The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that may be the case even when we work out. While many of us exercise or go to the gym with the goal of getting fit and healthy, some small mistakes we make hinder our fitness progress or, worse, even lead to injuries.
So, to make the most of our workouts, thou shall not practice these deadly (well, kind of) workout sins:
1. Thou shall not skip the warm up and cool down.
This seems like a no-brainer, but we’ve all committed this mistake and fallen into the trap of laziness (or extreme excitement) to get to the “real workout.” Muscles don’t fully stretch or contract when they are not properly warmed up, so spend a few minutes doing dynamic stretches, walking, or jogging lightly to increase your body temperature. After a workout, cooling down helps the muscles relax and aids in the healing process, preparing you for your next workout. Allot a few more minutes to stretch to maintain flexibility and to stay clear of injury.
2. Thou shall not shun lifting weights.
Some women don’t want to try weight training for fear of getting maskulado, and thinking that they’ll look like body builders. But women have a different body composition from men. We don’t have enough testosterone to bulk up as much as men do. Weight training gives us lean muscles that burn fat faster. It can also improve posture and bone health when done properly.
3. Thou shall condemn bad form.
To have an efficient workout, practice exercising smart, not exercising more. Having bad form hinders progress and may cause injuries. Exercise and check your form in front of a mirror and regularly consult a trainer to find out if you’re doing things right. Always favor quality over quantity of your workout: twenty squats in proper form will give you a tighter butt more than fifty half-ass squats.
4. Thou shall not starve nor deprave yourself of water.
We usually exercise to lose weight, so we simultaneously “go on a diet” and end up starving ourselves. Proper nutrition helps us perform better. Eating fruits, like munching on an energy bar or a banana before a workout can give us more energy and help avoid hunger pangs. Hydration is also key to better performance, as water is needed by our muscles to function well. Drink room temperature water before a workout and take a few sips whenever you feel thirsty. By the way, overhydration is also a thing, so hydrate moderately.
5. Thou shall add spice to thy exercise.
After doing a certain exercise for a while, our body gets used to the workout and goes on auto-pilot, thus our performance and weight-loss may reach a plateau. Try doing different work outs that target different sets of muscles. Instead of just going on the treadmill, try a little weight lifting or circuit training. It’s also good way to prevent you from getting bored and to keep your body guessing.
6. Thou shall not take shortcuts.
In exercising and as in any other aspect of life, not pushing ourselves to do our best means not reaching our full potential. Thinking of skipping the last five push-ups? Why not add five more than the last time? Try working out with your friends so you’ll feel more motivated. Or (again) ask a trainer to supervise you so you won’t over-or under-estimate your body’s limits.
7. Thou shall not expect instant results.
There’s no greater motivation to exercise than a beach holiday… this coming weekend! So we rush into our workout and expect to get a 24-inch waistline overnight. Look for a workout that’s suitable for your current fitness level and ask a coach or expert to assess your progress and modify your regimen afterwards. Having a fit body takes dedication, hard work and a lot of time. Our fistpirations workout regularly and don’t just go to the gym when there’s an upcoming occasion. Exercise is not a temporary solution, it should be a crucial part of our lifestyle.