The common mistakes holding you back!

For those of you who have read my post 'Top 10 tips for fat loss' this might seem quite familiar, and although some of these may seem obvious, I guarantee you're not always thinking about them. I believe these things are points we always need to be reminded of, especially when we're starting to feel like we're not progressing.
Here is my view on what I believe are the top 5 mistakes you might be making, which could be harming your health & fitness aspirations. Whether you are focused on weight loss or muscle gain, these 5 points are a crucial part of achieving your goals.

1. You're not allowing yourself to rest enough.
Many people think work work work is the way to results, but this isn't the case. Many people also think that the magic happens while you're working out, but this isn't the case either. It is when our body has time to recover that it begins to change. When we exercise, our muscles slightly tear from being worked. On our rest days is when these muscles repair, producing new tissue growth and muscle tone. Now, this doesn't mean rest days are only important for people trying to gain muscle growth and definition. No matter what your fitness goals are, physical activity places stress on the body and any type of stress requires recovery. Without adequate rest our bodies can't perform at their highest ability. Without recovery time we become fatigued, overworked, irritated, weak and open ourselves up to a higher chance of injury.

2. You're not focusing on technique or correctly engaging muscles.
One of our biggest downfalls is powering through a workout without actually thinking about what we're doing. It's not all about doing things as fast as we can to burn calories. There are many exercises which will produce little benefits if not performed correctly, or if we don't actively engage the target muscles throughout the movement. On the other end, exercising with correct technique is crucial for our health and safety. The two go hand in hand. For example, when you are doing something as simple as a sit up or crunch, are you actively engaging your core muscles? Are you thinking about your posture and neck position to avoid injury? If you're not contracting your muscles and performing exercises in the right way, you'll end up having a much less effective workout.

3. You're neglecting the obvious - hydration.
How much water are you drinking daily? A minimum of 1.5 - 2 litres? Majority of people aren't. Our body needs water to function at its best. Without water, things just don't run the way they should. We need adequate water for everything from digestion, nutrient absorption, metabolism function and cell repair. Dehydration slows the fat burning AND muscle toning process. So regardless of your goals, you need to drink! But, it's important not to skull your water. Sipping is the key! Gulping 500ml of water at a time won't allow your body to process the water in the way it needs to, it will simply flush out the excess and still leave you dehydrated.

4. You're staying up too late.
7-8 hours of sleep per night is what we should all be aiming for. Not only does sleep help us perform better mentally and physically due to being rested, but it should go without saying that it helps our bodies function towards a peak physical state, and yep, that includes fat loss and muscle repair. It all ties back in with point number 1 - rest rest rest! A lack of sleep affects everything from our mental state to our hormone production.

5. You're skipping meals or not eating enough.
If you're still thinking you need to skip breakfast or dinner in order to lose weight, you couldn't be more wrong. Skipping meals causes you to lose energy, have a higher chance of binge eating later in the day and slows the metabolism. What we all want is a great metabolism, right? One of the best things we can do to improve our metabolism is to eat regular, balanced and nutritious meals. Yep, that means MORE and not LESS. More of the right, healthy foods including protein, carbohydrates and fats. Plus, if your goal is to gain muscle, food is your friend! Especially right after a workout. Make sure you are replenishing your body and not depriving it.