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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