There are only so many 15-minute YouTube workouts one can do. So it’s no surprise that many people are dealing with being in a fitness rut during the current pandemic. The good news: With some savvy planning and tips, you can work towards improving your health from the comfort of your home. The better news: We tapped plant-based fitness pros to share the common exercise mistakes that are holding people back from their weight loss goals so you can add some variety to your routines and boost your sweating goals.

1. You’re not changing up your routine

Variety is the spice of life, folks. “Being a fitness enthusiast, I believe that one common exercise mistake people do that may prevent weight loss is sticking to the same cardio workout. A very wise old owl came up with the phrase; ‘Do what you’ve always done and you’ll get what you’ve always got.’ The same is valid for exercise. If you are one of those people who whine about the amount of exercise they do and the absence of change to your weight/body shape, it can be because you’re doing the wrong workout,” says Andrew Fox, CEO of Aim Workout.

“So abandon the hours of the same cardio in support of a mix of workouts, which can include exercise classes, cardio, and resistance training. You’ll be amazed at the difference just executing a change like that can have. You’ll be mentally restored and your body will immediately be tested by new challenges,” Fox adds.

2. You’re not eating enough fiber

You just torched a killer cycling session on your spiffy new exercise bike (here’s to you, NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle. And now you’ve got a massive plate of spaghetti with garlic bread and cake waiting for you. Not so fast. “When you're trying to lose weight, it's important to incorporate enough fiber-rich foods into your diet. When total fiber intake is high, some of the calories from foods in mixed meals aren’t absorbed,” says Jenny Abouobaia, a former professional international dancer and choreographer, certified personal trainer. So skip the carbs and reach for as many of these amazing sources of fiber on a plant-based diet as possible.

Female Athletes Exercising With Resistance Bands At Park
Getty Images/EyeEm

3. Not doing resistance training

Time to grab those resistance bands and dumbbells. Skeptical that lifting weights can help you slim down? Think again.

“When it comes to losing weight, many people immediately think of doing lots of cardio to burn extra calories, but a balanced program should include resistance training as well as cardio. Resistance training (such as lifting free weights, using weight machines, and doing bodyweight exercises) is critically important for anyone wanting to lose weight because it gives the body a strong signal to preserve muscle mass while losing body fat,” explains Forest Nash, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, who is also a Fitness Nutrition Specialist and certified in plant-based nutrition. “While it's certainly possible to lose weight by doing cardio alone, doing so risks muscle loss as well as fat loss, which will not result in the lean, toned appearance that most people [seek].”

4. Overestimating calories burned through exercise

“People often tend to have inaccurate ideas about the number of calories they burn while exercising, thinking that they can easily burn off a doughnut or slice of pizza by simply logging a few extra minutes on the treadmill,” says Nash. “Physical activity has many health benefits and it is a great way to increase daily caloric expenditure, but the calorie burn from most forms of exercise is rather modest. Burning off that doughnut would require significant time and effort, such as climbing all the stairs in the Empire State Building,” Nash continues. We don’t know about you, but just thinking about all those steps makes us want to put down the doughnut.

“For that reason, it almost always works best to focus on proper nutrition as well as training when trying to lose weight, and control the number of calories coming in from food as well as those being burned through activity,” he adds.

5. Trying to lose weight too quickly

“A lot of people want rapid results when it comes to weight loss, which can lead them to take extreme measures such as doing hours of cardio every day and eating very few calories. These practices can certainly cause rapid weight loss in the short-term, the problem is that they are very unsustainable in the long-term,” offers Nash. “Studies have shown that the vast majority

of people who resort to such strategies end up regaining all the weight they lost, and often end up even heavier than when they started,” he elaborates, adding that  to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable manner, you should “aim for a moderate rate of weight loss between 0.5% and 1% of total bodyweight per week.”

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