Many of us think we’re doing well by our bodies by working out regularly. However, many of us are not exercising properly and in some cases are doing more harm than good. In other cases, our behaviour after our workouts is compromising all the hard work we just put in. Here are a few ways we may be sabotaging our exercise routine.
1. Too Many Exercises
The quest for that perfect body leaves many of us packing our workout with a variety of exercises designed to impact ever single muscle. In actual fact, most lifters would make more progress just by focusing on the basics than doing every chest exercise imaginable. Focus on 4-5 basic techniques.
2. Excessive Cardio
Performing cardio is absolutely essential if you want that perfect physique—but it’s easy to get carried away. Cardio burns calories, but calories build muscle, so adding size will be difficult if your body is fighting a constant calorie deficit. Additionally, going overboard on any type of training can interfere with your recovery and spike the stress hormone cortisol, which can interfere with muscle growth and fat burning.
3. Your Workout Is Too Easy
Some people go to the gym believing that they are automatically healthier just by stepping foot in the gym. You may be working out, but your body may not be doing much to actually get yourself in shape. If you’re not feeling the burn at the end of your 30-minute jog, you might want to consider stepping it up to a run.
4. You’re on Your Phone
This is becoming one of the most common mistakes people make while working out. Your selfie can wait. When your phone is a distraction, this cuts back on time you could be working out. Put your phone on airplane mode so you can still move to your playlist and not be distracted by your friends’ latest Snapchats.
5. You Have a Poor Diet
You can’t have a ripped body without eating well. In addition to exercising, diet is a key part of living a healthy lifestyle. Working out regularly while living on a fast food diet will not only leave you feeling unwell, but it will also compromise the full potential of your workout.
6. You’re Skipping Workouts
Exercise is only effective if you’re doing it regularly. Consistency is key. If your workouts are few and far between, your body is going to reflect that. Skipping workouts is one of the most likely ways for you to fall off your exercise plan. It’s so easy for one missed workout to turn into two, then three, then four.
7. You’re Trying to Copy Other People
If you’re working out with someone who is faster and stronger than you, it’s easy to compare yourself. Just because a workout is right for your friend, it doesn’t mean that it is the perfect fit for you. Try to focus on your personal exercise goals and perform exercises that will help you get there.
8. You Ignore Your Recovery
Recovery should be a crucial part of everyone’s training session and overlooking this is one of the biggest ways you’re sabotaging your workout. Our muscles need to have proper time to rest and repair. Taking 10 minutes after your training session to stretch will loosen up any stiffness and time to prevent injuries from occurring.
9. Poor Playlist
While this may seem trivial, having the right workout music can make the difference between an effective workout and a useless one. Listening to the right music can change your motivation level and encourage you to work harder. Before going to the gym, make sure you have the perfect playlist that you know will keep you going during your whole routine.
10. You’re Not Addressing Your Weaknesses
Sure bench pressing may be more rewarding or even more fun, but you still should be doing your squats! Doing some of the familiar workouts that we enjoy might be our default setting, but this might not actually be helping our fitness levels. Take a serious look at which movements you repeat and ask yourself why this is. Addressing your weaker spots is a great way to improve your body composition.
11. You’re not keeping time
Some of the most overlooked aspects of training are the speed of your lifts and the length of your rest periods. When you lift at certain speeds it allows you to properly complete the lift. This means that you’re keeping muscles under tension for a specific period of time which is critical to delivering the desired effect. Additionally, rest periods should be monitored. If you don’t give yourself enough time to rest, you could be sacrificing some strength. On the flipside, if you wait too long to start your next set, you might be compromising your workout’s metabolic effects.
12. Your technique is terrible
You know the saying “old habits die hard”? If you’ve developed some less-than-ideal workout habits, you’ll have to make an active effort to make sure you rectify these errors or else, at best, you aren’t getting any benefit out of your exercise. At worst, you might actually be making yourself vulnerable to injury—possibly even a permanent one.
13. You’re not fueling pre-workout
You may not be getting the most out of your workout if you’re not eating properly beforehand. Much in the same way a car needs gas to run, your body needs to be properly fuelled in the form of carbohydrates in order to feed your muscles and your brain. Carbs provide you with the amount of energy required to exercise harder and burn more calories in the process. Just be careful—there are some foods you shouldn’t make part of your pre-exercise workout. This means no trips through the drive-thru before hitting the gym!
14. You’re way too stressed
While working out can be a great way to relax, if you’re entering into your workout with too much stress, you might find yourself having a harder time achieving that desired six-pack. Many studies have shown a connection between the stress hormone cortisol and weight-gain, particularly in women. This means no matter how many calories you’re trying to lose, if you remain super stressed, you’re not likely going to achieve your desired weight.
15. Not Hydrating Before Your Workout
We all know that we’re not supposed to exercise without a trusty water bottle, but most likely you’re forgetting to drink water beforehand—especially if you work out in the morning. After a full night’s sleep, you need to replenish your supply of water. How much you drink also depends on the workout you’ll be doing. If you’re strength training, you might want to drink more water than if you’ll be running sprints; otherwise, you’ll have liquid moving around in your stomach.