The Top 3 Fitness Mistakes: Part 1

Cropped image of woman feet standing on weigh scales, on gray background. Legs winded with a tape measure

We live in a society rife with a scarcity model. “Eat this and be skinny.” “Go to this elementary school and end up the CEO of Amazon.” “Hang out with these people to give you value.”

While these statements may seem harsh, we all know so many believe they are true. Our priest said during his sermon the other day about Alexandria, “We are the 1% of the 1%.”  In many ways this is true. It leads us to a contentious battle about the Seminary Road bike lanes, why it’s hard to find parking at Whole Foods, and why average screen time for Americans with smart phones is over 4.5 hours per day. 

In this vein, and with the new year and a new opportunity to re-think your fitness, I thought I’d share my 15 years, over 1,500 clients, and approaching 30,000 client training hours experience of how you may consider a fresh start in 2020. And re-frame how you approach the “second half” of your life. I’m going to go over the 3 most common mistakes I see women making – and what you can do instead.


#1 – The Mistake: The losing 10 pounds approach

I have heard “I want to lose 10 pounds” 1,000 times. Have you ever wondered why 10 pounds? Why not 8 or 13? Why 10? What is the magic to 10 pounds?

When I dig deeper, prospective or current clients, most tell me they want to lose 10 pounds because it will make them feel better about themselves. They say they’ll feel more confident and make better and more informed choices.

Every reasonable health practitioner worldwide will tell you losing 10 pounds in less than 3 months will backfire. Yet, millions are attempting it. The fitness and health industry are inundated with quick fixes and marketing tactics that tell you you can get results fast. Influencers on Instagram, trackers and wearables, and “30 Day Challenges” give us the false impression that we can look a certain way, change our bodies, and feel better about ourselves in a short period of time. Yet, what happens after the 30 days?  

Check the data about how your body does not love yo-yo dieting and how it doesn’t work: 

  • Disrupts hunger hormones like ghrelin and leptin so you feel hungry more often
  • Decreased muscle mass – leading to less fat loss
  • On average, 30-65% of people on a 30 day challenge will regain the weight lost in less than one year. 

One very recognizable fitness celeb (last name Michaels) claims you can lose 20 pounds in one month. What?! You are discerning and intelligent. Do you really think this can be true without serious restriction and suffering?


The Solution:

If your goal is to lose 10 pounds, choose something enjoyable to get there. I tell my clients to enjoy and learn from the process instead of focusing on the goal (10 pounds).  We know willpower and discipline don’t work over time. So, why put yourself through another attempt for the “pot of gold” and the ulterior motive?

Toiling away on the treadmill, elliptical or “killing yourself” to get there will likely lead to not keeping up the activity that led you to the result and resultant weight gain. 

What if you were asked to play tennis, ride a bike outside, and ultimately you lose the unwanted flab?  Schedule a 30 minute consult with me to learn more.



#2 – The Mistake:  Your actions don’t reflect your goals

Although you really want to look like the Instagram fitness model or trainer or just the image of the “fit” you in your head, you may not be leading your life the way she/he does. 

It happens. You have a goal or a plan to get fit, lose the 10 pounds or just get healthy. Then, you get a call. An email. A meeting. A text. Something stands in the way of your scheduled walk or fitness session, Sunday meal planning hour, or your 10:30pm bedtime and pooooof your wellness dives to a #8 on your list of priorities.


Because it seems a lot easier to focus on those things than concentrate on the somewhat mundane – lists, calendars of wellness, fitness choices you don’t love you.


The Solution:

When wellness isn’t a (top) priority, we tend to lose sight of the goal. When you don’t account for others’ unplanned needs – or “barriers” in habits parlance – your wellness often takes a back seat. My clients in Concierge Wellness and Fitness Foundations state their intentions of wellness during each of our sessions. When you have an accountability partner like a coach or a friend who is on the journey with you, then those calls, emails, and texts are no longer a priority.



#3 – The Mistake: Comparison or imposter syndrome is a dead end motivator 

Comparing yourself with others is a no-win prospect. Comparing your body, your life, your house, your job, your kids with others can lead to a real sense of scarcity, the root of all anxiety (in my opinion). 

This rush-to-keep-up mentality can also apply to your wellness. You will never have someone else’s body, life, kids. You have yours and man are you blessed to have it. 

This scarcity versus abundant mentality also applies to your wellness. 

Obsessing not only with the scale, but clothing sizes and how we appear to others can lead to unhealthy approaches for your body and its long term health.

When you ask yourself why are you exercising like ___, eating ___, spending your time with ____, going to bed at ___  you can really play a game on your mind turning it from an abundant mentality to a scarcity approach. 


The Solution:

Make long term health, wellness, and contentedness the goal. When wellness is the health and long term priority, your perspective on your progress is paced. You’ll revel in the day to day progress – and set backs – because you will be learning so much about you – how you respond to a variety of movements, foods, relationships (with others and yourself). Don’t compare yourself to others. Focus on your goals, your priorities, and what makes you feel good. Re-think your motivation for your current wellness program.


These are just 3 of the mistakes I’ve seen in the past 15 years of working with clients and it is my goal to make sure that we don’t continue going down these paths that are making us feel stuck, unhealthy, and unhappy as we get older. If you feel like you need extra accountability, support, and help navigating your health so you’re not making these mistakes, schedule a free consult with me here.


  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home after a successful career in policy and public affairs communications. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 2,000 clients, 30 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now, more-than-ever, passionate about helping women view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty and heart pumping workouts to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep, and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down,” a healthy mix of strength and metabolic (cardio) work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength in mind and body. She believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and that change, or improvement, is within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help women learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness, listening to success stories, and bragging about her twin 13-year-old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.

Schedule your free 30 minute consult here!

Alexandria Wellness
215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314



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