Bad Habits at the Gym – How to Spot Them and Eradicate Them
Bad Habits at the Gym
How to Spot Workout Mistakes and Eradicate Them
by Paul Bedford
Two words that should be included in every gym-goers mantra – endurance and enjoyment. So why are you feeling tired and struggling with motivation? Why are you enjoying the results but not the processes? It could be that you’ve picked up some bad gym-going habits – here are the 7 most frequent for you to recognise and, if need be, eradicate!
“MY WORKOUT IS BECOMING MONOTONOUS”
Are you sticking to the workouts that suit you, the exercises that you enjoy the most? You should try to change your regular workout routine every 4-6 weeks. Otherwise, your body becomes used to the exercise and ‘plateauing’ will occur. Try a class or a circuit or spin classes and aerobic workouts.
“I THINK I’LL TRY THIS MACHINE TODAY”
Aimless exercise is a sure-fire way to lose motivation. Keep short-term and long-term goals in mind and chart your progress. A short-term goal might be to up your treadmill incline a notch and a long-term goal could be that all-important weight loss. Remember, if you need a new long-term target, ask the gym staff to set you one!
“I’M PHYSICALLY IMPROVING… BUT MY HEAD’S SO TIRED”
There’s nothing quite like a bad day at the office to put you off going to the gym. A day sat at a computer screen does little for your energy levels and will often leave the brain exhausted. But remember, a good workout will do wonders for your energy levels and leave you feeling revitalised. It will also aid better sleep, thus recharging the brain batteries for another day at the computer.
“Ten minutes of stretching vastly reduces the risk of injury”
“I’LL GIVE IT A MISS TODAY”
Although single-minded focus is commendable you might discover your initial impetus waning after a few months of gym going. World class athletes like Kelly Holmes would never have achieved anything without training partners. A regular partner will help motivate you, add an enjoyable social aspect to your training and, perhaps, even add a slice of competitiveness to your workouts. Plus, it’s much harder to ‘give it a miss’ when you know someone is waiting for you!
“I DON’T NEED TO WARM UP”
Wrong. You’ve so far gotten away with not warming up. Ten minutes of stretching vastly reduces the risk of injury, increases blood flow to the working muscles allowing them to be prepared for exercise and enables your joints to move more freely, preparing them for stressful impacts. Everybody should warm up!
“THE MORE I PUNISH MY BODY, THE BETTER”
Working out too much is dangerous. Beating yourself up with weights and cardio training could mean you are breaking down your body faster than it can repair itself. Unless you are in serious training for a high-level event, three or four sessions in the gym per week with three days off within that is ample for real results. Listen to your body.
“I CAN WHIZZ THROUGH MY SETS THESE DAYS”
Gyms can sometimes be intimidating places. When you’re between sets, don’t let the big guy pressure you into starting your reps early. The waiting time between reps is as crucial as the reps themselves. Time your rep recovery – too short a rest and the muscles won’t have recovered, too long and you won’t get the benefit.
Health and Fitness FAQs
How can I prevent muscle soreness after my workouts?
It’s a good sign to be a little sore the day after your workout but too much stiffness is unnecessary. Warming down at the end of the workout is essential. Too many people shower and go home immediately after their last set of reps. Big mistake! Stretch out and relax those muscles after the workout – try to hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds.
I’ve heard it’s more effective to do cardio on an empty stomach – is this right?
A controversial subject! Some studies have suggested that because your blood sugar levels are low on an empty stomach your body burns more fat. Personally I could never recommend exercising on an empty stomach. Fuel your body with at least a good breakfast and use that fuel to power through your gym session. Simple.
How long should I work the same routine before it starts losing effectiveness?
As a rule of thumb; every six weeks. What is just as important however is that you up the intensity of your routines. Going through the motions will not get you far. The key is variety. Slowly increase the amount of reps, the weight and the resistance. Results will not be far away.