We always overlook the simple things, especially when it comes to working out.
Working out doesn’t need to be daunting nor confusing. In fact, working out should be a fun way for you to relieve stress (besides having sexy time).
Before you get caught up in the latest and greatest way to work out, check out 7 of the most overlooked tips for working out. Master these 7 tips before moving on to anything else. You must crawl before you walk.
1. You’re forgetting to warm up.
Lifting weights and cardio are the sexy aspects of training. Warming up (i.e. the non-sexy part) is often thrown to the backburner.
Let’s be honest: when’s the last time someone got excited to use a foam roller and lacrosse ball and go through mobility drills?
Often times, people are pressed for time, so they opt to skip the warm up and immediately get to lifting.
The likelihood of injury goes up for those who prefer to skip the warm up. By properly warming up, you decrease muscle stiffness (by increasing blood flow), reduce the risk of injury, improve performance, and psychologically prepare yourself to workout.
2. You’re not focusing on form.
Besides looking good, using proper form has a plethora of benefits, such as ensuring the correct muscles are being targeted, proper breathing is being maintained, and you are able to lift more weight (strong is sexy).
By not paying attention to form, you run the risk of muscle strains, tears, joint problems, and back problems. It’s hard to be the hottest version of yourself when you’re on the shelf for weeks.
Leave the ego at the door and have flawless form before ramping up the weights. If in doubt, go hire a personal trainer.
3. Your nutrition is lacking.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
“I can’t recover from my workouts; my muscles are sore for days.
“I have little to no energy; I’m always freaking tired.”
(the showstopper) “I can’t seem to lose any weight.”
90% of the time, you’re not eating enough food to supplement your workouts. Eating is how you supply your body with calories, which provide you with energy. Supplying your body with nutrients helps your body grow, become stronger, lose weight, and boosts your metabolism.
Depriving your body of nutrients leads to poor gym performance, metabolic problems, and weight gain.
Making great food choices is your opportunity to reshape your health. Your workouts and body composition depend on you making nutrition a priority.
4. You’re using too many machines.
95% of the machines at gyms are useless and serve no purpose.
Two examples of such are the smith machine and the hip abductor/adductor machine (it’s the one where girls sit down and spread their legs back & forth in hopes of spot reducing their thighs).
Often times, a machine works a single muscle and limits your range of motion. With free weights, you use multiple muscles, including those forgotten but important stabilizers.
Stick to compound exercises (squats, deadlifts, shoulder & bench presses, & hip thrust), limit isolation exercises, and save time in the gym.
Lastly, it’s (way) more fun to drop some heavy weights as opposed to simply adjusting a pin on a machine.
5. You’re not challenging yourself.
Have you become bored with your routine?
Is your routine too easy now?
Have you hit a plateau where the weight isn’t coming off?
If you answered yes to any of these, then you are most likely experiencing a side effect of not challenging yourself.
I recommend staying with a routine for 4–6 weeks before changing, but waiting too much longer after that reduces the effectiveness of your routine.
Your body is one smart cookie, so doing the same thing repeatedly won’t cut it.
Instead of thinking about increasing the duration of your sessions, focus on the intensity of these sessions. Implementing metrics such as increasing weights, decreasing rest periods, switching exercises out, using supersets, and limiting seated exercises are excellent ways to keep progress moving in the right direction.
6. You’re trying to use long distance cardio to lose fat.
Someone states they want to lose weight and the first sentence out their mouth is “I need to start running.”
People unfortunately associate fat loss with running on treadmills and using elliptical machines and Stairmasters.
While you will most certainly sweat with the above options, those aren’t the most efficient in terms of losing fat. Relying on long distance cardio can cause your cortisol levels to rise (slowing fat loss down), increase food cravings (hello binge eating), and take up too much time.
An alternative to long distance cardio is high intensity interval training(HIIT), which alternates high intense moments with periods of rest. This training is more efficient, burns more calories and keeps your metabolism elevated longer.
Set a goal for 3 strength training days and 2 HIIT sessions weekly.
7. You’re not resting and recovering enough.
People often fall into the trap of exercising more and more, thinking this will lead to quicker progress.
Bad idea. Your body can only handle so much.
Working out breaks your body down. Only through rest can your body build itself back up to be stronger for the next session.
Sometimes less is better.
You grow and progress when you are resting and recovering—not during the actual training sessions.
Your turn. What is a common workout tip that people forget? Comment below or tweet at me. I’ll love to hear your responses.
Featured photo credit: bobsfever via flickr.com