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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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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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