We all know we need to exercise, but not everyone knows the best way to approach it. I’ve been in the fitness community for over 15 years and love to see enthusiastic people start their workout journeys. However, it is not as easy as 1,2,3! To make this a lifestyle change, you must do things safely and sustainably. That is why I want you to know ten common workout mistakes you want to avoid.
No Proper Warm-Up
Warming up gets the blood flowing to your muscles, allowing you to perform at your highest capacity. In addition, it reduces your risk of injury from exercise. Finally, it will enable you to have a better range of motion, improving the comfort and range of movements you perform. A proper warm-up should include light dynamic exercises that mimic your activity to prepare your body to work.
Have you ever seen videos of people pushing a considerable amount of weight but not doing the correct form? To me, this is not impressive. When we exercise, the golden rule should be “form over function.” Incorrect form may lead to injury or deviation from desired results. For example, if you are interested in building your glute muscles but do not perform squatting and bending exercises at 90 degrees, you will not target the glutes. You might build in other areas you do not desire, which is counterproductive to your goals.
You are already busy enough every day, and when you do find the time to exercise, you need to have a set plan. Write down your goals for exercise and how you want to achieve them. Do not waste time randomly going from machine to machine performing exercises without a purpose. It might be beneficial to locate an introductory program or hire a professional. There are even programs online you can do to center your goals.
Always have a goal for a workout program. Setting a goal is different than a plan. A goal is something you want to achieve, and then you make the plan to execute it. A goal that is not realistic for where you are in your workout journey will fail. For example, if you want to do more cardio but hate running, find an activity you love to keep you consistent. As for me, I like indoor cycling classes. It keeps me motivated to be consistent with cardio, but I have fun doing it simultaneously. That is a realistic way for me to perform cardio without it feeling like a chore.
Not Changing Things Up
Once you have a plan for your fitness, make sure you are diversifying what you do. Your body constantly wants to adapt to any change you put it through, so the results will eventually plateau. This goes along with challenging yourself with your program. You might have all the right programming, but results will not come if you are not adding the challenge. Once you adapt to a program, increase the weight or intensity to improve. For a more holistic approach, add in days where you switch up an activity altogether or do high-intensity intervals to see some results.
No Nutrition Component
Underestimating the role of nutrition while working towards your goals is a prominent workout mistake people make. Nutrition makes up 90% of your progress regardless of weight loss, maintenance, or gaining. You should know how to eat for your body type to prevent any frustrations with progress. You can take a look at my ultimate fit foodie guide for best practices when trying to fit a sustainable eating pattern in your busy life.
Lack of Rest or Sleep
Not prioritizing rest is an unnoticed workout mistake. If you made it to the gym seven days in a row, but you did not take the time to rest your body, then are all of those workouts quality workouts? It’s easy to get caught up with a workout goal and forget to relax. In addition, prioritizing quality sleep helps your muscles recover and gives you the energy to exercise. Without enough sleep, muscle strength and the motivation to exercise may be reduced.
Overtraining occurs with those who exercise at a high intensity excessively without allowing the body to get adequate rest. Chronic lack of rest leads to a significant workout mistake of overtraining. In addition, quick increases in intensity, duration, and amount of sessions can promote overtraining. This results in diminished performance, a plateau in weight loss or gains, and psychological stress. Overtraining affects multiple body systems, including musculoskeletal, immune, endocrine, cardiovascular, nervous, and hormonal systems.
Are you focused during your workout, or are you constantly distracted? Distractions mean being on your phone, talking to friends, or just going through the motions like a zombie. When we have distracted workouts, it sabotages our goals by:
- Reducing our reaction time putting us at risk for injury
- Casing strain on our bodies
- Reducing our performance and wasting our time
A final workout mistake is not incorporating stretching into your program. Having flexibility is essential for executing workout routines. Without a good range of motion, injuries can happen. Stretching also reduces post-exercise soreness and allows you to move with ease. Beyond physical activity, remaining flexible will enable you to perform daily functional activities better.
These are just some of the workout mistakes I see. What are some workout mistakes you’ve made? How did you overcome them?