Check out these 14 bad habits you should avoid to get better and faster fitness results.
1: STICK WITH THE PROGRAMME
Being an exercise enthusiast is one thing, but jumping from trend to trend could mean you never stick with anything long enough to see results. If you’ve found a new activity or class you love, make a commitment to be consistent with it for at least eight weeks to give it time to take effect.
2: FAILING TO PLAN OUT YOUR WORKOUTS
Too much of one type of exercise, whether it’s weight training, yoga or boxing, can cause overuse injuries and a plateau. When this happens the body adapts to the stimulus and fails to make any further exercise gains. So instead of guessing which workout you’ll do each day, take five minutes to write out your plans for the week.
3: ZONING OUT DURING YOUR WORKOUTS
It’s one thing to stay inspired with a great workout music mix, but if you are totally distracted during your sweat sessions, you may not be making the most of your workout time. Whether you are distracted by your phone or thoughts of your to-do list, not paying attention could limit the effectiveness and actually increase your risk of injury during your workouts.
4: NOT PUSHING HARD ENOUGH (OR PUSHING TOO HARD)
When it comes to the overall intensity of your workout sessions, strive to hit a level that’s “just right” for you. Keeping your intensity too low all the time may not be enough of a stimulus to produce results, while too much intensity can lead to overtraining. The key to success is finding the right balance of both. A good rule of thumb is to work to almost your max at least two or three workouts per week.
5: HOLDING YOUR BREATH
Exercisers who lift heavy weights or are focusing intently on grasping a new movement commonly hold their breath. Breathing properly during your workouts not only helps keep your blood pressure under control, it may also make you stronger. Try exhaling during the most challenging part of your movement — when you are lifting, not lowering, the weight. Breathing properly during your workouts could mean the difference between not finishing a set and powering through that final rep.
6: SKIPPING OUT ON COOLING DOWN OR STRETCHING
If you are guilty of wrapping up your gym session and skipping out on a cool down or stretch, you could be missing out. In addition to gradually lowering your heart rate, the cool down phase of your workout is the best time to perform static stretches since the muscles are properly warmed and therefore more pliable. Stretching performed after exercise helps to improve flexibility, posture and can also help to reduce stress.
7: DOING TOO MANY ISOLATION EXERCISES
A lot of bodybuilders focus on using one part of the body at a time with muscle isolation exercises, but the body is designed to move and use multiple muscles at the same time. The body performs five basic movement patterns: the squat, lunge, pushing, pulling and rotation. Focusing your workout program around these movement patterns, versus single muscle group exercises like biceps curls can help improve overall muscular development and burn calories more efficiently, leading to quicker results.
8: STRETCHING TO WARM UP
Static stretching, holding a stretch in one position without movement, before exercise can be dangerous. Stretching muscles when they are not completely warmed up could not only lead to muscle strains and pulls, it could also limit your performance during your workout. Your best bet is an active, dynamic warm up, which is a safer, more effective way to prepare the body for activity. Movements such as doing a short series of arm circles, leg swings, squats and star jumps before a workout helps to increase body temperature, enhance joint flexibility and increase muscle elasticity.
9: EATING WHAT & WHEN?
Your overall fitness is greatly affected by both what you eat and when you eat. Did you know that consuming a healthy snack could actually help you to perform better? Studies have shown that consuming carbohydrates before doing resistance training can actually help prolong a workout and refueling post-workout helps improve muscular strength, endurance and aids in recovery too.
10: CUTTING OUT CARBS COMPLETELY
Many exercisers and dieters think that restricting carbohydrates is the best and fastest way to lose weight. The truth is, carbohydrates are needed for both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, as the body uses muscle glycogen as a primary fuel source when you work out. While it may be a good idea to eliminate unhealthy sources of carbohydrates, such as refined sugars and heavily processed foods, cutting all carbs could have a noticeable, negative effect on your workouts.
11: FORGETTING TO FOCUS ON TECHNIQUE
When it comes to exercise, quality is much more important than quantity! The best way to make the most of your workouts (especially with new activities), is to schedule a session or take a class with a qualified fitness professional and take the time to learn the proper form and technique. Better to do less reps with top technique!
12: AVOIDING HEAVY WEIGHTS (FOR FEAR OF BULKING UP)
If you’ve been steering clear of lifting heavy weights for fear of bulking up, you could be falling short of your goals. This is one of the primary reasons women fail to achieve their fitness goals and their best bodies as they simply do not have high enough testosterone levels to achieve a significant amount of muscle building. Building lean muscle by lifting weight that is heavy enough to make those last few reps hard to do without losing form is essential for weight maintenance — especially as we age and lose muscle year after year. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate, which means you’ll burn more calories even at rest.
13: LIFTING WEIGHTS THAT ARE TOO HEAVY
Many men lift weights that are simply too heavy for them to handle safely. Training with a weight that is too heavy means you’ll have to use more momentum to lift it and actually decreases your muscles. That will not only dramatically decrease your results, it will also greatly increase the chance of injury. You’ll get more out of it by slightly reducing your load, focusing on your form and slowing down your movement.
14: EXERCISING DEHYDRATED
Several studies have shown that even mild dehydration, a water loss of about 2 percent, can negatively affect exercise performance, which is why it’s so crucial to make sure you are properly hydrated before and during your sweat sessions.