New research revealed that women are increasing their workouts, but are they making mistakes whilst doing it?
There's no point in putting in so much work and effort if you're not going to reap the rewards.
There are many bad habits that can mean that your workout is doing more harm than good. We spoke to Kieran Fisher, founder and managing director of Bodybuilding Warehouse to find out what you should be avoiding when doing your workout for maximum benefits.
- Going cardio crazy
Jumping straight on the cross trainer and running like Mo Farah in a bid to burn away those calories and avoiding weights for fear of ‘bulking out’ is one of the most common mistakes to make.
Endless cardio routines will burn muscle and could push your metabolism into a worse state than it started. Hitting the weights, will keep a stimulus on your muscles and keep your metabolism up at the same time.
- Routine on repeat
You know what you’re good at, so you stick to it. But despite thinking you’re not a natural runner or your arms are too weak for bicep curls, doing the same routine for too long will lead to a plateau and you will stop seeing results.
If your gains have stopped, don’t be afraid to switch your routine. Just because you like something doesn’t mean it is the best thing to do in order for you to hit your goals. Ask for advice from gym staff, you’ll be surprised by the different number of exercises you can do for different muscle groups. For instance if you want abs like Nicole Scherzinger but hate crunches, the plank position will be just as effective.
- Living by the machine
Don’t use cardio machines to count the calories you burn as the only factor of how hard you work. Everyone burns calories at a different rate depending on many different factors. A machine will not be able to tell you your exact expenditure - use them as a guide not as gospel.
So many people expect changes in a week, but consistency will be key in your goals. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen, if you are consistent and work hard giving your body the right amount of time. Depending on how often you train and the intensity of your programme it can take between four and eight weeks to see visible results. If you haven’t got that long, look into high intensity interval training (HIIT.) These workouts are not for the faint hearted but they aim to boost metabolism and melt away fat much quicker than a regular workout.
- Post exercise binge
You deserve it, right? Wrong! Your appetite may increase but consume the correct foods and your body will thank you for it. If muscle tone is your goal you’ll need to add more protein into each meal. Protein shakes are not just for body builders and your muscles need refuelling after a workout in the correct way. Diet versions such as Performance Diet Whey V2 is low in fat, low in sugar and carbohydrates and packed with protein to quench appetite and reduce hunger.
- Too much, too soon
It’s tempting to lift the heaviest weight you can or run as far as possible as soon as you get to the gym but this will lead to muscle fatigue and can also make you burn out so you’re less tempted to return. Learn the good form in all your exercises so you understand how the muscles are supposed to work when they are being contracted under the tension of the weights you are lifting.
- The crunch factor
Blasting out 300 crunches to try and achieve a washboard stomach can lead to imbalances between abdominals and lower back and ultimately injury. Take a look at the classes on offer that will show you many new exercises you may not have even considered before. Ask your instructor for tips on how to get the most from each exercise – they’ll be happy to help you! Not only that, but one of the biggest things stopping people from achieving the perfect ‘6 pack’ is their actual body fat levels, it is really true when they say that abs are made in the kitchen. Good nutrition is key in revealing those abs.
- Copying others
Learning by copying others in the gym is not the way to go. I’m not saying the person you’re emulating doesn’t know what they’re doing but from experience, a lot of people know what works for them and if you copy them it doesn’t always relate to gains your end. Learn what works for you, the individual. No one is the same.
- Working out on empty
Too many gym goers fuel their workout with just water and expect to lose weight and tone up faster. But if you're doing your workouts on empty, you won't optimise your performance and can derail the progress you are making in your exercise plan. Ensure you take in a healthy and balanced diet including more greens, fruits and vegetables, or adding lean proteins to your diet. Sports nutrition supplements can complement your workout, depending on the result you want to achieve.
- Pain equals gain
Don’t use soreness as a guidance to whether you had a good workout or not. Just because you haven’t experienced DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) doesn’t instantly mean that your workouts are bad. It could be a major indicator that your body is recovering well and that your nutrition is spot on.