Beginning a new fitness routine is a fantastic way to improve your overall health and wellness. Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of everything from obesity, to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. Of course, it’s also an exercise of patience.
Many people begin their new workout regimen with lofty ideas of what they would like to achieve in mind. While there’s every chance that you might come close to your ambitions one day, it’s not going to be an overnight fix. Yet, in our haste to get healthier, we often expose ourselves to injury and other problems because we make the same old workout mistakes. Not only are these mistakes painful, but they can also stop you from working out for weeks at a time – stopping your transformation in its tracks.
Whether you’re a beginner, or one of the veteran athletes still making rookie mistakes, it’s time to examine the problems with your workout, and what you can do to beat them.
1. Having No Distinct Goal
What are your exercise goals?
Having an idea of what you want to get out of your workouts is a fantastic way to give your routine motivation and direction. After all, if you want to work on heart health, you know to hit the cardio, while dropping excess pounds means regular strength training.
However, once you have a goal in mind, you also need to figure out if it’s right for you. If your goal is to lose forty pounds in the next ten days, you’re probably not going to achieve it. Setting appropriate goals can help you to stay motivated, and focused. Ask yourself about your abilities, your commitment levels, and your lifestyle, and make sure your goals are SMART:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
2. Pushing Too Far, Too Soon
The prospect of a new and improved you is exciting, but you shouldn’t allow it to override your ability to listen to the needs of your body. Many people assume that just because they’ve had a couple of good days at the gym, they’re ready to take their routine to the next level. However, it’s important to be patient, and create a slow build from one week to the next.
The soft tissue (muscles and fat) in your body takes time to respond to the efforts that you’re making, and you can’t force your body to meet your urgent schedule. Pushing yourself to accomplish huge athletic feats is unlikely to let you reach your goal any faster – instead you just open yourself up to greater chance of injury.
3. Ignoring the Warm-Up
A good warm-up prepares the body and nervous system for the impending physical stress of a workout. Speak to a professional trainer and they’ll tell you that dynamic movements to get your muscles working in the right patterns are essential to promoting flexibility and reducing the risk of injury. Dynamic movements include everything from jumping jacks, to skipping, and more.
Although it’s tempting to skip the warm-up when you’re keen to get started, forgetting to prepare yourself for the trials ahead means your muscles won’t be elastic enough to manage the new range of movements. Warming up prevents injury and helps to get your heart-rate up so you’re in the perfect state for physical achievements.
4. Failing to Think about Form
Form is perhaps the most essential factor you can think about during a workout or exercise routine. Everything from a lopsided run to poor lifting in the weight room can cause serious issues to your health, and your workout routine. If you don’t take the time to learn how to properly align your body for each movement, then you’re placing additional stress on joints in a way that your body isn’t designed to handle.
For example, if you start running to improve cardio, placing too much landing pressure on your heels can lead to knee pain, while landing on your toes can cause Achilles problems. With strength training, bad technique can lead to a whole host of ailments and potentially serious weight-lifting accidents.
When you ignore form, small muscles get overworked, joints get uneven levels of wear, and your entire body falls out of balance. Listen to your body as you move, and if something feels wrong, seek the help of a coach.
5. Ignoring the Resting Period
While a quick and effective workout can be important, it shouldn’t come at the expense of full resting periods. After all, you could train every day of the week and still fail to see the results you want, because adaptations happen within the recovery period. In other words, no matter your goals, constant workouts aren’t going to cut it. You need to let the body recover so it can burn fat or build the muscles you want.
Sleeping allows for the release of certain hormones, like the growth hormone or IGF-1, which assists in sculpting your body into your ideal shape. If you don’t rest, you simply don’t grow.
So, there you have some of the most common workout mistakes that athletes make. If you’ve been struggling with some of these problems, try changing up your routine today and seeing just how much it improves your progress. If we’ve missed any common mistakes, feel free to share your insights with us in the comments below!