Are These Common Exercise Mistakes Keeping you Fat?
Exercise in general is great for your overall health and fitness and no doubt, there are far too many people that are very sedentary and don’t get any exercise with the exception of walking from the couch to the refrigerator. But this article is not about them. This article is for those who are already participating in some form of exercise program.
Here are some common exercise mistakes I see people making in the gym and talk about on social media.
Too much cardio, not enough strength training
Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, I see the same people tearing it up on the cardio equipment in the gym. They’ll spend a good 30-60 minutes a day either on the treadmill, elliptical machines or stair climbers.
Then there are those who are group exercise class fanatics. I’m not putting down group exercise classes. They’re a lot fun, a great way to workout with others, sweat as a group, make new friendship and yes, burn calories.
The problem with most group exercise classes is that he class routines are always the same and in essence, you’re doing the same workout over and over again.
Lastly, there are the runners/joggers. Again, this is a great way to burn calories, enjoy the outdoors, clear the mind and work up a great sweat.
So, why is all this cardio not going to help you?
While cardiovascular exercise is beneficial, what it doesn’t do is give your body shape and keep your metabolism revving long after you’ve exercised. I too was once a cardio queen and could not understand why I wasn’t getting leaner and shapelier from all the marathon cardio sessions I was doing.
Strength training, pumping iron, lifting weight. This is what builds metabolic muscle and gives your body the shape you’re looking to have. Without this key piece, all the cardio in the world isn’t going to give you the body you’re looking to have. If anything, strength training will help IMPROVE your cardio vascular training and help break you out of your rut.
Not challenging yourself
More often than not, most of the people I see working out aren’t challenging themselves. Actually, they’ve been doing the same workout “routine” for years. If you’ve been doing the same workout for more than three months, it’s time to change it up. Not changing up your workouts is what creates the dreaded plateau which keeps your body stuck in a rut.
Change your tempo, rep range. Try a variety of super sets or tri sets. A small change can make a big difference.
Another mistake I see people doing is using weights that are too light for them. This is true of both men and women. If you can do more than 15-20 reps without any effort, you’re not lifting heavy enough. You should be using a weight that challenges you, that makes you grunt squeezing out the last 2-3 reps, and depending on your goals, should be working somewhere in the 5 – 15 rep range.
Not working out with intensity
If you’re spending more time chatting with your friends or chatting on your cell phone or reading while you’re working out, you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing and you’re not working out intensely. If you think it’s just women who are guilty of this, think again. I see plenty of men doing this too.
Time and time again, I have watched people in the gym just going through the motions because they’re spending too much socializing in the gym or chatting away on their cell phones.
You should be focusing on your workout. Are you really squeezing the muscle you are working? Are you grunting and sweating while you’re working out? Are you really pushing yourself as hard as you can? If you answered no to any of these questions, or not sure, you’re not working out with intensity and not getting results.
Lifting too heavy
I love lifting heavy and so does my ego. I love the challenge. I also make sure that when I lift aggressively, I am lifting with correct form and that I am working the muscles that should be worked. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have watched people in the gym lifting weights they can’t handle. Their form is so sloppy that they’re not even close to working the muscle that should be worked. It becomes more about working your ego than your muscles. Guys, you need to take your ego out of the equation.
If you’re lifting more weight than you can handle and not putting on the muscle you’re looking to gain, you’re simply not fully contracting the muscle(s) you are looking to target. Not only that, but over the long haul, you can set yourself up for an injury.
While you’re lifting, focus on thinking about your muscles and what you are feeling. Be aware if you are feeling your muscles fully contracting and getting a full range of motion. If not, drop the weight by 5 pounds and focus on your form and really squeezing your muscles.
Doing too much exercise can be just as bad as doing too little. If you’re training more than 5 days a week, you’re doing too much. When you are training, you’re tearing down muscle fibers. If you’re not giving your body time to rest and recover, your muscle fibers will never get a chance to rebuild themselves.
When you let your muscles rest and recover, you are giving the muscle fibers a chance to repair themselves. When they repair, they come back bigger and stronger. Rest, repair, recover and grow.