Make the Most of your Workout: 8 Common Fitness Mistakes and How to Improve Them

Ahh the first week of January. Back to school, back to work and back to the GYM. If you have been to the gym this week you will hear me when I say HOLY SMOKES! That joint is busy. Here are some of the biggest mistakes I see at the gym and here are my tips for fixing them and making the most of your workout!

1. Only doing cardio

While cardio is a very important part of health and fitness, it is not the only part and likely will not give you the toned look you are going for. A well rounded workout should include strength exercises and flexibilty as well as cardio training. Include a combination of weights, plyometrics and high intensity interval training as well as stretching in your workout plan for maximum results.

2. Too much time between sets

While resting between sets is important for muscle recovery, spending more time resting than exercising is not going to help you achieve your goals. Don’t get carried away sending emails between sets or daydreaming, your heat rate is going down and you are not burning as many calories. The less time between sets the sooner you get to leave!

3. Isolation training

While isolation training is very important from a rehab standpoint and for body builders, it is not the most functional nor effective for performance. Isolation training is exercises that target one muscle or one joint such as bicep curls or leg extension. Doing movements that involve more muscles and joints such as squats, crawls, lifts, lunges and push ups are more effective for function and for targeting more muscle groups at once, effectively burning more calories and stengthening more muscles at once.

 

4. Not paying attention to form

Performing exercises with poor form not only puts your body at risk of injury, but decreases the results you get from that movement. The body takes the path of least resistance, which means it will get things done the easiest way possible unless you correct it. Repetitions of poor form create faulty movement patterns in the brain and make them habit. This can cause muscle imbalances and result in injury down the road.

5. Not having a plan

Going to the gym without at least a skeleton of a workout can create much time lost standing around thinking about your next exercises. Having an outline or a type of woukout in mind can save precious time and get you in and out of the gym faster. Check out some of my 7 minute circuits for some ideas! AbsTotal Body and Booty!

6. Eating whatever you want because you worked out

A workout isn’t a free pass to eat whatever you want. Remember, at the end of the day it is calories in and calories out. There is a large tendency to over estimate the number of calories burned during a workout and under estimate our calories eaten. Focus on getting lots of protein, healthy fats and non-processed carbs during the day.

7. Not stretching

Stretching is so under rated and under used. A warm-up of of a dynamic stretch (or stretching while moving) can help prep your muscles for work, while static stretching afterwards is a great way to cool down and prepare your muscles for your next session. A good stretch post workout can decrease muscle soreness the next day, therefore making your next workout more efficient.

8. Not progressing your program

Repeating the same exercise with the same level of difficulty for an extended period of time won’t get you to the next level. Once you feel like a particular movement has become easier or you can do more repititions of it, add weight or switch it out for a more difficult task. Not progressing causes plateus. Every couple of weeks try to add a bit of weight to your program or extend your time in your high intensity intervals.

I hope these tips can help you to jump start your routine for the new year! Anyone have any other tips they have found effective?