When you’ve got your Nikes on, but simply can’t do it, these are the things you’re perpetually trying and probably getting horribly wrong.

Here’s 23 motivation mistakes and how to course correct your attitude and hook your veins up to an endless I.V supply of motivation.


Motivation Mistake 1 – You play a daily game of crime & punishment

Punishing yourself with an extra workout for missing one, or eating nothing but salad after a cheat meal won’t get you to your goal faster, says a paper in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

It’s more effective to find and implement an alternative solution to the problem.

So, when you skip a workout, don’t punish yourself; rather construct a contingency plan, like a 10-minute home workout, and you’ll be less likely to miss that workout next time.


fitness motivation mistakes


Motivation Mistake 2 – You think cutting carbs should Be a long term gig

A short-term low-carb diet may help you fend off fast food cravings by between 10 and 20%, according to data published in The FASEB Journal.

Just make sure you reintroduce carbs after a while to protect your strength and any hard-earned muscle mass.


Motivation Mistake 3 – You’re scared to try something new

Resistance training and life have one main thing in common: they place immense stress on your body.

A good way to counteract this? Yoga, says a study at Elon University.

They found just one hour a week can help reduce the physical effects of stress and also aid your mental health.


Motivation Mistake 4 – Justifying your blips in self-control

It would be nice to believe self-control ebbs and flows, but it is, in fact, more constant, found a paper at the University of Toronto.

Switching up tasks through your day will mean no dip in your motivation and ability. Don’t write off that weakness because you’re just as mentally strong every day.


Motivation Mistake 5 – What’s your training partner’s middle name again?

Most gyms can be daunting for a newbie, but Ball State University, Indiana, found training with a buddy can boost the weight you lift by up to 33lb.

It’s good to use your competitive spirit to spark more motivation, better if you’re so tight with your training partner you’d be willing to share a beer with them.


Motivation Mistake 6 – Being ashamed of your ego

“There is nothing wrong with being ego-driven as long as it is kept from being apparent to others,” says Kurt Schley, a 50-year veteran weight trainer who competes in the NPC masters bodybuilding class.

“Having, or being on the road to attaining, a superior physical condition naturally fills one with self-confidence.”


Motivation Mistake 7 – You think hydration is more important than water quality

There’s no guarantee about the quality of your water, but taking note of its worth will make you more amped up for training.

London-based researchers found your brain function is boosted by up to 31% with adequate hydration.

A smarter brain is one that’s de-stressed and ready to learn what its host is capable of.


Motivation Mistake 8 – You think worry is a negative thing

But this has been linked to preventative health behaviors, found a paper at the University of California.

Worry tells your body that something requires action, keeps the stressor at the front of your mind and motivates change.

Plus, any other state is more pleasurable – especially that post-training buzz.


fitness motivation mistakes


Motivation Mistake 9 – You aren’t filtering the sweet stuff

We scoff up to three times the daily recommended amount of sugar and Baylor College scientists found higher portions were linked to increased instances of depression.

Sad sacks aren’t getting off the couch because researchers are finding that high sugar causes mental ailments – a big player in your keenness to stick to your routine.

Adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to certain foods and drink is a way smarter option to counteract the sweet sensation.


Motivation Mistake 10 – You neglect nuts

The University of New Mexico studied the effect of walnuts on participants and found that there was a 28% improvement in positive moods.

These good vibes can help you keep your mental composure if you’re always “hangry” after all those calorie restrictions.


fitness motivation mistakes


Motivation Mistake 11 – You think working more adds more value than family time

Don’t let your goal overtake your life so relationships suffer.

The University of Montreal found three positive effects of eating meals at the family table: increased general fitness, lower levels of sugary, soft-drink consumption and better social skills.


Motivation Mistake 12 – Thinking that learning was for when you were a child

Train your brain, too. Scientists from the University of Basel found investing in a self-help book can ease your mind threefold, with a positive effect on stress, burnout and wellbeing.

Just 20 minutes a day will ease the nagging stresses that can prevent you from exercising.


Motivation Mistake 13 – You’re not setting a stretch target

It’s low impact, but will at least lure you into an exercise setting to hit this objective.

Make your stretching target tangible, like touching your toes with your knees locked, and you’ll be more likely to get the workout done so you can cruise toward your end goal.


Motivation Mistake 14 – Your goal is to lose weight and be fitter

This is as nebulous as it gets, so choose something with a little more direction that’s unique to you.

A study in the Journal of Health Psychology surveyed 104 adults and found those who lived with a greater sense of purpose also engaged in more physical activity.

Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise every day to improve mind and muscle.


Motivation Mistake 15 – You’re not scoping out your body fat

Paying too much attention to the scales is a bad move. Muscle is of a greater density than fat, and subcutaneous fat (what you see on the outside) is only half the problem.

Visceral fat attaches to your internal organs and so an accurate assessment of internal health is needed.

A “bod pod” produces a clearer reading in those whose BMI is much greater.


exercise adherence strategies


Motivation Mistake 16 – You believe encouragement is better than competition

Penn State University offered people a free 11-week exercise program and were divided into groups.

The competitive groups stuck to it more than the support one. The latter drew attention to less-active folk, which led to a downward participation spiral.


Motivation Mistake 17 – You don’t power down the ipad an hour before bed

Sleep is crucial for a positive mood, while also staving off weight gain and optimizing your hormonal function, but devices interfere with the process.

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found it took 60% longer to get to sleep after having used an iPad at night.


Motivation Mistake 18 – You don’t submit to your cravings

Excluding all the food and drink you enjoy is a sure-fire way to fall off the wagon.

If you’re a big soda drinker, opt for the diet version for some enjoyment.

The six-month CHOICE study found both water and zero-calorie soda aided weight loss.


Motivation Mistake 19 – You try not to think of Your insecurities

“Overcompensation can be a beautiful thing,” explains Kurt Schley.

“We all have something we don’t like, but anyone with an actual or imagined shortcoming will mentally compensate by becoming physically superior to the surrounding population. The superiority does not necessarily have to be on public display, just knowing it can be a potent salve for nagging feelings of inadequacy that’ll keep you coming back for more.”


Motivation Mistake 20 – Your supplement strategy isn’t working

There’s a lot of locker-room hearsay relating to supplements.

Many people have avoided consuming caffeine and creatine together – perhaps because of a misconception that the former is a weight-loss agent and the latter a muscle-builder.

In fact, a study in the Journal of Exercise Physiology showed that a combination of the two can actually enhance your power output by up to 68%.


Motivation Mistake 21 – You’re running on empty

It has long been thought that morning cardio on an empty stomach elicits greater fat loss results, but this is broscience that isn’t grounded in truth.

Researchers from the Universities of Sydney and New England, Armidale, collated data from the five major studies relating to fasted exercise.

While fasted cardio may provide some psychological benefits, it does not produce any noticeable effects in fat loss or body composition. Take home message: eat.


Motivation Mistake 22 – You’re not periodizing your training

Exercise is a one-off workout with no end goal in sight. Training is a methodical approach whereby each session in the gym is a cumulative step towards an overall outcome.

Such is the effectiveness of periodized training, that the Methodist University of Piracicaba discovered a 12% increase in fat loss when you structured training into hypertrophy, strength and endurance mini-cycles each week.


fitness motivation mistakes


Motivation Mistake 23 – You’re too regimented with your supplements

You used it once, now it’s a must-have in your cupboards, but you’re better off discovering new formations and branching out.

A pre-workout supplement rich in the nitric oxide amplifier Nitrosigine can aid your cognitive performance by 46% while boosting your focus by 33%.

Cellucor’s C4 pre-workout is one such example.


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