When it comes to exercise, simply showing up just doesn't cut it. While the right approach can get you in the best shape of your life, the wrong approach can leave you stuck, frustrated and even injured. Find out the five most common workout mistakes and how to avoid them so you can stay on track to being your best self!
Sometimes you’re racing to the gym and just want to smash out your workout and get home. But by skipping your warm-up before a workout or rushing off without a stretch, you’re setting yourself up for an injury and that could sit you out of training altogether. A warm up will get the blood circulating around to the muscles you’re about to use, preparing them for exercise. It accelerates your heart rate to push more oxygen around your body, wakes up and lubricates your joints, tendons, everything, ready to get started. Stretching after exercise is equally as important – after exercise, your muscles can be left in a contracted, shortened state. By performing static stretches post-exercise you are restoring some length to your muscles and helping them return to their natural position – helping posture, blood circulation and easing the potential of soreness and tightness of muscles in the days after your training session. Avoid this mistake by allowing some extra time at the beginning and end of your session, even if that means cutting your training short by a few minutes.
Any exercise performed incorrectly can lead to injury and that’s the last thing you want when you’re working towards a health and fitness goal. Avoid this mistake by seeking or support by a fitness professional, they will be able to help you engage the right muscle groups for the movement, ensure correct range of motion and assign the right pace.
It feels great to master an exercise and do it well, but if you keep doing the same exercises over and over again, you’re more likely to plateau and could risk seeing any results. Avoid this mistake by mixing up your training sessions. If you’re forever on the cardio machines, try some strength training to challenge the body – and vice versa, if you never touch a cardio machine, give it a go, your body will thank you for it.
Rest and recovery are an important part of training – helping the body to get stronger and adapt to cardio demands and skipping rest days can have a detrimental affect on your fitness goals. Overtraining – which can happen when you skip your rest and recovery – can cause both mental and physical fatigue. According to the American Council on Exercise, overtraining can cause moodiness, sleeplessness, fatigue and chronic muscle pain. Avoid this mistake by planning your rest days with just as much importance as your training day. Include at least two days of rest per week, more if you are training at a high intensity.
Training too hard and lifting too heavy can be detrimental to your fitness because it can put too much pressure on the body, leading to fatigue and injury. But not training hard enough can be just as detrimental because your body isn’t being challenged at all and you won’t see any fitness results this way. Avoid this mistake by making sure your body feels challenged when you exercise, allow your heart rate to rise and your muscles to feel the heat, but if you feel light headed or nauseous at any time or you struggle to keep good technique, take a step back.