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The 4 Most Common Mistakes People Make at the Gym

01/16/2014 05:28 EST | Updated 03/18/2014 05:59 EDT

The purpose of this article is in no way to shame anyone.

It's not to make you feel bad about your body.

It's not to make anyone uncomfortable at the gym.

I wrote this to set expectations, help with goal setting and to ensure we all get on the same page. Beauty is not outward only. There is a huge gap and misunderstanding between average people looking to be healthy and fitness models.

Inside Fitness Magazine just released the Hot and Fit 100 list.

Crissy Zachanowich made that list on a submission by Pink Elephant Photography. This is a blog about what she does (I have seen her workouts) and what most people don't do (I spend my life in gyms trying to train people).

Bikini Model Crissy Zachanowich - @CrissyZach

The goals for fitness modelling and being healthy and energetic are not the same. Something needs to change. It's either your expectations, or your goals. If you are reading this and want that cover model body, you can get it, but it takes a ton of effort. That's why fitness models seemingly "show off," they are simply proud of their hard work. Their goal isn't to offend, it's to celebrate themselves. For me, you'll see me celebrating my healthy lifestyle and choices with travel photos. I want to be fit enough to make memories, and my proudest moment was a Contiki Tour of Thailand. For you, decide what you are doing this for. Don't let someone else dictate why you live healthy. Once you have decided, don't fall prey to the common pitfalls that most people make.

Here is what I see as the four most common mistakes made at the gym and when people decide they want to improve their health.

1) They decide to start something they don't like -- Why did you get a membership to the local gym? Most people do it out of guilt. Nothing good ever comes out of doing something because you felt shamed into something. I love lifting weights, doing circuits and using the local gym. So I hate it when people show up "just because." Everyone is welcome, but if you really don't want to be there, find something that makes you excited to be missing all that must see TV that's on at home. Find something to get you active, that isn't a mental battle each time you go.

2) Effort doesn't match the goals -- The body doesn't automatically change. In fact, it takes a lot of constant reminders to change. You need to put effort into the things you are doing if you really want to see drastic changes. Most people just arrive, get through a workout, and go home. People that get results show up, get present in the moment, and put effort in. You are at the gym, or class, or whatever you have decided to do, why not work hard and leave proud of yourself? Most people need to set goals. Do that with a professional, or at the very least, a friend or family member. Make them achievable, but not easy.

3) You are doing the wrong things -- If someone tells me they want to get "toned," I better not see them on the treadmill then doing bicep curls followed by crunches, and then leaving the gym. First, the expression "toned" makes me angry. It really has no meaning anymore, and it never should have become the mainstream term for "I'm jealous of Jennifer Aniston's arms." Really, when someone says they are going to the gym to tone, they wind up doing nothing but focusing on the body part they hate the most. "Toned" is just most women's way of beating themselves up. I want people at the gym thinking total body health, strength, endurance, and excellence. This is to get you healthy, and to avoid an early visit to the hospital. You can not change one body part, so don't focus on it. Your work out needs to consist of more than 30 minutes of "non-sweat producing" cardio and a few site specific exercises.

4) Nutrition -- This is the killer of weight loss and a lean body. Most people need to sit down with a professional. The amount of bad information that's out there is astounding. I played a game as a kid called "telephone." A large group of kids sit in a circle. The first person whispers to the next, that person passes the message a long. Words get missed, the message gets messed up, and by the time the message returns to the starting point, it's lost in translation. This is nutrition in a nutshell. Experts are telling us what we should do, then the message gets changed, advertisers tell us what we want, and the next thing you know people are confused and not eating bread because it makes them fat. If I could get everyone in the world's attention at once, I'd lay things out simply. Unfortunately, we have allergies, biochemistry differences, and different appearance goals. Those things often get forgotten when the message about "avoiding carbs" or "high fat diets" or anything fad-related gets told.

We are misinformed, and we buy into advertising. Not just with food, but with everything. I'll say it a few times in this article. We need to give more respect to the fitness model world, it is not that easy to look the way they do. BUT IT IS POSSIBLE WITH THE RIGHT INFORMATION.

Let's take the example of Crissy:

1) Crissy lifts heavy, hard, and often. You will not see her, or any girl on the cover of a magazine missing workouts. They love the gym. That means two workouts in a day on a regular basis. They set the goal of the perfect physique, getting on magazine covers, winning competitions and being proud of their body. To reach that goal, it takes time in the gym. How heavy does Crissy lift? Tweet her and ask, she will tell you. Or watch the video. That muscle definition takes work. This is to prepare you for that fact. Think of what you lift, and the effort you put in. Is it enough? Are you ready to put in more? What are your goals?

3) She hired a trainer. She works with Jeff Fisher at Elite Performance. She's there so "Fish" can hand her the perfect program. Her job is to complete it with 100 per cent intensity, and she does. Both her diet and her workouts are in his hands. Jeff's work with pro athletes and proven track record with bodybuilding and regular folks created trust, and full commitment. That team work brings results. Do you have a trainer? Do you do exactly what your trainer asks? Did you goal set properly with your trainer? These two did, and Crissy is well on her way to reaching her goals, step one was hot and fit.

4) Nutrition is the biggest part of the results. Crissy's diet can get very restrictive, that said it's normally very healthy. It doesn't include refined sugars, and choices are based on fuelling the body and getting what you NEED not what you WANT. Again, she works very closely with Jeff Fisher on this, she takes her mind off of the diet planning, and focuses on the prep. She always has her meals ready, and close by. Crissy is planned, prepped and knowledgeable on what will get her to her goals. When cravings arise (and they do), her mind moves to her goal. What does she truly want. The ability to say "I want a six pack" more than food in a moment is what sets bodybuilders and fitness models apart from most of us regular folks.

My biggest eye-opener as of late is just how much diet plays into the change the body goes through. You can not get a top fitness competitor to cheat on her diet. The food literally is not in the house, and she knows what processed foods and refined sugar will do to her. It will set her back on her goal.

For you and me, we need to be aware how much we put in our bodies. I put myself in this because I wasn't aware how lax I was on my diet until looking into the fitness model world. In my mind, I ate all the healthy things I needed. I never wrote it down, and I didn't think how often I had a latte during a business meeting, high sugar and fat snacks with the "boys," or how often I just thought I'd like a treat. Every time I do those things it is 300 calories or more into my diet. That's fine, but I can't and will not complain when my body doesn't look the way I dream it should. Again, this article is not to shame, it's to set expectations.

Ladies and gentlemen, we need to show a lot more respect to the fitness model world. We can't say we want those bodies, then workout 45 minutes three times a week and eat what we want.

However, if what you want is to be healthy, fit, and lean then the rules change. We can't desire the cover model body, but only be willing to train and eat average. A decision needs to be made. My hope is that this article opens your eyes to that. Being healthy and accepting your body is a gift. If you want more, you can absolutely do it. There is no reason that you can't put focus and effort into the right areas and change your body to be what you dreamed.

We all need a wake up call. Our physical appearance does not define us. Love, compassion, kindness, sincerity, and a desire to explore and be present in the moment every day should be our goals. A pretty body alone won't give back to society, but a pretty body and a desire to do good works. That ladies and gentlemen would be the coolest thing ever.

If you are looking for info and plans contact me via facebook. I'd love to help.

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