Sometimes it takes a little bit more than just showing up to get the most out of your workout. I hate to see folks sabotage themselves after they have put forth the effort to get their own fitness journey moving forward. Getting stronger, becoming more fit and finding a healthy lifestyle does not have to be complicated or painful. However, there are some common mistakes that happen all the time that can undo all the effort. Here are some of the common habits that I hope you aren’t doing that can ruin your workouts.
- You jump right in skipping your warm-up. It only takes five minutes or so to get your blood flowing and your muscles warmed up and ready to do the real work. A brisk walk, a light jog, or some dynamic stretches are all it takes, so there’s no excuse to skip this important part of any workout!
- You skip the cooldown and stretch. This is just as bad as skipping the warm-up. Stopping immediately and going on with your day is too hard on the body. Take five minutes or so to slow down, cool down and stretch those muscles.
- You spend time texting, or FB checking, or talking on the phone or taking selfies. . . The other day I was in the gym getting in my own workout while a trainer was working with two clients. On more than one occasion I noticed either client stop and settle in on their phones to text or scroll through Facebook. What? I couldn’t believe their trainer found nothing wrong with these breaks or that these folks were shelling out good cash for a supposedly good workout and waste their time and money on their phones. I’m sure sitting on the Swiss ball and scrolling Instagram was NOT part of the workout.
- Putting No thought into the Workout. Coming into the gym with no plan is an easy way to ruin a workout. Popping into any class any day with no awareness does not help your progress. You need to have a plan that will work for your goals. If you do a body sculpt one day, then the next day you don’t need to go to the same type of class. If you hopped on a treadmill one day, the next day you need to do something different. Not having a plan or knowing what you are going to do sets you up for a fail.
- You ignore the importance of Fueling your Body. Your body needs to be hydrated and properly fueled before your workout. Skipping this will make it hard for your body to respond properly for a tough interval workout or strength workout. Likewise, proper eating for recovery is also important. After a tough workout you need to replenish glycogen stores, whick leads to better recovery, less muscle soreness and helps the body build muscle.
- You forget about form. I talked to my class this morning about this. You know you’ve seen those folks in the gym throwing weights around, swinging through moves with arched backs or locked knees. You see folks hunched over the elliptical machine or leaning on the treadmill. This is an easy way to ruin your workout.
- You don’t rest. If you are so focused on working hard, beating your body up, thinking you will only progress if you are killing it, then you are skipping a very important part of the process. Rest and recovery are an important part of gaining fitness and keeping yourself strong, energized and injury free. Rest, recovery, and sleep are your friends. Don’t skip them!
- You skip the heavier weights. So many women are afraid to lift weights. The only way to see results is to challenge the muscles with weights that challenge your muscles. Skipping lifting challenging weights is a sure way to waste your time and ruin your chance of results.
- You do the same workout ALL the time. The only way to improve your fitness, get better and stronger while avoiding injury is to mix it up. You’ve heard of cross training – it really is a good thing! If you are a runner, add a spin class, a yoga class, a walk day or swim into your routine. Your muscles will benefit from the surprise and from getting used in different ways.
- You work out to look like someone else. We are all different with different body types, different metabolisms, different genetic makeups. We will each get different results from our workouts, even if we think we are doing the very same thing as our neighbor. Exercising to merely look like someone else will likely leave you disheartened and more likely to give up. Exercise does so much for us physically, mentally and emotionally! The benefits go far beyond what one can see in the mirror! Check in with yourself for your goals and motivation – make them your own. This is your very own health and fitness journey. Remember, you are doing all of this to be the very best YOU can be.
Look at your own habits and make sure you are NOT ruining your best efforts! Also, thinking of the stretch, here is a quick post workout stretch I prepared for a client a while ago.