Have you established a consistent and successful gym routine? There are some challenges associated with figuring out what works best for you. Whether it is your gym schedule, exercises, or form, you’ll need to know about common workout mistakes you should avoid. This could help ensure you aren’t spinning your wheels during your workouts.
We’ll touch on some fitness blunders to avoid and best practices you can take to remedy them.
Working Out Too Little (or Too Much)
It’s tough to decide how many times a week you should be going to the gym. It is especially difficult when you are starting a new routine, with your new-found motivation leading you down a less than optimal path.
Overtraining is a real threat to your progress, with too little rest being proven to negatively affect overall performance. Not only can this physically hold you back. But mental burnout can also lead to an abandonment of your routine altogether.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, too little exercise can provide a false sense of accomplishment. Doing 30 minutes of cardio twice a week won’t justify an extra dessert every night. An hour of cardio burns on average about 400 calories. Don’t go crazy at the buffet and expect to lose weight because of a couple of gym sessions.
Choosing the Wrong Exercises
Exercises aren’t created equal. Similarly, your body parts don’t work the same way. If you are looking to gain strength, high aerobic rep ranges isn’t going to help as much as fewer reps at a higher weight.
This also means focusing on one or two body parts per workout, effectively training the muscle, and then taking the appropriate amount of rest days.
Using the Wrong Form
While this may seem like a simple aspect, you’d be surprised to see how many gym-goers don’t understand the basics.
Improper form leads to ineffective muscle strain, leaving your strength and muscle size to flounder. This can also lead to minor or severe injury, so proper form should take precedent over total weight and reps with every exercise.
You have many online tools and professional guidance from gym trainers to help with your form. Even fellow gym-goers could be a great resource of knowledge, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
Not Understanding Your Goals
Everyone has different goals when entering the gym. Some may want to lose fat, while others may want to gain muscle. Knowing which exercises adhere to your goals and how to implement them is an important step.
If you are looking to gain muscle, having a focus on cardio is obviously taking you in the wrong direction. Similarly, if you just want to trim some fat and weight, heavy weight-training isn’t going to be your best option. Examples of effective workouts can include:
- Fat Loss- HIIT (high-intensity interval training), steady-state cardio, and full-body circuit routines
- Weight and Muscle Gain- Progressive overload and power-lifting routines.
While you can combine bits of both into your workout routine, having a focus on one or the other will provide the appropriate direction to your end goals.
Not Increasing the Difficulty
Touching a bit more on the aforementioned progressive overload, not increasing the total weights and reps of your routine can lead to a plateau. If you are looking to gain muscle, you should always be attempting to slightly increase the weight of your exercises from workout-to-workout. If you can’t increase the weight, increasing the total amount of repetitions can also be a step in the right direction.
Not Switching Up Your Workout
While there is some debate around the theory of muscle confusion, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be changing your workouts slightly over time. Performing the same three leg exercises can leave you in a rut physically as well as mentally.
Switching up your routine will not only add more excitement to your workouts. It will also allow you to train your muscles from different angles for increased growth.
Your muscle structure is a sophisticated collection of groups. A static one-exercise-fits-all gameplan will leave various muscle groups without attention, so find different movements to attack your body from multiple angles.
Not Resting Properly
Few people realize that muscle gain actually happens outside of the gym, as opposed to when you are working out. Rest days are the most critical aspect of effectively gaining muscle and strength. It is recommended to have at least 48 hours of rest in between training the same muscle group.
Combined with proper nutrition, sufficient sleep and rest are where your muscle recovers and grows. Without this, you can once again experience plateaus as well as mental and physical fatigue.
If you are new to the gym, finding out what routine you should be following can be a daunting task. While obviously this shouldn’t scare you away from working out, having the right knowledge beforehand can save you time and frustration down the road.
Keep all these tips in mind when pursuing your fitness goals, and don’t be afraid to make some adjustments to achieve your best results.