Make the most of your workout!
You’ve worked so hard just to make it to the gym today, only to find you’re not really getting the results you expected. Why? It could be a combination of a dozen things, but here are the top 5 mistakes I find people making which sabotage their progress:
1. Not making (or changing) a plan before going: There are a hundred plus things you could do at the gym, it’s no wonder most people are confused and overwhelmed. Make a plan for your workout, just as you would any project. Insure you’re getting each of your muscle groups worked at least once per week, and at least 2-3 hours of cardio for the week. Remember too to keep your plans changing and fresh for both mind and body benefit.
2. Quitting the set before muscle fatigue: We’re wimps – admit it! We stop when the going gets tough. Now, I’m not advocate for “no pain no gain” and you should stop if you hurt. But if you’re just feeling a burn or it’s getting hard – keep going. The goal is to use an appropriate weight that really fatigues your muscles – this is what makes them stronger.
3. Relying solely on cardio: You may feel like you’re burning more calories doing cardio, but weight training has significant long term benefits that cardio can’t provide. While it’s true cardio burns more calories – it only does so while you’re doing it. Weight training on the other hand, builds muscle mass, which requires more energy to maintain, ergo – you burn more calories during the day, all day long. I recommend weight training 4-5 times per week for 20-30 minutes at a time (p.s. that doesn’t mean you don’t have to do cardio!).
4. Skipping the warm up and cool down: A very common mistake for time strapped folks like me is to go straight into a workout, or finish a run and walk straight out of the gym. I promise you if you do this, your body will make you pay for it. Proper warm up before, and cool down/stretch after, insure you get maximum benefit from the workout, and that you avoid a strain or injury which could sideline you for days.
5. Food overcompensation: To lose weight, we must burn more than we take in. But you knew that already. The challenge with starting a new workout routine (or diet) is that your body doesn’t like this, and it’s going to tell you so. When you start to workout more and eat less, your body feels hungry – because it’s used to more calories. Many people who start a new workout routine either start eating more (as their body says “hey, I’m hungry!”) or as a “reward” for working out. Pay attention to your calories if weight loss is your goal (write them down), and show your tummy who’s boss!
So just remember, make a plan and keep it fresh, combine weight training & cardio (and really work it!), make time for the warm up/cool down, and watch your food calories. Simple right? … And have fun!