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Hooray! You’ve finally decided to hit the gym and mend your unhealthy ways. While this might be the best decision you’ve made (only if you stick to it), there are some counterproductive actions that you need to avoid. Here are some workout mistakes that you need to avoid at all costs:
Working Out On An Empty Stomach
It might seem logical not to fill up your stomach before going through intense physical activity. However, not eating before working out is a sure fire way to end up feeling tired and burning less calories than you could have. Now, this does not mean you begin to gorge on a 3 course meal just before you exercise. Fruit, eggs, whole-wheat bread and black coffee are some pre-workout snacks that will boost your energy and make your body workout ready in no time.
Soreness, laziness and exhaustion are completely normal when you start working out. None of these, however, are justifiable excuses for skipping your workout. Not only does skipping workouts make you feel even more exhausted and sore, it also undoes the progress you’ve made. If you’ve made a commitment to yourself, it’s best that you stick to it until you reach your goal.
On the flip side, working out too often isn’t the best idea either. In the beginning you might be too pumped up and end up overdoing it. You need to give your body time to recover between workouts. It’s best to plan a workout regime with your trainer and give yourself at least one day off from exercise. If you feel more tired than energised all the time, you might need to change your regime.
Not Warming Up
Skipping the warm up is a good way to achieve sore muscles and increase your chances of injuries. Before going into high intensity workouts, it is imperative that you raise your core temperature and get your body ready to sweat it out. A few lunges, squats, high knees and leg raises will get you there. Do not start without them.
Not Knowing What Supplements To Take
After you’ve eased into your workout, fixed your diet and seen some positive results, it’s time to start taking supplements. Choose protein or vitamin supplements according to your goal such as muscle gain, weight loss or appetite suppression. The right supplements will boost your energy and give you better results.
Exercising The Wrong Way
There is a wrong way of exercising and it can be fatal to your goals. The wrong way includes doing too much or too little cardio, overstraining your muscles to the point of sprains and spasms, focusing only on one muscle group every day and not resting between reps. All these mistakes increase the chances of injuries while slowing down progress.
Make sure you strike a balance between cardio and strength training while working out different muscle groups each time you work out.
In case you do injure yourself, take a few days off and make sure you follow the RICE (Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevate.) technique before you go back to your routine.
How To Do It Right
In order to get the most out of your workout, you need to have the right form. When you lack form, you gain less and get hurt more. Here’s how to do it right:
Floor Exercises (Push-ups, lunges, squats etc.)
- Relax your shoulders and lift up your chest
- Keep your abs tight as this supports your back
- Keep your head held up and look out at your eye level to support your neck
- Keep your knees slightly bent so as to prevent them from locking
- Remember to keep breathing between reps
Strength Training (Weight training)
- Start with a weight that you can lift comfortably about 12-15 times
- Do not hold your breath
- Keep your core string while you lift to avoid losing form
- Distribute body-weight evenly across your feet to attain balance
- Keep your feet apart and knees slightly bent
- Do not let your lower back bend as it can lead to a herniated disk
Cardio (Treadmill, cross-trainer etc.)
- Warm-up and stretch before you start
- Alternate between high and low intensity to avoid straining
- Keep your heart rate up. If the heart rate isn’t up, you’re being too easy on yourself.
- Drink water before and during cardio to avoid excessively elevated body temperature
- Hold on to the machine handles to avoid injury
Now you will never go wrong and will achieve quicker results. And if you still haven’t started working out – what are you waiting for?