While using a tracker can help you meet your goals, it’s also possible to get bogged down in your stats. “If you didn’t have a device telling you that you were running three minutes slower than usual, would you be satisfied with your performance?” asks Dyan Tsiumis, head instructor and director of training at Swerve Fitness in New York. Try stashing your wearable for your next workout and focusing on how you feel. Research has also found that dieters who manually logged their activity lost more weight than those who relied on trackers to do it for them.
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You’re thinking about Instagram
A photo is worth a thousand words, but if you’re spending your entire sweat sesh posting, it’s time to reevaluate why you’re there in the first place. “Being present empowers you to perform your best,” says Jim Afremow, PhD, author of The Champion’s Comeback. Adds celeb trainer Adam Rosante: “Put down the phone and pick up the pace. An elevated heart rate is one of the keys to fat loss, and the surest way to slow it down is to spend 10 minutes lining up the perfect selfie.” Plus, worrying about how you look can trigger a physiological reaction that tightens muscles and upsets rhythm.
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You're hitting that post-work happy hour too hard
Aside from the empty calories, one too many cocktails can impact everything from your muscle recovery to your sleep cycle. “Large amounts of alcohol can reduce protein synthesis and prevent adequate muscle repair," says Jessica A. Alvarez, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. "Add in dehydration and you'll likely have a particularly draining and ineffective workout the next day." The good news: Short bouts of exercise (10 to 40 minutes) may boost self-control, according to an analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. So banging out those burpees might help you say no to a second beer.
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You’re not getting enough sleep
Skimping on your seven to nine hours impinges on your body’s ability to rejuvenate muscles; in turn, performance suffers. “Cellular repair happens during deep sleep,” says sleep expert Michael J. Breus, PhD. A lack of it can make your workout feel harder, too. “If you crush a nine-minute mile on Tuesday, sleep poorly, and that nine-minute mile feels impossible on Wednesday, that’s a by-product of poor sleep."
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You’re eating tons of protein
High-protein diets may be all the rage, but consuming signicantly more than the recommended amount (roughly 51 to 95 grams per day for a 140-pound female, depending on age, activity level, and diet) can lead to dehydration and put extra strain on your kidneys, says Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CEO of New York Nutrition Group. “We can’t store protein like we can store carbs and fat,” she notes. Long-term high protein intake is linked to greater risk of weight gain, according to a study in Clinical Nutrition.