18 Workout Mistakes You’re Probably Making
Be sure that you’re making your workouts count.
Make The Most Of Your Workout
The most frustrating part of exercising is not seeing results from all your hard work. You spent hours on the treadmill, forever in the weight room, and there's still no sign of a single ab. The reality is you're probably making some pretty big workout mistakes that are sabotaging your success. Here are the 18 most common workout mistakes you're probably making and what you can do to fix it.
You're doing the same thing over and over
You can't keep doing the same workout and expect to see results; your muscles will hit a plateau. Nike Master Trainer Eva Redpath suggests using a training app (like Nike+ Training Club) to track workout intensity and make sure you're continually challenging yourself.
You set astronomical goals
When you're setting up an exercise program, focus on the small goals. Don't worry about losing 30 pounds or getting a six-pack in six weeks; these types of goals just set you up for disappointment.
You're sticking to the same activities
Cross-training and working different muscle groups are both important when it comes to preventing injuries, says Redpath. Add variety to your workouts to keep you focused on your goals while giving you new goals to work towards.
You're going too hard, too fast
Once you decide to start a workout program, you typically hit the gym with a lot of energy. You're ready to make some serious changes. But just because your mind is in the zone, doesn't mean your body is.
You over-rest between sets
It's important to take a break between sets, but don't let your body cool down too much. You want to keep your heart rate elevated, and that means limiting breaks to 30 seconds or less. (So no texting, emailing or online shopping!)
You're only using gym equipment
The gym equipment is a great place to start, but it's not nearly as effective as body-weight exercises or using free weights. You can look up effective full-body exercises online or you can use a training app to guide your workout, but try to move away from the machines.
You're using improper form
To see results from your workout, you need to be activating the right muscle groups. Redpath suggests watching videos online to see how to perform each movement properly.
You're only doing cardio
Many fitness fanatics overlook one of the most important components of a workout routine: building muscle. Some of the most effective exercise programs focus on strength training, so don't ignore it.
You don't keep track of your workouts
How many squats did you do during your last leg workout? Without tracking your sweat sessions, you'll never be able to build or improve. Make sure you know exactly how many sets and reps you did, so you can monitor your progress over time.
You don't warm up
Warming up is one of the most important parts of a workout, but also one of the most forgotten. Make sure you prepare your body for the work that's coming by taking a five-minute walk on the treadmill or practising some dynamic stretches. Cold muscles just don't react the same way to exercise.
You don't stretch
Stretching your muscles after a workout helps them repair faster, so you can build strength and get to your next workout faster, says Redpath. Some apps (including the N+TC app) now have mobility workouts that will help prevent injury and provide oxygen to your muscles.
You're wearing the wrong clothing
What you wear can go a long way when it comes to workout performance. Redpath suggests wearing gear that will wick away moisture and shoes that are designed for your workout to ensure maximum support.
You're lifting too much weight
There's a common misconception that heavier is better, but that's not always so, says Redpath. To prevent injuries, you want to lift the proper amount of weight. If you're breaking form, you're lifting too heavy. Start with a lower weight and increase it as you notice your body can handle more.
There's no doubt that you feel great after one killer workout, but unfortunately, that one workout won't change your body or improve your health. Schedule your workouts like appointments, and make them a top priority in your calendar.
You're not eating enough protein
After you put your muscles through a particularly grueling workout, they need protein to rebuild. Plan your post-workout meal accordingly, and make sure it includes enough protein to support muscle recovery.
You're not taking time to recover
Recovery days are just as important as intense strength workouts, says Redpath. After a hard workout, you need to give your body time to recover with the proper nutrition, hydration and sleep.
You're not drinking enough water
To keep muscles in tip-top shape, you need to be hydrated. Drink a few glasses before a workout, keep a bottle handy while you exercise and re-hydrate when you're done. Staying hydrated will speed up recovery and improve performance.