We all know that to maintain a healthy and effective body exercise should be a regular occurrence for us but there are some common mistakes we can make that completely sabotage and hinder your goals!
Regular and consistent exercise programmes can reduce your risks of heart attackes, stroke, cancer and even diabetes, it can imp[rove your sleep patterns, increase energy levels and even make you think clearer and improve your productivity in work. For those with aches and pains regular and the right kind of exercise can even reduce symptoms and suffering!
But here are some common mistakes that even your seasoned pro might be guilty of!
- Missing the warm up phase – there are 2 major things you need to achieve when you warm up the first is as it sounds; to warm the body, in particular the muscles in preparation for the exercise ahead. You can move muscles for as little as 10-15 seconds to start this process so the warm up does not have to be long or drawn out. The other important element is to basically prep the joints for the range of movement you are going to put them through. If you are planning on going for a run for instance swinging the leg back and forth will prepare the hip joint and muscles for that movement. If you are planning a weights session some dynamic warm up exercises like arm circles, squats, chest openers or even a simple lunge will do the trick. Your personal trainer or fitness coach should prepare a warm up that matches your exercises to reduce your risks of injury and get the blood flowing.
- Not eating post workout! Or eating before the workout! All too often I hear people say “I’m burning off my supper” the concept that you exercise after eating means you burn off what you have just eaten but this is a classic error. In fact there is evidence to suggest that exercising whilst fasting is an efficient form of fat burning. However what you do afterwards is critical. As a general rule of thumb a resistance or strength programme requires a protein post workout and ideally within 30 minutes. A protein shake is ideal but if you don’t like these something as simple as scrambled eggs or even peanut butter is a good way to go. On the other hand a cardio workout needs a combined effort of complex carbohydrates and a protein, a feta salad, chicken and veg or even salmon and spinach for instance is a good combo about 30-45 minutes post workout.
- Training too much and not taking recovery. Over training can cause a chronic release of stress hormones, this can start to have a detrimental effect upon your training and in some instances cause your body to hold on to fat, so if your goal is fat loss over training could be your biggest down fall. Recovery through rest days and even sports massage is critical if you are a regular exerciser. Massage for instance every few weeks will help to increase muscle tone, improve circulation, reduce your risk of injuries, improve range of movement and even help to reduce those stress hormones that can be playing havoc with your training goals.
- Lack of sleep! You need sleep, whilst this may seem a hard thing to achieve for many people due to children, work schedules or just poor sleep habits you should certainly take some time and effort to try and achieve 8 hours sleep a night. Lack of sleep can cause an imbalance of many hormones, this can increase your hunger making it harder to control health eating habits and even encourage fat deposits. There are even studies to suggest that the hormone imbalance caused by lack of sleep can increase risks of cancer.
- Doing the same workout too often and for way too long. If I had a £1 every time someone told me they had been a member of a gym (normally big chains who really should do better) and that they use the treadmill for x minutes, the cross trainer for x minutes and then the rowing machine for x minutes and they have done that 3 times a week for the last x years I would be rich, seriously! Workouts should be changed and adapted regularly, as your body improves and changes so too should your workout. If your gym offers a service of regular updated programmes then take them, use it, change it and get their expert opinion, it will do so much for your health. Unfortunately many gyms charge for this services so if you are looking for a gym ask about regular reviews and if they are included in the membership.
- Poor technique. If you are going to exercise then you may as well do it well! This is another total point of frustration I have with the fitness industry. Allowing people to exercise with poor technique is not right. You can not only cause damage but often there is very little point in even doing it. I watched a guy at a gym recently doing press ups, he was doing them really fast however there was a huge arch in his lower back and the only thing moving was in fact his head which was bobbing up and down and his hips which were dipping and lifting in time with his head, his elbows stayed in exactly the same position. It was not my club but there was a fitness instructor in the gym who looked and carried on without intervening! WRONG! Have good technique, find a gym that will coach you, get a personal trainer or whatever you need to do to do it right.
- Failing to listen to your body and working through pain. We have all heard of that quote “no pain no gain” but sometimes this is awful advice. If you have pain it can be a warning that something is not right, its how your body tells you that there is a problem and you should listen. I am not taking about the exercise induced DOMS or exercise ouchies of working those muscles. If you have an injury you might need to slow down, change your programming, get advice and recover before going back to your old ways. If your club has a pilates coach invest in a programme for recovery, grab a sports massage treatment or get your fitness coach to plan your recovery programme. Then get back to your original goals.