You’ve just finished your umpteenth workout for the week. You’re feeling run down (as usual). But you take pride in the fact that you’re doing what is required to finally get in shape.
Or are you?
This question used to haunt me regularly in the early stages after I began taking exercise a bit more seriously.
Is what I’m doing really working?
See, for longer than I care to remember, I remained stagnant in terms of true fitness progress and simply blamed it on genetics. I just wasn’t one of those “lucky” people blessed with an amazing body.
There’s just one problem with that: those people don’t exist.
While genetics does play a role in some cases, most of the time it is because those “lucky” people train smarter than everyone else. They know things the general public don’t.
As I began delving deeper into the research and experimenting on myself, I began learning some of these strategies.
Without further delay, here is a list of some of the basic mistakes you may be making (as I did) and what to do about it:
Are You Making These Fitness Mistakes?
- Avoiding the weights section
It’s simple: if you really want to build an amazing body, you need to be incorporating some sort of strength training. Beginners can start by using their own body weight, but transitioning to external loads will produce far greater results. Focus on compound, multi-joint exercises such as squats, lunges and pushups.
- Increasing cardio to try burn more calories
We’ve all seen the masses of joggers pop up every January. Most of us have taken up some form of cardio at some stage in our pursuit of fitness in the belief that it will finally get rid of those last (or first) few pounds. And while it is important to build anaerobic as well as aerobic fitness, there are far more effective (and time-consuming) ways to do so. Rather, try focus on short, high intensity bursts of exercise.
- Failing to log your sessions
What you don’t measure, you don’t manage. This was a big one for me as I had previously just arrived at the gym and jumped right in, not really knowing where I’d left off last time. When you log your exercises, weight, sets, repetitions and rest, you are able to make much better progress, which leads me to number 4…
- Maintaining exercise intensity
If you don’t log your workouts, you have no way of monitoring your progress. Progressive overload is a term used in the fitness industry describing the gradual increase in workout intensity and is used to constantly challenge your muscles beyond what they’re used to. This can be achieved via increased weight, reps, sets, or reduced rest periods.
- Going crazy on the reps
There is a tendency, especially among female exercisers, to focus on high rep ranges using lighter weights. In fact, the true key to building muscle (and an awesome body) is by lifting heavier weights for fewer repetitions. And don’t worry, ladies, this will not make you “bulky”.
- Ignoring what you’re putting in your body
This is where I spun my wheels the most. I always thought that because I was exercising and didn’t need to lose weight, I could eat whatever I liked. Little did I know, when I cleaned up my diet, I started to see real results! Another important nutritional mistake people often make is eating too little. Make sure you’re consuming enough for your unique body and energy requirements!
So there you have it. By avoiding the mistakes above and focusing on what really works, I have no doubt you will finally start to see the results you previously thought impossible.
You can also be one of the “lucky” ones.