1. You skip your warm up
Sports physiologist Michael Bracko explains that “your body literally needs to warm up so that blood flow increases, the nervous system wakes up and the body starts to use energy and oxygen more efficiently”. By skipping a warm you may be compromising your workout and putting your body at a higher risk of injury. Ideally a warm up should consist of stretching followed by your chosen activity at low intensity, e.g. if you are going for a run, stretch and then walk before running.
2. You stick to the same routine
The same workout day in day out causes boredom, which leads to a lack of motivation possibly resulting in you skipping workouts. Moreover, repeating the same exercises can cause a plateau in weight loss. This occurs because your muscles become accustomed to the same movements, meaning they become less efficient. Variety ensures every muscle group in your body is worked and your effort is worthwhile.
3. You avoid weight training
Many women hear weight training and envisage their bodies morphing into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s. This is not the case. Weight training strengthens your body and builds lean muscle, which equals a toned body. Penn State researchers split participants into 3 groups: no exercise, aerobic exercise (cardio), cardio and weight training. They found that although both exercise groups lost 21 pounds, the weight training group lost 6 pounds more fat and virtually no muscle!
4. You rush your repetitions
Exercise is about quality not quantity. A wise man once said “our patience will achieve more than our force”. You may think rushing saves time, but it doesn’t. Rushing through your routine doesn’t achieve results, but it does put you at greater risk of injury. You may be rushing due to incorrect equipment. If your weights are too light, you won’t be challenged but if they are too heavy you’ll be relying on momentum not muscle to complete reps.
5. You do too much at once
Not every muscle has to be worked every session. To get the most from a workout you should plan ahead. Decide what your session should focus on, because focus and control achieves results.
6. You remain at the same pace
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a super way to workout. HIIT burns fat, strengthens your heart and achieves results in a shorter period of time. A 2006 study found that after 8 weeks of HIIT training participants were able to cycle twice as far as they could at the beginning of the study. Furthermore HIIT increases your metabolism by stimulating the production of human growth hormone (HGH), which burns calories and slows ageing, by up to 450%. Even better you don’t need fancy equipment because the aim of HIIT is about exerting maximum effort for a short period of time, then having a short recovering period and repeating.
7. You rest for too long
A rest in exercise terms doesn’t mean a quick nap, a tea break or time to read the newspaper. Rest means a quick pause lasting no longer than 30 seconds. “Any more than that and you’ll lose the benefit you gained from the previous set” says fitness professional Bob Greene. Muscles need to remain fatigued to build strength.
8. You don’t cool down
A cool down aids recovery after exercise by ridding the muscles of excess lactic acid. It also returns heart rate to normal, prevents blood pressure from falling (which causes a faint feeling) and re-circulates blood around your entire body. Ideally your cool down, like your warm up, should consist of a low intensity version of your chosen exercise followed by stretching, to avoid soreness/stiffness.
Now you know how to do it, it is time to actually do it…off you go…trainers on, weights out, stretch. The sooner you start the sooner you will reach your goal (and be happier and healthier)!