8 Workout Mistakes to Avoid

workoutPhoto courtesy of Whologwhy

As someone who has recently committed to adding fitness back into my life, I was definitely a little rusty at first.  I had been without a solid workout routine in over two years, and, although my lapse was justified with some pretty legitimate reasons, some extra weight had crept ont. Thus, I made the decision to go forth once again into the fray.

Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a similar situation – slowing metabolism, physical limitations, or “life got in the way.” Whatever your particular reason may have been, if now is the right time to start exercising again, you surely want to get the most out of your workouts. As you work to hone your internal self-awareness, don’t forget to acknowledge your physical self, too. Your physical body must be in good condition so you can make the most out of all of life’s opportunities. Optimal physical health and fitness will only serve to enhance enjoyment of the world around us.

As I jumped feet first into exercising again (literally – I took up swimming), I wasn’t seeing the results I had anticipated. I needed a refresher on how to get the most out of my workouts, because I was doing a few things wrong. Here are several mistakes many newbie athletes make, and how to avoid them:

  1. Refueling on Gatorade: On my way through my gym to get to the pool, I see bottle after bottle of brightly colored Gatorade or other similar drinks. Unless you’re training for a marathon – downing such a sugar-laden drink isn’t only unnecessary – it’s self-sabotage. Ditch the sugary electrolyte replacement for good ol’ H2O.
  2. Spending hours at the gym: If your idea of exercising is long, slow workouts, you’re probably not getting the results you want. Working at too low of an intensity won’t burn enough calories. If a low energy level is to blame, add more protein to your diet and avoid processed carbs. The most effective fat burning workouts are “in and out in 30 minutes.”  Short, intense workouts have been shown to burn more calories than the long, leisurely social calls that so many people call “exercising.”
  3. Reading on the treadmill: My own personal experience is this: If you have enough focus left to read, you’re not working out hard enough.  Leave the book at home and pop some ear buds in. The music will be much more inspiring than any reading material.
  4. Doing the same workout week after week: Many people (women especially) fear bulking up, so they stick to the same, repetitive cardio workouts for months or even years at a time, preventing their bodies from ever making any changes. Your muscles get as bored as your brain does, and you’ll never get over that plateau unless you switch things up.
  5. ENERGY bars: Sometimes I know I have to eat something before a workout or I’ll probably pass out while doing it. However, inhaling an ”Energy” bar is definitely not the wisest choice. Loaded with fiber, they sap your energy as your body works hard to digest them, cramping your workout (and possibly your stomach). The better selection? A banana – “nature’s Power Bar” – it has easily digestible carbs (fuel) and high levels of potassium, which helps nerve and muscle function.
  6. Avoiding the scale: Obsessing over your weight isn’t a good habit to get into, but stepping on the scale once a week has been proven to aid in weight loss. It is motivational and also keeps you from straying.
  7. Skipping weight training: For those who fear weight training because they don’t want huge muscles or are afraid of injury: rest assured. Resistance training is the key to increase lean muscles and get rid of stubborn fat areas. Switch out your cardio for some weights at least twice a week.
  8. Hating your workout: If you dread your exercise routine, you’ll probably end up skipping it more often than not, leading to stored calories and pounds gained. Workouts don’t have to include a gym! Play outside with your friends or your children, explore some nature trails or do lunges and stair runs in your own house.

The key to making your workouts successful is doing something you enjoy (at least most of the time), following a few simple rules, and committing to an active lifestyle for the rest of your (healthier) life!

To that end, tune back in to TinyShift on Monday to check out our latest giveaway – it’s bound to get your asana in gear!

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