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The Ultimate List for Common Strength Training Mistakes to Avoid

The Ultimate List for Common Strength Training Mistakes to Avoid

Opting for strength training is a great decision for everyone, irrespective of their age or weight. It does a lot of good for your present as well as future health. However, it’s important to note that thousands of people get injured due to strength training every year as they make one common mistake or the other. Even when you have been doing it for quite some time, and think that you can do it perfectly and no risks are involved, you might not be correct all the time.

Studies have found that people tend to make very similar mistakes during their strength training regimen, which usually remain unnoticed. But it is important to figure out these mistakes in order to avoid injury during your training sessions.

Here is a list of the most common strength training mistakes that should be—and can be—avoided:

1. Training beyond your capacity.

There are a lot of people who feel a little embarrassed to exercise with less weight, as they are worried about what others will think! This ultimately doesn’t help you as you are exercising your ego, and not your muscles. It is always wiser to lift weight that suits to your capacity, and not something that will injure your tissues or muscles. So, make sure you are confident about what you do and are not influenced about what others think or say.

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2. Exercising until your muscles fail.

Make sure you have a trainer beside you while opting for strength training. This is important as they will help you complete repetitions if it becomes tough for you to complete all the sets on your own. But then, make sure this does not become a habit and you are not taking your instructor’s help each and every time you are doing a set. If you keep on training your muscles until they fail, you are exposed to the risk of heavy injuries.

3. You are not clear about your exercise regime.

If you are thinking of doing the exercises that you see others doing at your gym, you are making a big mistake. Make sure you consult a fitness expert; tell them your physical condition as well as your requirements. They will consider all the factors thoroughly and then create a customized exercise regime to suit your health and fitness objectives. Make sure you are aware of the purpose of each of the workouts before doing them. For instance, if you don’t know why you have been told to do barbell bench, instead of dumb bell press, figure out the reasons for it.

4. Using too many reps.

You might want to add muscle and gain some weight quickly, which is why you have decided to work hard at the gym. Now, if you think that working hard is similar to overworking yourself and doing too many repetitions, you are wrong. Many people tend to do more repetitions than they have been instructed to do, and thus injure themselves. Make sure you are doing a maximum of five repetitions of every exercise as this will help you gain weight. You can also include some test boosters to get more effective results

5. Working out during illness or injury.

It is rightly said that you need to get proper amounts of rest when you are feeling sick. Sickness gives rise to weakness. Working out when you’re ill will leave you tired without giving you the expected benefits. Adequate amounts of rest will help your body consume energy that will help you recover from the illness. Do not make use of this energy to build muscle tissues, as this might worsen the situation. Similarly, it is advised to take ample rest after an injury. This will help you recover sooner and prevent the situation from worsening.

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6. Inadequate amounts of rest before the next workout.

Various studies have reported that the muscles in our body need about 24 to 48 hours to recover after a workout. This depends on the kind of workout, the intensity and the diet followed during those days. Rest is the best way to let your muscles recover by themselves. There is no doubt that by working out, you are stimulating growth in your body. But this growth takes place only when we take enough rest after the workout. Rest also helps muscles gain enough strength for further working out.

7. Lack of warm up exercises.

The majority of injuries usually occur due to inadequate amounts of warm up. Warm ups are necessary as you need to get your heart rate up and let the blood reach the muscles before you perform any heavy exercises. Some dynamic stretching can be a part of warming up too. This will help prevent further injuries.

8. Denying the consumption of food.

Many of us love eating, and we do not keep track of what we eat and the quantity we consume it in. But our eating habits contribute majorly to the success or otherwise of our weight loss plans. Many people are used to denying the amount of food they actually eat. It is advisable to be true to yourself and keep track of what you eat. Noting it down and maintaining a food diary will help you realize the actual amounts of food that you eat. This will help you keep control over your diet as well.

9. The fixed workout routine.

The principle of adaptability states that when you get used to a certain routine or task, you will be able to perform that even better if you keep repeating it. A similar effect can be seen in the workout pattern. It is a good practice for sportspeople to follow the same routine, but when you are working out for weight loss, it is best advised that you keep altering the workouts. The alterations can be to the movements you choose, the amount of weights you use, or the number of repetitions you follow.

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10. Measuring the wrong results.

A person undergoing a weight loss plan always thinks that the best way to check results is the scales. But we fail to understand that there are a few exercises that burn fat and a few that help build muscle. Thus, judging your results based solely on your weight is a bad idea. You may not find the scales showing rapid results and this could cause you to be discouraged. Taking your measurements is a better indicator of progress.

11. Improper methods and techniques.

If you have made up your mind to exercise and lose weight, just doing a little bit of movement will not help. You need to learn the correct exercises that work on specific body parts and also the frequency and the number of times they have to be repeated. Exercising without focusing on the necessary techniques will lead to further injuries. Thus, the best way to learn the correct way of exercising is by starting with a personal trainer or a coach.

12. Lack of carbohydrates and fats.

It is usually said that people who have undertaken a weight loss program should avoid the consumption of carbohydrates and fats. This is actually untrue. You need to consume enough of both these nutrients, just from the right source. Carbohydrates are considered to be the main source of energy in our body. If not present, the body will use any other nutrient to produce energy, after which we may feel weak. Adequate amounts of fat from sources such as olive oil and organic nuts are also necessary.

13. Not following a training log.

Competing against your own performance will help you work out better. Maintain the intensity of the workout you perform each day. A great way to do this is by multiplying the number of repetitions with the amount of weight you have taken. Then, next time, you can increase the number of repetitions, or the weight, or both. This will help you increase the amount and the time of your workout daily.

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14. Workouts that segregate muscle groups.

Many people perform exercises that might focus on a particular muscle group, usually the hamstrings or the biceps. In general it’s better to avoid such isolated exercises. Rather it is best to perform exercises like squats, in which all the muscles—from the legs up to the shoulder—get a workout.

Before you work out, make sure you are aware of these 14 pitfalls and steer clear of them. Also, consult your trainer to know about the best dietary supplements that you can include in your diet for quick results.

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How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

His motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • He riles up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

Becoming the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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