More muscle equals less fat. Don't worry, you're not going to end up looking like a bodybuilder from this. You'd need a ton of other things to achieve that and if that's what you're looking for, you're in the wrong place.

Using external resistance, from weights, machines, or your own bodyweight, is critical for several things. It helps to prevent the natural loss of muscle that comes with aging, it protects bone health, and increases your resting metabolism even more than traditional cardio. 

Don't be afraid to include strength training in your fitness routine. It can be as simple as bodyweight exercises, like push-ups and air squats. Strengthen your muscles and watch how your body composition improves. You can still do your cardio but just remember that a more complete approach to fitness includes multiple forms of it.

Consuming too many liquid calories.

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but the calories you're consuming from drinks are probably doing the most damage to your weight loss journey. They often go undetected, lost among the carb-cutting and salad-loving strategies we tend to adopt when we're trying to drop pounds. 

The single biggest mistake people are making when they're trying to change their dietary habits is not addressing the amount of liquid calories they're taking in on a daily basis. It's the soda, Gatorade, juice, and beer. All of them are laden with sugar, carbs, and calories. And you can drink a whole lot more than you can eat before you feel full, so it's easy for us to take in far too much at a time (does anyone ever have just one beer?). 

Here's the solution.

If you're going to get serious about dropping body fat, you need to address your liquid calorie intake. Cut out all of the beverages that contain high amounts of sugar, which is damn near everything that's out there. No more orange juice, no more French Vanilla creamer in your coffee, and no more Gatorade (yes I said it again because for some reason many people think Gatorade is good for you).

If you're looking for ideas on how to get through your day without all of the drinks you're used to, here's what I drink on a regular day: black coffee in the morning and afternoon and water all day. Put some lemon or lime in your water to give it some taste if that helps. Maybe a glass of red wine once or twice a week. That's it.

Thinking short term.

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Losing weight and keeping it off is a long term thing. You can't be focused on what you're going to do for a few weeks or months. Think about it as a permanent lifestyle change. It's a forever kind of thing. 

It's fine to set short term goals or targets for where you want to be by a certain point in time. But it's important to not get caught up in that temporary thinking. Fitness is something that should be a part of your life from now until the end. 

If you don't exercise, you have a much higher risk of sickness, disease, chronic injury and early death. Just knowing that is enough to make me exercise daily so why don't more of us stick to our fitness routines?

You're going to encounter many salespeople trying to market to you the easiest way to get fit and lose weight while doing as little as possible. You will see "30 days to a flatter stomach" and "12 week diets" and some might actually be successful to varying degrees. These short term fixes are faulty.

Time and time again, people try these diets and workout routines only to find themselves worse off down the road. The reason for this is simple: they fail to consider the long term.

Here's the solution.

Reaching your health and fitness goals should be a road that doesn't end until your final days on this planet.

Changing your eating habits or adopting a workout routine should not end when a goal is met. Your goals should be nothing more than checkpoints along your lifelong journey to achieving a healthy and fit lifestyle.

Commit to a lifestyle change that never ends.

Bottom Line

Invest in your future health with just a few minutes each day now and think about the priceless return you'll get later. Regular exercise is critical for a long and healthy life. Don't make these common mistakes, reap the benefits, and enjoy the journey.

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