Mistakes at the gym

So you’ve started working out. You’ve set goals. You’ve found a workout that suits you. I’m proud!

Before you get too comfortable with your workout, though, make sure you’re doing it right! And before I go on, know that is normal to make mistakes at the gym. Everyone makes mistakes! So don’t think you’re the only one.

The warm-up

Don’t dive right into your intense workout without warming up first! The warm-up is one of the most important elements of an exercise program, particularly because it prevents injury. Warming up involves low-level activity, such as a brisk walk or a slow jog and is intended to raise total body temperature and muscle temperature to prepare the entire body for vigorous activity.

We ❤ CARDIO!

cardio training

I heard a girl say this at the gym the other day:

“I’m so determined to lose 10 pounds! I’m going on an elliptical for 30 minutes every day until spring break!”

Anyone know what’s wrong with her proposed goal? (Besides the fact that she wants to lose 10 pounds in little over a week.)

She thinks, as many people do, that doing excessive amounts of cardiovascular exercise is an effective workout strategy.

Cardio exercise does burn extra calories, which helps keep body fat levels down, but limiting yourself to just cardio exercise with no strength training can keep you from achieving the best possible health and the body you desire.

So don’t be afraid to pick up some weights and start lifting! You can burn even more calories in a weight lifting session, and it leaves you with an “afterburn effect,” so you’ll keep burning calories even after you have finished working out. You can experience this afterburn effect after sprinting, too, but the typical cardio exercises most people do on a treadmill, elliptical, or bike do not involve the “high-intensity” needed to put the afterburn experience into effect.

Cardio haters

Just like people obsess over cardio, others don’t do any cardiovascular training at all. This is a  mistake people tend make when they are trying to gain muscle. The truth is, you need to do cardio to help melt away some of that body fat so your big muscles will show!  Cardio is not only good for burning calories, it is also important for maintaining a healthy heart.

It is important to balance cardio and weight training for optimal fitness.

Bad Form

Having bad form while lifting weights is common for beginners and regulars at the gym. It’s important to use a full range of motion and not “cheat” when lifting weights. The exercise will not be effective if you don’t do it correctly!woman doing bicep curls

If you aren’t sure if you’re doing something right, ask someone who works at the gym or someone who has weight training experience. People are always willing to help at the gym!

I WANT ABS, NOW!

Do you want abs? Sure you do! Everyone wants a nice, flat stomach with some visible abs. What’s your solution to getting a toned tummy? Doing excessive amounts of crunches? I hope not!

Abs are made in the kitchen.” If your diet is poor your progress will be Woman and man with visible absextremely slow, no matter how hard you’re working.  A good diet is absolutely key to seeing your abs! If you want to show off your stomach, you need to burn fat. Doing endless abdominal workouts is not going to get you there.

A controlled diet high in whole grains (>5grams fiber per serving), lean protein (<5 grams per serving), fruits and vegetables and other non-processed foods will get you to your goal more quickly.

Abdominal workouts are important for having a strong core, and when that stubborn layer of stomach fat  burns off, having strong abs will help. But having a good diet and working out 4-5 days a week are the only ways to get those dream abs.

Finishing up

Make sure to keep these common slip-ups in mind next time you go to the gym, especially if you want to see favorable results. Be sure to break a sweat to show you’ve been working hard, too!  And always leave time  to cool down and stretch your muscles at the end of each workout.

Good luck!

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Common mistakes we make while trying to get in shape: Eating the wrong way

So, you’re hooked. You want to be healthy. Great!

Unfortunately, it’s common that people will make mistakes when they are trying to be fit.

When you make fitness a goal, you need to go about it the right way.

If you want to actually see results from your fitness routine, read on.

In this post, I’ll focus eating “no no’s,” and I’ll pick up with mistakes people make at the gym in the next one!

Slip-ups while eating

Blurred grocery store and shopping cart

Eating the right way can be confusing.  It also can be frustrating when you hear something is good for you and then you find out that it isn’t good for you at all.  We hear it all the time…

Eating “low-fat”

Foods that are marketed as low-fat or fat- free are NOT good for you. They usually save you a few calories, but they replace harmless fats with low-performing carbs that digest quickly. This will cause a sugar rush and, immediately afterward, rebound hunger.

Some tricks that might get you:

  • Low-fat yogurt — Is NOT good for you!

So much sugar and other fake ingredients are loaded into the low-fat yogurt to make up for the loss of flavor from fat. Fatty yogurt isn’t very good for you either because it still contains a lot of sugar.

Vanilla chobani yogurt

Healthy yogurt choice

Your best bet is to switch to eating Greek yogurt, which is made with less sugar. Try to avoid the ones with the fruit on the bottom since that “fruit” is loaded with sugar, too!

I actually prefer vanilla Greek yogurt to any other yogurt. Give chobani a try! It’s loaded with protein, and it’s delicious.

  • Reduced-fat peanut butter –Don’t even think about it!

Regular peanut butter is good for you! You will not be doing yourself a favor by choosing a reduced-fat peanut butter. Peanuts are full of healthy monounsaturated fats so it is best to go with the natural or normal version of peanut butter. Most of the reduced fat versions have the same amount of calories because when they take out the fat they add in sugar and other gross fillers!

Granola and protein bars = CANDY

Granola bars

Let’s start with granola bars. You’re in a rush, so you grab a granola bar on the go, thinking you’ve made a quick and nutritious choice.

I hate to break it to you, but most granola bars are NOT healthy! Most of them contain candy-like ingredients and are usually dipped in a sugary syrup. They are also highly processed, contain artificial ingredients and have little fiber in them. So you end up eating a snack that is full of fat and sugar with hardly any nutritional value.

Many protein bars are also loaded with sugar and lack fiber and other nutritional factors. They are high in calories, ranging from 150 to 300 and more, and are full of artery-clogging saturated and/ or trans fat! Yuck!

How to pick the right healthy foods

The first and easiest step to making sure you’re eating healthier is to buy unprocessed and natural foods.

What should you look for?

  • White meats
  • Fresh veggies and fruits
  • Whole grain starches (without added sugar or corn syrup)

Next, you have to read the labels!

First, look at how much sodium, sugar and fat (especially trans-fats and saturated fats) the item has. Don’t buy it if it has high amounts of any of these additives!Man reading ingredients at grocery store

Make sure you read the ingredients, too. The fewer the better. If there is ever an ingredient on food that you can’t pronounce, then don’t buy it!

Avoid man-made ingredients:

  • Corn syrup
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Aspartame
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

These fake ingredients are used to make bad foods taste better. They are not good for you!  Keep your foods simple, and you just can’t go wrong!

Look for what you should avoid doing at the gym, next! I’ll talk about the common mistakes we all make in our workout routine (yes, everyone makes mistakes!)

You want to be healthy, right? Stay tuned.

Get Active. Find a workout that suits you.

Exercise is so important to your overall health and wellbeing. Again, you’ve probably heard People Exercisingthat a million times, so I’ll quickly tell you why it’s important then jump to the good stuff about finding a fun workout that YOU will enjoy.

Why is exercise important?

Exercise will…

  • Improve your mood
  • Boost your energy
  • Help you sleep better
  • Enhance your sex life
  • Combat health conditions and diseases
  • Control your weight
  • Put some fun into your life!

Why wouldn’t you want to workout after reading these amazing exercise benefits?

Well, some people hear these benefits and go running to a nearby gym to sign up for a membership because who wouldn’t want to experience the wonders of working out?

Sadly, the majority of the people who do this stop going to the gym after a couple of weeks. Why? Because they aren’t doing something they enjoy.  They come to the conclusion that they hate working out and will never do it again.

Find something that you like and move!

Like to dance?

Dancing is a great way to get fit, and it’s fun.

By dancing, you can burn calories and get your heart rate going.

Dancing also, improves your flexibility, increases strength and gives you an opportunity to develop strong social ties, which contribute to self-esteem and a positive outlook.

A dance to try

ZUMBA

Dancing/ ZumbaZumba  is an aerobic dance class set to South American beats. It is safe for a range of ages and fitness levels because the steps can be modified so that it’s very low-impact.

Benefits include:

  • Calorie burn
  • More stamina
  • Increased bone density
  • Improved balance and muscle tone
  • Less body fat
  • Lower blood pressure

Sign up for a dance class like Zumba, or do your own dance routine. Just get moving! You’ll feel great afterwards.

Go for a swim

Yes, this might involve going to a gym or having your own personal pool, but it definitely doesn’t have to.

Swimming in ocean

Swim in a lake during the summer, or in an ocean when you’re on vacation. It can be a lot of fun if your friends or family members join you. It can also be relaxing if you decide to go out for a dip, solo. Oh, and when the waves get crazy in the ocean, that’s when you’ll get a real workout. Just be careful because it can get pretty dangerous out there. You can also get a great tan!

Why swim?

Swimming has loads of benefits that will leave you feeling happy and healthy.

Swimming offers something no other aerobic exercise does: the ability to work your body without harsh impact to your skeletal system.  –Michael Franco, Discovery Fit & Health

When you swim, you have the ability to do more with less. The human body becomes much lighter when it’s submerged in water. When you’re swimming with the water all the way to your neck, you only have to bear about 10 percent of your own weight.

Swimming will most definitely lead to results, such as:

  • Increased muscle tone and strength
  • Improved flexibility
  • Weight loss/weight control
  • Improved asthma symptoms
  • Improved cholesterol
  • Lower risk of diabetes
  • Lower stress, higher spirits (endorphins)
  • Can make you live longer

Box 

Have some built up aggression you want to relieve?

Try a kickboxing class

Kickboxing targets your arms, shoulders, abs, thighs and butt in one workout.Boxer gril

Kickboxing classes can differ slightly, but most involve learning basic fighting skills that will give you an incredible workout at the same time. (Trust me, it is so much fun!)

The kickboxing class I do is called Max-Fit (located in Jamestown, NY at Gaffar Adam’s Karate Academy and Fitness Center). We usually start out by jumping rope (cardio). We also do many exercises that target our abs, as well as push-ups and other activities. During the second half of the class, we learn punching and kicking techniques and combinations and apply what we learned on striking mats or punching bags.

If you really put effort into it, it’s an intense workout! Each class is different, and that’s why I love it. You really get a full-body work out.

Kickboxing is a personal favorite, along with the elliptical and a quick sprint on the track!

Still not satisfied with the whole working out thing?

Only you know what you like. Get moving, and do what you enjoy.

Have any suggestions about workouts you like that others may want to try? Feel free to suggest. I’d love to try it out!

Rise and shine with a healthy breakfast

If you don’t know this already, it is EXTREMELY important to eat a healthy, balanced breakfast right when you wake up in the morning.  There is no better way to start your day if you want to have a happy and fulfilled day.

For me, breakfast must also include a few cups of coffee to get me going. But that’s a personal preference and has, somewhere along the road, turned into a need!

I know most people have heard that breakfast is important for our health, but why exactly is it so important?

A healthy breakfast jump-starts your day, refuels your body and may even benefit your overall health.

A healthy breakfast should include protein, carbohydrates, good fats and fiber. It is also a good idea to try to eat fruit instead of drinking a sugary juice. (Although I must admit, I love to have a nice glass of orange juice in the morning.)

Lately, I’ve started my mornings by drinking a couple glasses of cold water. Drinking cold water is a great way to jump-start your morning and metabolism, as well.

The Benefits of a Healthy Breakfast

By eating a healthy breakfast, you’re more likely to:

  • Eat more vitamins and minerals
  • Eat less fat and cholesterol
  • Have better concentration and productivity throughout the morning
  • Control your weight
  • Have lower cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of heart disease

Some benefits for children: 

  • They will concentrate better
  • Have better problem-solving skills
  • Have better hand-eye coordination
  • They’ll be more alert and creative

Everyone is busy, I know.  Here’s what you can do to make eating breakfast quick and easy. And no, do not grab a doughnut on the go!

Eat a dry cereal, but make sure it’s a good one.

Look for these key items in your cereal:

Fiber. Make sure you eat a cereal with at least 3 grams (g) of fiber per serving. Five grams would be even better!

Sugar. The healthiest cereals have 5 grams of sugar or less per serving. Sugar doesn’t automatically make a cereal unhealthy, so a little bit more than that won’t hurt.

Calories.  If you want to control your calorie intake, chose a cereal with less than 120 calories per serving.  Some have more than that and are still healthy.

Watch for enough fiber, look out for sugar and you will make a great choice.

Top the cereal with some fruit, too, for the ultimate healthy breakfast experience.

A Cereal to try:

1 cup General Mills Cheerios

Fiber: 3 grams

Sugar: 1 gram

Calories: 103

Top with some blueberries (or any other fruit)… it’s delicious!

Another quick, yummy and healthy breakfast to try:

Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich (High in protein)

Cook time: 5 minutes

Serves:1

Calories: 290

Protein: 10 g

Total fat: 11 g

Saturated fat: 2 g

Carbohydrates: 45 g

Dietary Fiber: 6 g

 Ingredients:

2 slices of whole wheat bread

2 tbsp peanut butter

1 banana

Preparation:

  1. Toast two slices of whole beat bread.
  2. While bread is toasting, slice a banana into thin pieces;
  3. Spread 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on toasted bread and line with bananas.
  4. Cut in half and serve.

Talk about delicious and quick!

Breakfast increases metabolism and fuels the brain. Don’t ever skip breakfast. Start your day out right.