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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Ustrzycki

6 Goal-Related Workout Mistakes You're Making

Often seen as New Year Resolutions, many people make goals of working out in order to lose weight. As a trainer and coach, “weight loss” is the number one goal that I see and hear from people. And to be completely honest, I would say that’s the main reason WHY people workout and go to the gym: because they want to lose weight.

We already know the difference of weight loss and fat loss. We learned that in my Nutrition101 infographic. If you missed this, put this article on pause, pop over to my website’s FREEBIES category, and under the Nutrition101 page, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about! Ok – back to the article here.

These are the most common mistakes that I see people making when they’re trying to lose weight on their own (it’s different when we work together as a team, as part of #courtsathletes) and I want to dig into some more detail on each of these points, to make sure you’re not falling victim to them!


1. Setting vague goals without tracking progress.

This would include goals such as, “lose weight” or “get healthier.” Because really, what does that even mean? We want to set SMART goals that look like this:

S: specific – example: losing 12lbs of total body weight

M: measurable – example: tracking your weekly progress via body weight and measurements

A: achievable – example: if you have a deadline (see “T” below) then is this actually going to happen? In any goal, lifestyle changes need to occur, so we want to ensure that this goal is actually achievable and you’re not setting yourself up for failure

R: realistic – example: ensuring that these 12lbs to come off of your total body weight are actually possible and more importantly, not going to cause any negative affects towards your lifestyle or health

T: time-bound – example: setting a deadline will help hold you accountable towards this goal

2. Setting unrealistic goals.

Too often I see people setting goals that are way above and beyond what’s realistic.

I see people wanting to lose 30lbs but they’ve never done this before.

They want to get really strong, yet they don’t even have a gym membership.

They want to be “bikini body ready” in 6 weeks when they’ve never followed any nutrition diet style or done exercise.

They want to run a marathon, yet they work 16 hours a day and don’t have time to do anything outside of their full time job (like training for this marathon).

If you are truly overweight (and I’m not talking about just having some slight muffin-top love-handles going on) and really need to lose 30lbs, then you can expect to see anywhere from 0.5-1.5lbs of total loss a week, and that’s IF your nutrition and workouts are both aligned. Remember the importance of nutrition, always! You cannot out-train crappy nutrition habits.

See where I’m going with all of this? This is a sure sign of failure right from the beginning, and we don’t want this to happen! So setting SMART goals that are actually realistic is crucial!

3. Lack of planning.

To say something is one thing, but to actually do it, is another entirely. Planning ahead week to week; setting small deadlines and milestone markers in order to achieve and match your time-bound SMART goals is how you’re going to set yourself up for success and actually achieve what you want to do. Planning is crucial!

If you say you want to wake up and start working out in the mornings, yet you only actually woke up maybe two or three times entirely last year, what makes you think it’s going to happen now? What’s got to change? Plan head for what’s realistic in your life!

4. Not eating enough calories.

The biggest thing I see with people who want to workout is that they aren’t eating enough. Eating too little (ie under 1200 calories, which is what most people see when they start tracking their food intake – NOT something I recommend, by the way!) can cause your metabolism to respond to a slower intake, which therefore means your body learns to work on less energy. And then what? You need to keep cutting back on calories in order to break plateaus... and that eventually leads down a very slippery (erm, unhealthy!) slope. So eating MORE, slowly, and according to you body composition and goals, is going to help.

For more information on how to increase your caloric intake (on your own instead of with a coach), please read my blog post: Eat More Without Gaining Fat

5. Neglecting balance.

Go hard or go home? Not likely.

One of the most common problems I see is that when people set workout goals, they usually start on Monday and go balls to the walls! Full force like a freight train into the week. And guess what happens? Friday comes and they crash hard! And that’s not balance by any means! Right? You need to find a balance in your lifestyle to make your workout goals (and any goal for this matter!) stick long-term. Make sure you’re getting your required sleep, plenty of water, balancing your nutrition, and making sure you have time in your life for leisurely actives with friends and family that you love to do. When you can find a balance with all of that, and make working out a healthy part of this balance, then you’re going to be able to win at your goals.

6. Skipping strength training.

When many people workout to lose weight, it’s often seen in the sense of cardio. And sure, cardio has its time and place and it’s important, but when we’re talking FAT loss in the gym, we want to push strength training because that’s going to do way more than just burn body weight. Strength training is going to promote lean mass (the opposite of fat mass) and also burn fat mass (keeping it in simple terms here!) Cardio alone is going to affect both, if done too often and too hard.

Hopefully you don’t fall victim to too many of these 6 goal-related workout mistakes that are often seen in society. You’re part of my newsletters and a supporter of Courtney For Life, which makes me know that you’re smart and know how to apply the proper tools in order to achieve success with your goals!

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