5 Fitness Mistakes I Made and How You Can Avoid Them

training tips
Fitness mistakes

I wish I would have learned these lessons sooner!

1. Carbs are a Friend, Not an Enemy

Understanding Macronutrients: Carbohydrates are often misunderstood in the fitness world, but they are crucial for energy, recovery, and performance, especially in high-intensity sports like CrossFit.

Fueling Your Workouts: Proper carbohydrate intake can fuel your workouts more effectively, leading to increased performance and endurance. Carbs provide the energy needed to power through intense sessions and recover efficiently afterward.

Mental and Physical Energy: Carbs also play a significant role in mood and cognitive function, which can affect motivation and overall performance.

Initially, I severely underestimated the importance of carbohydrates when I started my fitness journey, leading to constant fatigue and subpar performance for YEARS. Once I balanced my macronutrient intake, especially by increasing my carb consumption, I noticed significant improvements in both my energy levels, workouts, and performance. In 2018, I qualified for the CrossFit Games and took 3rd place, thanks in large part to this nutritional adjustment.

2. Don't Train Through an Injury

Listen to Your Body: It’s vital to recognize the difference between good pain (like muscle soreness) and bad pain (injury pain). Ignoring injury pain can lead to more severe issues and longer recovery times.

Modification Over Cessation: Rather than stopping completely, modify your training to maintain fitness while allowing your injury to heal. This approach keeps you active and reduces the risk of losing progress.

Focus on Recovery: Emphasize the importance of rest, proper rehabilitation, and not rushing back to full intensity. Prioritizing recovery ensures long-term health and performance.

I made the mistake of training through plantar fasciitis a couple of times, trying to push through the pain. At first, I thought I could manage it with a bit of extra stretching and some ice, but the pain persisted and eventually worsened. This misguided approach not only exacerbated the condition but also significantly prolonged my recovery time. It took much longer to heal than it would have if I had initially listened to my body and taken the necessary steps to address the injury properly. Through this experience, I learned the importance of modifying my workouts and prioritizing recovery.

3. Salt is Way More Important Than I Thought

Electrolyte Balance: Salt is crucial for maintaining hydration and electrolyte balance, especially for athletes who sweat a lot during workouts.

Performance Enhancer: Adequate sodium intake can improve performance and decrease the risk of cramping during long or intense workouts.

Recovery Aid: Sodium plays a role in muscle recovery by helping to replenish lost minerals and fluids post-exercise.

Early in my fitness journey, I underestimated the importance of salt in my diet. I was hesitant to add enough salt (even though I was drinking a self-made recovery drink with a pinch of salt). Then, I came across advice from experts like Dr. James DiNicolantonio, who emphasized the crucial role of salt for athletes. I decided to make a big increase in my electrolyte intake and immediately noticed a difference. I felt more energized during and after workouts. Over the past couple of years, I've made it a point to ensure I have enough salt in my diet. This adjustment has led to a substantial improvement in my performance, highlighting the importance of proper electrolyte balance for any serious athlete. Incorporating adequate salt has been a game-changer, allowing me to train harder, recover faster, sleep better, and achieve my fitness goals more effectively.

4. A Masters Training Program is Better Than a Program Made for Younger Athletes

Tailored to Maturity: Masters programs consider the physiological changes that occur with age, such as reduced recovery capacity and altered hormonal profiles.

Injury Prevention: These programs often place a higher emphasis on injury prevention and joint health, which is crucial for longevity in the sport.

Sustainable Progress: Masters programs focus on long-term sustainability and gradual progress, which is essential for maintaining fitness into later years.

For a few years, I trained with a program designed for individual athletes. During that time, I found myself constantly beat up and plateaued. The volume was simply too much, and I wasn't seeing the improvements I hoped for. It wasn't until I transitioned to a masters training program, specifically tailored to the needs and capabilities of older athletes, that I started to flourish. The appropriate volume and intensity adjustments made a significant difference. I was able to avoid injuries, recover better, and maintain consistent progress. This change proved far more beneficial than following programs designed for younger athletes, highlighting the importance of training appropriately for one's age and stage in life.

5. There Are No Shortcuts

Consistency Over Intensity: Consistent effort over time yields better results than intense bursts of activity followed by burnout. Slow and steady wins the race.

Patience is Key: Fitness goals require time and patience; setting realistic timelines is crucial for long-term success.

Holistic Approach: A holistic approach, including diet, sleep, recovery, and mental health, is essential for achieving and maintaining fitness goals.

In the past, I often looked for quick fixes and shortcuts, believing that if I just worked harder or skipped developmental and mobility steps, I could push my way toward greatness. This approach frequently backfired, leading to setbacks and frustration. Over time, I learned that the real keys to reaching and sustaining fitness goals are consistency and recovery. Taking the long road—focusing on gradual progress, proper recovery, and maintaining a well-rounded approach—proved to be far more effective. This realization helped me achieve more sustainable and significant progress in my fitness journey.

Learning from my mistakes has been a crucial part of my fitness journey, and I hope sharing these experiences can help you optimize your training and avoid common pitfalls. Every setback I've faced has been an opportunity to learn and grow stronger. I encourage you to stay focused, stay patient, and keep pushing towards your goals. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination, and with perseverance and the right approach, you can achieve great things. Stay EverBold and keep striving for excellence!

Train smart, recover smarter, and stay Bold!