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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

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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