How are you doing on your New Years resolutions? Have you stuck to the commitments you made 30 days ago? Have you been exercising and eating right? If the answer is no, don’t worry. Start now. Start today. If the answer is yes, congratulations! Now it’s time to take it a step further.
Getting into the gym, or wherever you choose to workout, is a fantastic achievement and often the most difficult part of an exercise program. Once you have your workout schedule down, you need to make sure you are doing all you can to reach your goals. Today I want to talk about some things you may be doing in your fitness routine that could actually be hurting you more than they are helping you.
1. Skipping your warm-up
This is by far the biggest mistake I see from new exercisers and people who have been working out their whole lives. Rushing through or skipping a warm-up completely is one of the biggest reasons people experience injuries and muscle imbalances. Warming up is a way to prep your muscles for your workout. Your warm-up should be different everyday depending on what muscle group you are working. For instance, if you are working your glutes and hamstrings, your warm-up may include the following things: foam rolling and static stretches for the hips, quads and calves, activation of the glutes and hamstrings, and a little bit of cardio to get blood flowing through the body. As you can see, warm-ups include a mix of activation of the muscles you want to work and stretching of the muscles that commonly prevent you from feeling your (glutes) in certain exercises. This kind of warm-up is going to make your workout 10 times more effective and ensure you aren’t creating or worsening any muscle imbalances, which can turn into injuries.
2. Setting unrealistic goals
This is another huge mistake people make. When you set unrealistic goals, you set yourself up for failure. Now, I’m not saying that the goal of losing 100 pounds is unrealistic (if you have 100 pounds to lose). But it is unrealistic to believe you can lose that in two months. Set small goals (5 pounds) with realistic deadlines (2-3 weeks) and continue to make new goals once you have surpassed the previous one. It’s better to continuously succeed at small things than to fail and quit on something more extreme.
3. Skipping your recovery
I talked a lot about the negative effects of skipping a warm-up, and skipping a cool down comes with similar consequences. Cool downs not only protect you from injuries and imbalances, but they can prevent soreness and more serious health issues like blood pooling. If a workout is stopped abruptly without any recovery time, the blood that has been rushing through your body may pool down to your lower extremities causing your brain a lack of blood flow, which is the cause of many dizziness and fainting spells at the gym. Slow your roll and take at least five minutes to recover after your workout.
4. Doing the same workout again and again
Many people say in exercise, every little bit counts… but that is not always true. If you do the same little thing everyday, eventually it will stop working. Our bodies adapt quickly to everything; this is why when you jump into a cold pool you are only cold for a minute or two. Depending on how often you do your workout, your body can adapt as quickly as a week or two. Variety in a workout routine is key for a successful transformation. Get out of the habit of doing the same reps, exercises and sets. My MFit Membership program comes with a workout calendar, which will give you the variety you need to see your body change. If you struggle with workout programming (what workouts to do on what days) or even what to do during your workout, you should check out the MFit Membership program for just $4.99 a month.
5. Ignoring your nutrition
I work with many different types of individuals, and if one of them questions why they aren’t losing weight, it almost always comes down to nutrition. For many people, exercise changes how the body looks but diet takes off the extra pounds. I have many nutrition articles on this blog that you can check out if you are wondering how to clean up your diet. But know that if your fitness program isn’t working, you need to look towards the kitchen and see what you can do differently.