Getting ready to hit the gym? Before you do, take a minute to readthe following to make sure you are avoiding making these common mistakes duringyour sessions!
For my avid gym goers or recent starters, you have probably allseen the person at the gym doing who knows what on a piece of equipment. Resistance machines not being used for what they are not intended for, cardio equipment being used for exercises OTHER than cardio and gym equipment being left out ofplace after being used are probably a few things that have left you shaking your head. Oh and of course there is always that person that thinks they are Hercules trying to lift the equivalent of their grandparents’ old car using extremely bad and (I think your spine isgoing to pop out of your back) scary form. It’s funny sometimes to think about and witness some of this but these are also instances that can quickly become pretty dangerous and cause significant injuries.
Lets be real for a second, none of us are perfect and we have allfallen victim to poor form during exercise every once in a while. That being said, it’s important that we do our best to avoid unnecessary accidents during our gym sessions. Errors we make training, in any environment, regardless ofhow big or small can ultimately affect our ability to reach our fitness goalsand can potentially be sources of injuries that in some cases can be chronic innature. Here at the clinic we get asked about gym workouts all the time so wethought a quick guide about some items that people find difficulty with might help. Here is a list of the biggest mistakes that are often seen in the gym that I think you want to watch for; as well as tips on how to avoid them.
Having bad form when performing exercise is one of the biggest mistakes made at the gym. This does not necessarily just mean obvious movement flaws, but also includes a lack of mind to muscle connection (knowing which muscle group is being strengthened or used). Repeated poor technique will teach the body incorrect movement patterns and also target the wrong muscle groups. It may also make you feel more sore or tight! More often than not, this bad form is caused by trying to lift too much weight. Don't be afraid to consult a professional and use a lighter weight until the proper form is mastered. Thiswill not only reduce your risk of being injured, but also make your workouts more efficient and effective!
Overdoing Cardio & Avoiding Resistance Training
For a lot of people, their initial goal when beginning an exercise regimen is to lose weight. Yes - this is a great reason to become more physically active, but the common misconception with weight loss is that you need to perform an overwhelming amount of cardio to see and maintain results. The confusion lies within the principle of energy expenditure-in versus energy expenditure-out (calories in vs. calories out). Of course, with an increase in cardio there will be an increase in overall calories burned for the day BUT this will not aid in increasing functional strength and overall lean musclemass. There are an infinite amount of benefits from resistance training, some include: reduced body fat resulting in reduced risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease and obesity related cancers, increased insulin sensitivity which reduces risk of type 2 diabetes, reduced risk ofosteoporosis, improved joint stability & strength...the list goes on! An increase in lean muscle mass will also increase your basal metabolic rate, which is the amount of calories your body uses to function at rest!
Repeating the same Workout
Our bodies are very smart and adapt to the loads and demands we place on them if they remain the same. What this means is that once our bodies become accustomed to specific exercises, we no longer experience the same benefits as we did when they were new. I am not suggesting that there is a need to completely change every exercise being performed during each session, but there should be a slight change in the load being placed on the body. This canbe done through increasing the amount of weight being used, increasing the repetitions being performed or making slight modifications to the exercises to make them more difficult. If you are new to exercise or you are unsure on how to change your workouts, consulting a professional would be your best tool! I would also suggest trying something new like Yoga or a group fitness class. These are great resources that almost every gym provides for their clients and will also help introduce you to new exercises!
Keep Yourself Accountable - Never Give Up!
There are many parts to keeping yourself accountable. This means finding time to create a schedule that will keep you consistent and compliant to your workout routine. A lot of the time you may find yourself to be initially very determined to get into the gym, but when the moment comes at 6am when your alarm goes off, you choose to stay in bed. Keep yourself accountable by finding a partner you can workout with or check in with daily so that you are more inclined to stayconsistent with your workout sessions. There are no quick fixes; being physically active is a lifestyle choice and is a lifelong journey. Along with your exercise, you may also want to take a moment to evaluate your nutrition. What are you eating on a daily basis? Are you eating out or cooking? Are you incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet? Consulting a Registered Dietitian is always a great idea. They can help you discover and manage some of your limitations when it comes to nutrition so you can better achieve your health and fitness goals. More often than not people become incompliant withtheir fitness regimens because they are seeing no results, when in fact, they may be jeopardizing their progress because of their dietary habits at home!
I hope this information has been helpful. I found those specific items things I always notice and can have a fairly big impact on your workouts. They are also not hard to correct. Gyms and exercise in general can be very intimidating so don’t be discouraged if you’ve caught yourself making some of these mistakes. Our journeys with healthy living and fitness are lifelong and ongoing, and it includes continued learning and progression. There is always something new to learn or something to improve on and I personally find that a very fun part of physical activity and exercise! My hope is that you are able to use these suggestions as a guideline for checking your own habits in the gym and to continue working hard.
If you have any questions or concerns about this or anything else related, connect with us at Physiotherapy and Beyond!
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