Seven things to avoid when trying to get in shape

January 23, 2016

It’s that time of year again. People all over are trying to shed the extra weight gained over the holidays. Before you jump on the bandwagon, be sure to arm yourself with factual information and don’t fall for these seven mistakes.

Fad diets

Gluten free, juicing, low carb and other diet fads are great examples of short-term solutions that gain popularity because the media touts them as quick ways to lose weight. In many cases, there is little science behind them and they will not produce results. Instead, learn nutritional basics that will give you an advantage by helping your body become a more efficient fat burner. Eat five to six small meals a day. Consume more protein from quality sources, such as fish, eggs, chicken and other lean meats. Try to drink eight to 10 glasses of water a daily and eat low-glycemic carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, oatmeal, brown rice, and breads and wraps made of 100 percent whole wheat or other grains. Cut back on sugar consumption and replace it with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Quick weight loss

Beware of diets that promise a large amount of weight loss in a short period of time. They may sound good, but they are a short-term solution to a long-term problem and can actually cause you to gain more weight in the long run. The average person can expect to lose two to three pounds a week without losing lean tissue and degrading their metabolism. Larger people with a lot of weight to lose may lose more. The bottom line is, though, if you lose five to 10 pounds in a week, you didn’t lose fat and more than likely will damage your metabolism and gain the weight back quickly plus a few extra pounds.


To consistently get results in the weight room you must also rest properly. Failure to do so will cause overtraining. This basically means you are breaking down your muscles faster than your body can repair them, which can lead to any number of unpleasant side effects, such as extended soreness, muscle tears, joint injuries, loss of energy and lack of progress. People who spend too much time at the gym are the most likely candidates for this condition because they never allow their muscles to recover before they begin working them again. They get confused between working hard and understanding how the body reacts to exercise.

Going fat free

America has been brainwashed into believing that all fats are unhealthy, but not all fat is created equal. There are good fats that are essential to your health, so be sure to include these fats in your diet. Studies show that good fats have a variety of health benefits including lowering bad cholesterol levels, greatly reducing the risk of heart disease and maintaining healthy skin, nails, hair and brain function.

Also, they help boost your metabolism and aid in weight loss. Good fats can be found in foods such as olive oil, fish, almonds, avocado, peanut butter and flaxseed oil. So get rid of the bad fats and replace them with some of the healthier options.

Avoiding all carbs

It seems the whole world has waged war on carbohydrates, but most people don’t realize that without them you wouldn’t even be able to move your little finger. Carbohydrates provide your body with much-needed energy stores that help you think, move and get great workouts.

With that said, not all carbohydrates are considered equal. There are good carbs and bad carbs. Good carbs include grains and vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, oatmeal and brown rice. Bad carbs are usually processed foods that include white bread, sugary cereals and white rice.

Calorie counting

The old adage that you must burn more calories than you take in to lose weight is simply outdated and unsustainable. It makes much more sense to focus on rules that teach your body to burn fat than it does to burden yourself with mathematical equations. Eating smaller, more frequent meals, whole fibrous foods and proper portion sizes along with a good workout that includes cardio and weight training can super charge your metabolism and lead to quality weight loss.

Frequently checking your weight

If fat loss is the goal, it’s important to periodically check your weight to monitor progress, but be sure to do it correctly. To accomplish this goal, check your weight once a week on the same day first thing in the morning before you eat or drink. This way you will get an accurate and consistent result to gauge the success of your program.

So as you pursue your fitness goals in the new year, avoid the above mistakes and arm yourself with factual knowledge to accomplish your goals.

Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out for training tips, news and inspirational stories.


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