The Top Fitness Mistakes: Part 3

Did you know that your sleep, your self-talk, and your schedule could have a bigger impact on your fitness than exercise? Well it’s true—and lucky for you, I have some ways to make that better.

I’m bottling up the magic from the past 30,000 hours and 15 years of coaching to give you the most successful strategies to solving these common problems. P.S. If you missed them, you can read Part 1 and Part 2.

Today’s topics may surprise you, yet I hope reflecting on them will help you make informed choices for your fitness. 



Mistake: Body-Shaming yourself

Using self-deprecating language is toxic. It works against your fitness goals and no one wants to hear it. Research tells us negative self talk leads to less motivation, more frustration, and the recipe for no progress. In my first foray in teaching Stylebook readers in 2016 about this phenomenon, I talked about how defeating our “inner voice” can be to our health and fitness goals. 

As much as 77 percent of our self-talk is negative and works against us. It takes 20 positive statements about yourself to counteract even one negative personal statement. The brain operates much like a personal computer. Once information is imprinted on it, the only way to change the information is to erase it or replace it. 

In my concierge program, wellness visits include ways to re-frame your mindset when you “slip up.” My program is made for real life. We also focus on making a big deal of the successes. It Is because behavior scientists have taught us – the more we celebrate success – the more success we’ll have. Boom!



Practice gratitude, journal about the things you love about yourself, frame language in a positive light (I like (fill in)_____ vs I don’t like (fill in)_____).



Mistake: You don’t have control of your day 

Do you ever feel like you are taking care of everyone around you – except for yourself? When we fail to take care of ourselves, our wellness and our fitness suffers. It then becomes easier to take care of someone else’s needs than your own. 

If you “fly by the seat of your pants” and don’t plan your days, you’ll be reacting to others’ needs, texts, calls, and meetings which can get in the way of your workout, and your eating habits. You’ll feel resentful because you have no time for yourself.

I bet about 25 percent of my clients show up late for their sessions. So, on average, 25 of them lose the first 10 minutes of the workout. Multiply that the number of times they train and that is a lot of strength they’re losing! Control your day. 

See the beautiful article written by Holly Lass last week on how she took control of her day and lost 30 pounds along the way!




Plan your week ahead of time and make sure you protect your time with boundaries. Plan your walks, your meals, your exercise, and time to yourself. Make space for “purposeful pauses” in your day. This can start with morning workouts – or my 5 Minute Flow that you can download here – which are key building blocks for good habits and a successful day. You’ll make better decisions, tend to your self-care, and ultimately not need my guide of mistakes because you are not making any of them! 😉



The Mistake: Ignoring your poor sleep (habits)

Poor sleep kills progress. It can make you fat, increase stress, crush productivity, and weaken your immune system. Sleep is like a huge diet and health pill if you get the dosage right.

Lack of adequate – and quality –  sleep increases our appetite, impairs concentration and rationale decision-making, makes it harder to lose fat, increases levels of stress hormones, and can contribute to serious conditions like heart disease.

Many of my clients have found “weight nirvana” from simply establishing a consistent bedtime routine and getting their sleep. Sleep helps you recover from daily stressors and improves your body’s ability to burn fat.



The Solution: Make sleep the most important appointment of your day.

Start by creating an evening routine that gets you into a relaxed state and go to bed just one hour earlier. Once you commit to getting quality sleep regular and notice the difference, you’ll be excited to make it a lifetime habit.


What’s next? Don’t just read this — put these solutions into action now! Write out a plan to get your sleep, self-love, and schedule back on track. 

If you need extra accountability and support, you can schedule a free 30-minute consult here. And in the meantime, email me and let me know what changes you’re going to make this week.


  • 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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