Nicole Nam has a Bachelors of Science in Public Health Nutrition Specialization and a Masters of Science in Kinesiology. She has a personal training certification from the American Council of Exercise, and has trained a variety of clients, including a contestant in this year’s Miss Nevada competition. Follow her on Instagram here.
As a personal trainer, I see a lot of my clients struggle with information overload. So much contradicting information is thrown at you that you don’t know wtf to believe. I always want my clients, and Betches readers, to approach every piece of information you read/hear/come across pertaining to fitness and wellness with a subjective mindset. No two bodies are the same—so what works for one person might not work for you for many reasons, whether it’s biological makeup or cultural preferences. (Example: you won’t find me on the keto diet—I’m Asian, I was raised on rice and noodles and carbs.) Fitness and achieving your dream body is about finding what works for you.
That said, I want to give you five general diet and exercise mistakes that I’ve seen hinder my clients’ progress despite their age, their genetic makeup, and their lifestyle. Get ready for some harsh truths. Take from this article what you will, because maybe some of these mistakes are things you’re doing and finding success with. If that’s the case, IGNORE ME. Listen to your body first.
1. Doing Only Cardio, Or Only Weights
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A lot of my beginner clients were cardio addicts. They loved cardio because it’s easy. It’s one movement for an extended period of time—they don’t have to mess with equipment, they don’t have to come up with a routine, and they don’t have to learn how to properly execute movements. But weights changed their lives. The thing is, cardio alone will not give you the muscle tone that you want. What it WILL do is make you lose weight. Whether that’s good or bad is up to you. On the other hand, if you hop on social media you’ll see fitness models praise the weights-only method. They don’t do cardio, or they’ll do 15 minutes max. They lift heavy weights only. From personal experience, doing weights ONLY (especially if you lift medium-heavy) can cause weight gain (due to increased muscle, but the same amount of fat) and a bulkier look. Again, whether that’s good or bad is up to you. My clients want to lose fat and increase muscle simultaneously, so the best solution that I have found for myself AND my clients is to split it 50-50. If we have an hour to work, we do 30 minutes of cardio with 30 minutes of weights.
2. Not Drinking Water
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Drink that sh*t. It helps your body to recover from physical activity, flushes out toxins, and it will also help you figure out REAL hunger—not hunger from thirst or hunger from boredom. Don’t drink Vitamin Water, don’t drink diet soda…WHY. Why do that to yourself? Your body doesn’t need that. Your body needs clean, pure WATER.
3. Not Taking Days Off
How I work out:
-Run a mile or whatever
-Spend the next 2-3 days too sore to move
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) February 11, 2019
Some of my clients are super ambitious and strong-willed, or they’re working on a time crunch to be a certain size. They’ll train a total of six days a week, and do the same body parts all six days a week. Then they’ll complain to me about not seeing results. Well sweetie, that’s because you’ve torn down your muscle fibers to shreds! You’ve not given the fibers time to repair themselves (which is where you see results). Regardless of their deadline, I require my clients to take two days off from training a week and take one day to do restorative low-impact exercises such as yoga or Pilates. The other four days, you have my permission to go balls to the walls with it.
4. Trying To Outrun A Bad Diet
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I can’t help you work off all the bullsh*t you eat if you’re steadily eating bullsh*t. Just because we did a 90-minute session does not give you an excuse to eat whatever you want, especially if you’re serious about your goals and ESPECIALLY if we’re working with a four-week deadline for your wedding. Throw out all the crap in your house, and do not restock your cupboard with all that damn junk food just to torture yourself. What are you gonna do? Stare at it, until you give in and finally eat it anyway? That’s not going to work. There’s a reason they say “you can’t outrun a bad diet”.
The more you cook, the more you know what is going into your body. Try to find the joy in cooking, even if it’s something that a 6-year-old could make like scrambled eggs. Keep eating out at restaurants to a minimum if you’re trying to lose weight. That’s because restaurants’ main concerns are the taste of their food and their Yelp reviews—they could give a damn about your fitness goals. For example, restaurant scrambled eggs often have unnecessary sh*t like cream, cheese, or tons of butter that could turn your innocent scrambled eggs into a calorie bomb. Invest in a good nonstick pan, make your own scrambled eggs and spinach, and you’ve probably just cut the calories in half.
5. Not Taking Vitamins
When your body is deficient in a certain vitamin, it translates into a craving. Craving “fatty” foods like butter and cheese? Could be a lack of Omega-3’s. Craving chocolate? Maybe your magnesium levels are low. Craving super salty or super sweet foods? A zinc supplement could help. Bottom line is, when your cells are hungry you will most likely be too. This is also the case for those that are cutting out whole food groups such as those on any low-carbohydrate or low-fat diets.
Now that you’re aware of these common diet and exercise mistakes, you can stop falling into these traps and start achieving your fitness goals.
Images: betches (2), dietstartstomorrow, daddyissues_ / Instagram; betchesluvthis / Twitter