Stop Making These 5 Workout Mistakes
From blasting belly fat to trimming your thighs, a toned body starts in the gym. So whether that gym is a corner in your living room or the trendiest spin class, DON’T fall into the trap of making the 5 workout mistakes in today’s blog!
1. You’re Doing Too Many Reps (Or Not Enough)
The muscles in your body are designed to perform different tasks…your leg muscles are made for endurance, while your arms aren’t. So, you need to vary your reps according to the muscles your training. Upper-body pressing moves work your fast-twitch muscle fibers, so the trick is to perform less reps (sets of 6-8). Your lower-body muscles can handle more reps, so increase the amount to about 12 per set.
2. You’re Isolating Instead Of Integrating
Imagine your body as a composition of symmetry. If you focus on toning certain muscles, but ignore others, it can case imbalances. Remember, your body is only as strong as its weakest link.
Using this “Integrate Don’t Isolate” method trains your body to perform functionally…the way nature intended. Whether it’s playing tag with the grandkids or hoisting a bag into the overhead compartment on a flight, real life is about twisting, bending, lifting, and pulling. This functional integration recruits multiple muscle groups and trains them to work as a team, improving your metabolism, efficiency, balance and reducing your risk of injury.
So next time you work out, try using this functional approach to focus on integration. For example, instead of doing a basic bicep curl and isolating the muscle, perform a bicep curl combined with a squat and overhead press, so that you’re incorporating both upper and lower body muscles as well as the core. Integrating multiple muscle groups in an exercise boosts metabolism and burns more calories in less time, making it a terrific timesaver.
3. You Don’t Warm Up
The first stage of your workout should be a warm-up…especially on days when you’re going for broke with HIIT training. You want to “oil the machine” before your workout. Although gentle stretching can be part of your warm-up, controlled, full-range movements using the muscles you’re planning to train are a better way to prep your body.
Your goal is to raise the temperature of your muscles and switch on circulation. You’re not trying to increase your flexibility or tax your muscles with a warm up. Five minutes of any light activity that involves those muscles will work. Walking or light jogging are good ways to warm up the legs; light dumbbells or rowing are good for the arms.
4. You Avoid The Weight Rack
I was shocked when I read that less than 25% of Americans over the age of 45 strength train. If you’re one of the 75% of middle-aged Americans who aren’t strength training, listen up!
Although our chronilogical aging begins the day we are born, our biological clock never stops ticking. And with that, comes biological aging. Research is showing that you can actually slow down, and even reverse, the age of your cells and muscle tissue. The solution? Strength training.
Strength training becomes more important for us with every passing year. That’s because of something I call The Great Decline. Starting around age 30, we lose about 1% of our muscle mass every year, and then that loss starts to accelerate in our 40s and 50s and beyond. We start to lose bone density, our energy gets depleted, and we become more prone to chronic illness. The key to reversing the Great Decline is strength training, because strength training helps:
- Maintain muscle mass
- Prevent osteoporosis
- Prevent diabetes
- Improve heart health
- Boost metabolism (so you can burn fat more easily)
- Strengthen core and back (protecting aches, pains and injuries)
5. You’re Always Working Out Alone
One of the biggest secrets to sticking with exercise is to train with a partner. Having a training partner is a way to harness some of the group momentum found in a workout class and bring it to your workout. A workout buddy is fitness gold and offers many benefits, including:
- Decreases your likelihood of skipping a workout – you keep each other consistent and accountable
- Helps spot for safety during exercises where you could be injured if you lose control of the weights
- Provides built-in motivation – you always have a cheerleader and competitor next to you
- Workout sessions will fly by as you joke and chat with your training partner
It’s important to learn from mistakes, especially when it comes to fitness. Be mindful of these 5 workout mistakes over the next few days and see what happens when you avoid them. Correcting your mistakes might just help you reach your next fitness goal or break through a plateau!