5 workout mistakes
Are you sabotaging your fitness routine? Learn to spot five common workout mistakes’and learn how to fix them
Fitness faux pas
Do you ever feel that, no matter how hard you try with your fitness routine; you just can’t get your body to look the way you want it to? If that’s the case, you’re hardly alone. Many of us tend to make the same mistakes where exercise is concerned-and fitness faux pas can sabotage the very goals we work to achieve.
As a holistic lifestyle coach and Pilates instructor, Manuela Soares says that people have a tendency to focus too much on the end result of their exercise routines, rather than the process. “We just want to get our workouts done,” says the Toronto-based owner of at Ki Pilates studio. “But it’s not a quick fix-it’s a journey.” With this in mind, here are five common workout mistakes we make-and tips on how to fix them.
Mistake #1: Focusing too narrowly on one goal
When it comes to working out, we tend to zero in on changing just one aspect of our bodies-whether it’s losing 10 pounds, getting rid of the belly fat or tightening up a sagging behind. The problem with cutting ourselves into sections is that we then fail to treat our bodies as one integrated system. Exercising just one body part can lead to injury, problems with posture or a physique that looks imbalanced. But even if you do a balanced workout, concentrating on fitness alone isn’t enough to help you reach your goal, says Soares. We need to consider other important factors, such as good food, proper rest and a positive outlook.
Tip: Consider all aspects of your health when designing your workout plan. Explore and combine exercise routines that work both cardio and muscle development, and ensure you work out all parts of your body equally. But also consider changing the way you look at exercise-fitness isn’t just a way to fix body problems, it’s a way to improve your overall health.
Mistake #2: Not allowing your muscles sufficient time to rest
If you’re working put hard seven days a week in order to lose weight, you’re doing your body more harm than good. Exercised muscles repair and develop themselves while the body rests-if you never allow them time off your workout, you won’t see the results you’re after. Plus, constant exercise will simply make you feel tired-and tired people tend to skip workouts.
Tip: Bodies are unique in what they need, and so too are workout regimes. If your muscles are continually feeling tired, consult a fitness expert to discuss what kind of rest period you should allow between workouts. Also, if you’re not able to get enough sleep-for instance if you’re a new parent or going through a busy period at work-then adjust your fitness expectations until you are able to get the rest your body needs.
Mistake #3: Not listening to your body
“We’re listening too much to our egos [when we workout],” says Soares. “We’ve lost that capability to listen to our intuition.” Being aware of what your body is telling you can go a long way in figuring out why we’re not getting the workout results we want. Symptoms such as recurring headaches, gas and fatigue can point to problems in other areas of life that may impede fitness goals. For instance, if bloating is the main cause of your distended stomach, then no amount of crunches will help tone it-you need to speak to your doctor about the symptom and discuss how changes to your diet could help.
Tip: Take note of how your body reacts to variables such as certain foods, the quality of sleep you’ve had, a stressful day or the way you sit in a desk chair. If you can connect physical symptoms to certain aspects of your lifestyle, then taking measures to correct them could help get your body into the shape you want it in. Some trainers even suggest keeping a daily journal in which you record how your body feels at intervals throughout the day, and what you were doing prior to those symptoms (for example, if you experienced back pain while standing in line at the grocery store or headaches before or after drinking coffee).
Mistake #4: Expecting too much, too fast
We live in a culture of instant gratification-we like to see positive results immediately. But buying into the idea that we’re entitled to fast weight loss can leave us feeling like there’s something wrong when we don’t lose 10 pounds in the first week at the gym. That’s when we get so frustrated that we stop exercising altogether.
Tip: Remind yourself that, more often than not, fitness and weight loss take serious time. For some, it can take up to a year of committed exercise before they start to see the results they’re after. Also note, after starting a new fitness regime, you may initially put on a few pounds because lean muscle develops at a faster rate than fat is shed. It may be helpful for the initial starting period to st goals that relate to effort, not results.
Mistake #5: Choosing an exercise regime you don’t like
What all the exercise infomercials, products and DVDs fail to convey is that if you don’t enjoy a fitness routine on some very basic level, chances are it’s not going to work for you. Why? You simply won’t want to do it. Just because your best friend swears by yoga bootcamp, doesn’t mean you will enjoy it enough to stick with it.
Tip: If a workout style isn’t clicking with you, look for one you’ll like better. Think about your personality-are you spiritual (yoga, tai chi), competitive (martial arts), social (dancing), introverted (treadmill, weight training)? Do you want to be outside (running)? Do you have bad knees (not running)? It’s okay to shop around-but when you find an activity you enjoy, be prepared to give it time to work.