You’ve probably come across different and sometimes contradicting advice for exercising. Here are 8 workout mistakes that you should avoid from now on.
Do you wonder why you don’t get the expected results although you workout regularly? You probably think that a couple of long workout sessions three times a week will do the trick of carving the body of your dreams. But you might be getting it all wrong. Because you may have adopted some harmful and unproductive workout habits without even realizing it, so get comfortable. It’s time to reveal some workout mistakes from the initial drive to the last move of the workout so you can learn how to deal with them.
Incorrect Timing of Food Intake Before Your Workout
If you are determined to be in good shape, you might choose among various alternative nutrition plans. You can switch to a low-calorie diet consuming between 800 and 1200 calories a day for females and 1500-1800 for males, which will make you lose around approximately 1 pound per week. You can also go on a very-low-calorie diet that allows you a daily intake of 600-800 calories or on a ketogenic nutrition plan with a maximum of 50 g. of carbohydrates daily and a high fat intake. This will give you a boost to your dream of having the desired body. In addition to a better appearance, losing weight is beneficial to your health in many ways, such as reduced load for your heart, less bad cholesterol in your blood, and diabetes prevention. As you can see, following a weight loss diet plan helps your body look good and slows your heart’s aging.
No matter what nutrition plan you follow, there is a common mistake that even some advanced gymsters make – working out on a full stomach. In such situations, you won’t be able to finish exercising because of feeling unwell. With all the food to be digested in your stomach, the blood is directed away from your diaphragm, and as a result, the transport of oxygen to your muscles might be compromised.
What should you do? You might eat at least 45 minutes and no more than 2 hours before a workout. Ensuring you time your food intake properly guarantees you a successful workout because it gives you the blood sugar you need. Speaking of energy, there is another secret I will tell you. With the proper fuel like carbs and protein rich-foods, you recover from your workout sessions’ stress, and you become as tough as nails.
Hitting the Gym Without a Plan
Picture it – you have spent the whole day at work, dealing with tedious jobs and weary as you are, you get to the car, drive home to pick your fitness bag up, and make it to the gym. And then what do you do? You have no idea what muscle groups you are going to train. What are the chances for you hitting the gym at all? If you have ever been in such a situation, you are perfectly aware that they are close to none.
And even if you manage to get to the gym, working out without pre-planning can result in wasting a lot of time. Your workout sets, reps, and muscle groups to train should be thought over in advance and should align with your fitness plan for the week and your body’s condition. As you realize, preplanning will help you feel physically and mentally prepared for exercising and improve your workout’s efficiency and performance.
So what is the best option you have in a situation like above? Spend a few minutes thinking about your time in the gym before getting there. This will get you ‘tuned’ both physically and mentally and prevent feeling ‘lost’ in the gym. If it requires some intentional effort in the beginning, don’t quit. As it is getting habitual, it will come easily and naturally.
Either a marathon or nothing
This is where you are already ‘tuned’ mentally and physically, and you’re ready for an effective workout. You’ve set out your goals, let’s say losing body fat, and you know that cardio is a great solution if you want to burn calories fast. You roll your sleeves up and start with the marathon.
The paradox is that if you don’t do enough cardio, you are fooling yourself, but if you overdo it, you are pointlessly tiring yourself. Of course, you’ve heard that cardio is useful for the heart. But you need to know your limits because if you do cardio excessively, this eliminates the survival benefits of exercising and has a negative effect on your cardiovascular system.
Here is a fact that may just come as a surprise to you – a study with more than 55 thousand participants proved that the people who run short distances have the better heart condition than those who do marathons. That’s right. So if you do cardio for more than 45 minutes, it will neither be beneficial for your health nor will improve the quality of your workout, just on the contrary. What are the consequences? Your workouts will be inefficient because you will not only drain your energy but feel demotivated for the more demanding part of your workout.
Dehydration During a Workout
How much water do you think you should drink during cardio or a workout? Well, dehydration can result in health problems. Many gymsters prefer not to drink water when working out, but this is the wrong choice. Your body effectively loses liquids during workouts. If you don’t want to torture your body and have a chronic weakness, you should stop depriving yourself of water.
With all of this in mind, make sure you haven’t forgotten your bottle of water when you go working out tomorrow. Because drinking at least two liters of liquids during a workout and eating water-rich foods protects you from stress, ‘greases up’ your joints, lessens irritation, and reduces weight. But what if you are down-and-out and need extra energy?
If you’re doing tiresome and demanding workouts, they are likely to drain your energy, and all you’ll want to do is go home and take a rest. Well, that’s how I feel sometimes. In this case, you might drink sports drinks or caffeine drinks that will give you the extra energy.
Saving 10 Minutes by Skipping the Warm-up
Let’s face it. Sometimes, pressed for time and trying to run against the clock, you tend to skip warm-up exercises to save 10-15 minutes and focus on the full-load part of your workout, right? Well, as you will realize, a warm-up is just as important as every other part of your workout routine because it results in poor performance and decreased overall workout efficiency.
Just like entering a cold bath, skipping a warm-up before a workout will impose abrupt stress on your cardiovascular system and overload your heart excessively. It can result in muscle injuries, such as overstretching, strains, and tearing. That’s why it is essential to prepare your body and mind for a workout.
So what exactly does warm-up include? Lower-intensity and slower-paced exercises, such as walking, light jogging, or slow cycling before the workout routine. In short, your body temperature rises, and your heart rate and breathing speed up, so your blood flow and oxygen efficiency improve. And here is the best part – Your muscle elasticity and the movement amplitude increase, which boosts your speed, strength, and endurance for the workout.
You can work out regularly. You can follow a healthy and balanced diet. You can even have a great body. But if you overtrain frequently, you will feel exhausted, you may experience muscle and joint pain, and all your workouts will be a waste of time.
Off the record, I think you should know that to compensate for the stress and the calorie loss, your appetite will grow and the cortisol levels in your body will rise. All these factors tend to contribute to weight gain. If you don’t stop on time you’re most likely hit a plateau, which means that having reached a state of shock, your body will not burn but retain fat.
Well, fear not, because taking breaks between workout sessions, getting enough sleep, and eating well will avoid adverse impacts. Remember that as a general rule, after every five-six weeks of intensive workouts, you need a break of a week or two to give your body time to recover and regain strength. Don’t push yourself working out too often because the adverse impact exceeds the benefits.
Planning your short-term recovery is the balance that will help you maximize workout efficiency and avoid injuries. It is like the key that unlocks all doors for achieving your fitness goals. So how do you recover effectively after a workout?
In essence, short-term recovery refers to the post-workout period. It includes the cool-down immediately after the workout and the activities during the consequent hours. You might consider doing post-workout low-intensity exercises and stretching for the last 10 minutes in the gym. Why? Because they will save you from muscle pains and reduce the stress on your cardiovascular system due to the abrupt transition from intensive workout to rest.
In addition to recovering effectively, you have to eat a meal within thirty to sixty minutes after the workout. It ensures your post-workout energy and muscle recovery. The particular foods to include, your fitness goals, and the workout intensity determine your nutrition needs and choices after working out.
You’ve taken your food on time before your workout. You’ve prepared your workout plan, and you’ve learned not to overtrain. But if you don’t sleep enough, all workouts could be a waste of time because undersleep has a pronounced adverse effect on your performance. Do you sleep enough?
You probably know that regular undersleeping affects your health and workout performance in various ways. In short, it leads to stress, fatigue, and poor performance. It also changes the neurotransmitters’ levels responsible for controlling appetite and feeling fullness, and the result is increased appetite. In other words, lack of sleep makes you choose high-calorie foods and carbohydrates, which are not among the best and the healthiest food choices for you.
Remember, sleeping enough is beneficial for your mental and physical condition and improves your immune system and memory capacity. It is the heart for muscle recovery, strength, and endurance. The balanced neurotransmitter levels ensure adequate appetite control and make the correct food choice as easy as apple-pie. After all, if you want to build your desired body, you have to sleep between seven and nine hours.
As you have probably already realized, the path to the desired body is hard. Don’t make it even longer with these mistakes. Avoiding them is the key to building the desired body because these are the basics of the workout. Think about it. Where will you be a year from now?
- Avneet, Oberoi. Hydration and Exercise-Essentials to Health. LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, 2015.
- Ezeonwuka, Jemand. Breaking The Chains: Gaining Freedom From Your Fat Loss Plateau. Eze Fitness Group LLC, 2016.
- Keane, Brian. The Fitness Mindset. Rethink Press Limited, 2017.