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posted: 1/7/2013 5:01 AM

Avoid common mistakes to reach your health goals

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So the new year is here and you've made your resolution. You've convinced yourself that this is the year you'll finally lose the weight and get healthy. You have a goal. You have a plan. You have support. But, do you have all the facts?

Rather than spinning your wheels this year and giving up out of frustration, we thought we'd address the most common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight so you can avoid them altogether.

Mistake No. 1: To lose weight, all I have to do is eat fewer calories than I burn. Yes, calories are important, but it's much more complicated than that. If you're not laying a solid foundation with foods that will have a positive long-term impact on your health, your results may be temporary. Rather than putting all your focus on the numbers, build your diet around foods that have a high nutrient to calorie ratio, such as organic meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Limit or avoid high-calorie foods that have little nutritional value, such as processed foods and sugary drinks.

Mistake No. 2: If I do an hour of cardio every day, I'll lose weight without really changing my diet. Of course, physical activity of any kind has many health and weight loss benefits. But, if your workout program is centered only on cardio activity such as running, biking or walking, you're creating the wrong hormonal environment for long-term weight loss. Too much cardio can increase stress hormones and even start to break down valuable muscle mass. Cardio activity has a place in your workout program, but it should not be the only type of activity.

Mistake No. 3: I really don't want to bulk up, so I'll just avoid lifting weights. Deliberately avoiding strength training may be the biggest mistake you can make for long-term weight loss management. Maintaining and building valuable muscle mass will support your metabolism by improving your body composition. The greater percentage of lean mass on your body vs. fat mass the greater metabolic rate you will have and therefore the more calories you will end up burning each day. Even 1 pound of muscle will increase your daily caloric burn because muscle is an active tissue that burns calories 24 hours a day.

These common mistakes can be easily avoided by taking a well-rounded approach to weight loss rather than focusing on only one aspect. A proper balance of nutrition, cardio and strength training will give you the greatest chance for success. For more exercise and nutrition tips, find us on Facebook or visit our blog at

@$ID/[No paragraph style]:• Joshua Steckler and Mark Trapp are co-owners of Push Fitness, a personal training studio in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning and nutrition. Contact them at

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