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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

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    Julian Hayes II

    Author, Health & Fitness Coach for Entrepreneurs, & Speaker

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

    1. Breathe

    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

    2. Loosen up

    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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    3. Chew slowly

    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

    4. Let go

    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

    It’s not. Promise.

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    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

    5. Enjoy the journey

    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

    6. Look at the big picture

    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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    Will this matter to me…

    • Next week?
    • Next month?
    • Next year?
    • In 10 years?

    Hint: No, it won’t.

    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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    8. Practice patience every day

    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

    Final thoughts

    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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