I love working out and trying new exercises, having something different to try out can really make me look forward to a workout. Therefore, as you might imagine, I have spent a lot of time in the gym and learned from a fair few mistakes! I’ve also observed and been told about a few whoppers. I am not a personal trainer (disclaimer!) but I have picked up a few tips from my ten years (and counting) in the gym, so here are 5 mistakes that I regularly see people making or have made myself in the past.
1. Not lifting weights: I know a lot of women think that lifting weights will make them bulky but WRONG! If you want to burn fat (and get buff) you need to hit those weights. You’re not going to look bulky unless you are also eating a huge amount of protein and I really do mean a huge amount, like I am already full from those 5 chicken breasts but I’d better squeeze in another – that huge!
2. Not eating enough protein: I thought I had better put this straight after the last point. I know a lot of people who work out but then have nothing afterwards but you need to take on protein after exercise to help your body to repair the “positive” damage you have just done to it in your gym session. You could scoff some chicken or tuna but really who likes to eat right after training?! So the easiest thing to do is have a recovery protein shake. My favourite is CNP Pro-Recover in Chocolate . Have one or two scoops mixed with water within 30mins of finishing your workout and help yourself to build good lean muscles. Done!
3. Cheating: So you spent an hour working out with a trainer, really pushing you and putting together a programme but then when you got to the gym by yourself the programme didn’t seem as hard? You’re CHEATING! We’re wired to make things as easy for ourselves as possible but sadly being buff is just not easy. If it’s too easy you need to push yourself beyond your comfort zone e.g. drop that squat another centimetre or make sure the 12th rep is as good as the first. Hear a trainer in your head and make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout, after all it’s only yourself that you are cheating.
4. Hills don’t have handles: This is a major gym pet peeve of mine! What’s the point of cranking the treadmill up to maximum incline and then holding on with your arms out straight? When was the last time you saw a handrail on a hill? If you’re holding on you’re not working your legs hard enough. Lower the incline, lean in and pump those legs hard, you will reap the benefits and won’t look like you’re about to be ejected from the gym at speed.
5. Too much cardio: I know a lot of people who spend hours on cardio machines plodding along at the same pace whilst this isn’t bad for you, it’s also not doing much for you apart from sapping hours out of your life. Mix it up, do some interval training on your favourite machine e.g. 20 seconds all out with 20 seconds recovery for 10 mins and then jump off and head straight to the free weights area. If you’re not convinced (well first google it, all the pros will tell you the same) then try giving up your hour or half hour of solid cardio in lieu of Metafit for a month. Metafit is high intensity interval training, where you will do bursts of exercises each for about 20 seconds for a total of only 20 minutes and believe me you will feel the benefits way more then a solid half hour on the cross trainer. I bet after a month you won’t go back to half an hour/an hour on the cross trainer.
Bonus – You have to do something! I workout early every morning before work (because when 5/6/7pm rolls around I just want to go home!) and every morning I see people sitting on weights machines or standing chatting next to machines…and then going for a shower. Meh. Having a gym buddy is great but don’t let them distract you. You can chat and do reps at the same time. Going to the gym is brilliant but just spending time in the building isn’t going to buff you up, you’re going to have to push it. So drop it like a squat and have fun!
Do you have any workout tips or pet peeves? If you have a favourite killer exercise then share that below too! You can find inspiration for your next workout over on my Pinterest board.
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