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7 Important, But Often Overlooked Tips For Working Out

7 Important, But Often Overlooked Tips For Working Out

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?

7 Important, but Often Overlooked Tips for Working Out {content pic}

    The best $3 you’ll ever spend. photo credit: 1lenore via photopin cc

    Often times, people are pressed for time, so they opt to skip the warm up and immediately get to lifting.

    Bad idea.

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    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.

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    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?

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    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.

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    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

    More by this author

    Julian Hayes II

    Author, Health & Fitness Coach for Entrepreneurs, & Speaker

    18 Basic Rules To Lead A Fulfilling Life Starting Today, Stop These 6 Things to Become the Best Version of Yourself 5 Fun Ways to Transform Your Body And Health When You Don’t Feel Like Going to the Gym 4 Common Reasons Why You Fall Short With Your Weight Loss Goals (And What You Should Do Instead) 7 (Surprising) Actions to Take For Guaranteed Fat Loss

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    Last Updated on July 23, 2019

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

    Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

    How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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    • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
    • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
    • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
    • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
    • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
    • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

    When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

    1. Realize You’re Not Alone

    Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

    2. Find What Inspires You

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    Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

    On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

    3. Give Yourself a Break

    When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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    Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

    4. Shake up Your Routines

    Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

    Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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    When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

    5. Start with a Small Step

    Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

    Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

    More to Help You Stay Motivated

    Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

    Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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