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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 May 22, 2019

    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

    There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

    One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

    In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

    Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

    1. Cat Camel Stretch

    Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

    Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

    Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

    Here’s a video to guide you through:

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    2. Go for a Walk or a Run

    This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

    Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

    The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

    Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

    Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

    3. Jumping Jacks

    Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

    Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

    4. Abductor Side Lifts

    Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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    Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

    5. Balancing Table Pose

    This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

    Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

    ablab

      6. Leg Squats

      Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

      Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

      The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

      7. Push Ups

      You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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      An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

      Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

      This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

      8. Bicycle Crunches

      There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

      Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

      9. Lunges

      Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

      Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

      This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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      10. Bicep Curls

      You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

      Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

      Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

      Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

      Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

      These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

      You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

      Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

      More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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