Getting fit: The 7 deadly sins

Posted: July 18, 2013

THANK YOU, Daily News readers, for all of your thoughtful emails, questions and column suggestions! Many of you are making healthier choices, and that's great news.

The bad news is, some of you are seeing poor or unsustainable results, and throwing your hands up in frustration - or giving up altogether.

If you're one of those people who are trying really hard but still experiencing the agony of defeat, check this list of common fitness slipups. Chances are that one of them is what's standing between you and success.

1 Trying to spot-reduce. Sorry: It's impossible. Working one specific body part to reduce fat there does not work. So, even if you do 2,000 crunches a day - I'm exaggerating here - you won't get those six-pack abs unless you eat less to lose fat all over.

2 Exercising, but neglecting to diet. If your goal is weight loss, you need to burn more calories than you consume. So, if those extra pounds keep hanging on, you are overeating - either consciously or unconsciously. Keep a food diary, and pay close attention to portions.

3 Dieting, but neglecting to exercise. Permanent weight loss requires a lifetime commitment to both. Exercise is also essential for maintaining your balance, flexibility and cardiovascular health.

4 Neglecting to strength-train. If the only exercises you do are cardiovascular workouts, you can lose weight, improve your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers, feel better - and still look flabby. For a tight, toned physique, you'll also need to work those muscles.

5 Getting stuck in a workout rut. If you don't change what you're doing, your body has no reason to change, either. To keep from hitting a frustrating plateau, remember to mix up the duration, intensity, sets, reps and weights you use when you exercise, along with the exercises themselves.

6 Using poor form. Using too light of a weight when you strength-train can lead to disappointing results. Using weights that are too heavy - or using any weight improperly - can cause injuries. A knowledgeable trainer can help you navigate, so take advantage of those free sessions that come with your gym membership.

7 Ignoring injuries. Sore muscles are one thing. Disabling pain is another. If you're unsure which it is that you're dealing with, check with your doctor. Trying to exercise when you're hurt can turn you off exercise altogether.

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