We’re busier than ever: we need to juggle our jobs, families, social lives, finances and health. It’s easy to slip away and miss out on something, but knowing how important overall physical fitness is, you’re still persistent and don’t want to ditch your efforts. Good on you! However, you might forget some of the crucial things that will lead you to your goals – and then end up frustrated because you have no idea what you’re doing wrong, because you obviously work hard. It’s okay – sometimes you’ll make mistakes out of your best intentions. We’re here to debunk what these mistakes are.
You Don’t Have Clear Goals
This happens so often you wouldn’t believe it – yet so many people just hit the gym in the hopes of achieving something, not really knowing what their “something” is. Of course, having no goal usually is followed by having a no clear path, so you end up doing whatever and then being disheartened because it shows no results. Having a clear goal will help you tremendously in actually achieving it. Do you want to lose fat, or achieve a better time in running a half marathon, or squat that certain weight? Once you have that picture in your mind, it will be easy to come up with a plan on how to do that. If you need help, don’t hesitate to talk to one of the employees at your gym, or hire a private trainer. Knowing what you want to do is the first step and probably the biggest one, so it’d be stupid to miss out on that one.
You Skip Warming Out
Or, maybe equally bad, you just do it in the wrong way. Maybe you remember your PE classes from school when you did static stretches, but science has gone forward and shown that this form of warming up can actually be detrimental to performance, especially if you’re doing it before resistance training. What you need to do instead is use dynamic stretches and muscle-activation drills, such as air squats, bodyweight squats, and lunges, arm circles, push-ups… And don’t skip it, as just starting your workout without a warm-up session can increase your chance of injury. You certainly don’t want that!
You Eat Too Much After Workout
So you haven’t believed in the age-old concept that you need to work out like crazy and eat like a bird – bravo! But it’s easy to fall into the other side of the spectrum and thinking that, because you work out regularly, you can eat too much… way too much. Then again you end up frustrated because, hey, you do work out, why don’t those extra pounds shed? It’s normal to feel hungry after a workout, but this is when you need to be careful not to overcompensate with calories, because you don’t want to just erase all your effort! Your post-workout meal should be small, like a chocolate milk or Greek yogurt, or, even better, a nutrient-dense smoothie with an added teaspoon of whey protein powder. This will feed your tired muscles and soothe the craving, but won’t add any more calories than necessary.
You Do What Everybody Else Does
This often goes together with not having a goal, so if you’ve worked that one out, correct this too! When people in the gym don’t know exactly what they should be doing, they often just copy others, be it endless hours on cardio machines or just going from one machine to the other, not being sure what the machines are for, or, worse, how you should use them. If it’s easy, you stick to that one because it feels safe. Don’t do that! If you have the means, hire a trainer just for the first several sessions – he or she will guide you through the machines and free weights, adjusting exercises to your goal and current physical form. If it’s too expensive, at least the Internet offers countless resources, videos, explanations, blogs, and more. Get to know your body and your gym, and you’re set for the best outcome.
You’re Not Sleeping Enough
This may strike you as odd, but sleeping is actually crucial for your fitness routine. With the lack of sleep, your muscles won’t get enough rest. Certain hormones, such as growth hormone that helps build muscle and burn fat, are active during sleep and inactive in the awake hours, and girl, build muscle and burn fat is what you want, right? Just like you need to work your muscles, you need to let them rest, that is a full circle and one does not work without the other. Do not skip on your precious sleep hours, especially if the alternative is scrolling various applications in bed. (Instagram, we’re looking at you!) Come up with a healthy evening routine that will help you unwind, and have a good night’s rest – every night.
Just the fact that you’re working hard to maintain your form is brilliant – so why ruin it with little things you might be doing that are detrimental to your goals? Correct these mistakes, and you’re off to be a winner!