And they’re influencing your results more than you think.
If you, like so many at the start of a new year, have been hitting the gym regularly for the past few weeks, you’ve already made the first huge step to a healthier lifestyle.
There’s no doubt regular exercise benefits our physical and mental wellbeing, not to mention our sex drive (*wink, wink*). And no matter how little exercise we squeeze into our hectic schedules, and even if the only reason we work out is so we can sport cute activewear, every step counts.
However, while some of us just want to stay active to maintain a healthy weight, others set themselves more specific goals when starting out at the gym – whether it’s building muscle, improving stamina, or increasing strength. And when those results don’t appear to happen even after months of gymming it, we tend to get frustrated and give up.
But according to personal trainer and founder of fitness program FitazFk, Aaron McAllister, people who don’t get the results they’re after are often making innocent mistakes responsible for their health plateau. Here are six of the worst offenders…
1. Not having the correct fuel
What you eat before your workout can make or break your results. Eating a Snickers bar thinking the calories don’t count as you’ll just work them off anyway won’t do your bod any good (in fact there’s an alarming amount of calories in our fave candy treats). The higher the quality of food you give your body, the better it will function during that intense weights sesh.
“Before heading to the gym, make sure your body is ready for action. I recommend having a high quality simple carbohydrate like a banana or apple one to two hours out from training to increase your performance during your session,” advises McAllister.
2. Not warming up
It may seem unnecessary, but according to McAllister, warming up before your gym session is just as important as stretching afterwards, as you’re giving your body a chance to slowly prepare itself for a maximum effort.
“Have you ever tried sitting down for an extended period of time and then instantly standing up and sprinting at full pace? If you haven’t, good! I’d advise you strongly not to. It hurts!”
The reason it hurts? Your body hasn’t had time to prepare your heart and lungs for exercise.
“Doing this can lead to a massive dump of lactic acid in the body and this can often result in feeling unwell, nausea and even fainting,” explains the personal trainer, who advises doing five minutes of medium-level cardio before launching into your workout.
3. Not having a program to follow
As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Working out not knowing what you’re doing or why you’re doing it will most definitely end in failure. And potential injury.
“Your program should be suited to your needs and be goal orientated to help motivate you to stay on track,” recommends McAllister.
So if you’re just starting out, opt for a program scaled to your fitness level that’s achievable, but also fun enough to keep you stimulated enough to want to go back.
4.Over-training your facial muscles a.k.a talking too much
Working out with a friend is a great idea, and might even motivate you to show up at your gym regularly, but when you spend more time chatting between sessions than you do on the sessions themselves, not only will you annoy other gym goers waiting to use the machines, you’ll also not get any closer to your goals.
“Spend 10 to 20 per cent of the time at the gym talking and 80 to 90 per cent of the time training. Not the other way around,” reinforces McAllister.
5. Avoiding the weights area
A lot of women avoid the weights room because they fear lifting weights will make them bulky. This is a complete myth, and McAllister has the science to back it up.
“Unlike guys, women only have a small amount of testorerone in their bodies. Therefore it takes them a lot longer to get dem gains. Adding weights or resistance training to your routine will help make you stronger and more toned. By increasing your muscle tone you will also increase you body’s ability to burn fat, as well as be a certified hottie,” he explains.
6. Letting selfies rule your world
If it’s not on Instagram, did it even happen? While there’s nothing wrong with recording your progress on social media, don’t let a selfie obsession get in the way of your training, because if you’re constantly checking your phone at the gym, you’ll not only spend less time actively working out, but you’ll also lose focus.
“If you gotta get that selfie, get it at the start, and then train. Try to avoid taking pictures of yourself or being on social media throughout your session,” recommends McAllister.
The results from your regular gym workouts will speak for themselves.
Images via favim.com and giphy.com
Comment: Are you guilty of any of the above mistakes?