By Nicole
Has your progress slowed down – or worse, come to a screeching halt? That could be due to a number of factors.

Here are three of the most common mistakes I see, and what you can do to get back on track to reaching your goals.


When weight or fat loss stalls, the go-to strategy for most people is typically to increase cardio – whether that translates to longer durations or more frequency. The problem with doing too much cardio is that can lead to overtraining, which increases the stress hormone cortisol.

High cortisol levels can impede sleep, increase blood pressure, cause weight gain, and weaken the immune system. Plus, overdoing cardio can interfere with your body’s recovery. Basically, you’re not giving your body a chance to repair itself.

Look at other factors of your fitness program. Have you been consistent with your meals or have you been cheating a lot? No amount of cardio is going to make up for poor eating habits so make sure your nutrition plan is on point.

Are you devoting enough time to weight training? A lot of people skimp on weight training in the belief that doing cardio alone is the best way to shed body fat. Remember, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism (another reason to avoid overdoing cardio, as you can lose muscle and slow your metabolism).

So just how much is too much? It all depends on your fitness level but if you suffer from any of the above, then you should back off a bit.

We all have favorite exercises, favorite workouts, favorite order of body parts to train spread out over the week, etc. But sticking only to what’s comfortable or what you like, can have it’s drawbacks. For starters, no matter how much you like something, doing it all the time will eventually make it boring. And when it gets boring, you don’t want to do it anymore.

Another problem with sticking to what you know is that your body gets used to it. And when that happens, progress stops. You need to challenge your body by doing something different, something new. Try different workouts, exercises, set/rep schemes. Take a spin class or do yoga. Try outdoor workouts or if you’ve been doing mostly bodybuilding-type training, do CrossFit. The point is to do something different, even if it’s just for a couple of weeks, to give your mind and body a change to keep things fun.

I threw this one in because people tend to think they need to do more when their progress slows or stops altogether. Twice-a-day cardio sessions and super-long weight training workouts with no days off in between in an effort to force results. Most of us have been there. To make matters worse, you drop your calories, which further hampers recovery and lowers energy levels.

I’ve covered the pitfalls of not getting enough sleep, so here’s a quick overview: weakened immune system, increased stress levels, bad moods, fatigue, poor muscle and nervous system recovery from training, decreased mental functions.

So to make sure you’re getting all you can from all the hard work of training and the mental discipline of sticking to your meal plan, be sure to adopt positive sleep habits, such as following a set schedule, avoiding caffeine later in the day, logging off electronics before bed, and creating a relaxing sleep time ritual.


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One of the biggest names in the fitness industry, Nicole Wilkins is a world-record holding four-time Figure Olympia Champion and 2012 IFPA Personal Trainer of the Year. Nicole earned her BA in Wellness, Health Promotion and Injury Prevention at Oakland University. The owner and founder of nPower Nutrition, Nicole has helped thousands of people start living a healthier lifestyle and reach their fitness goals.

See Nicole’s Bio!