5 Workout Mistakes That Are Slowing Your ResultsArticle posted in: Fitness
How’s your workout working for you? Chances are that a few common fitness mistakes in your routine could actually be preventing you from losing weight and seeing the results you’re after. Before your next workout, check out these five common fitness mistakes and what you can do to avoid them:
1. Relying on machines for calories burned.
After 30 minutes of sweating it out on your favorite cardio machine, it feels really good to check how many calories you’ve burned afterward.
Before you get too excited, we have some bad news: Your machine isn’t being totally honest with you.
In a study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco’s Human Performance Center, researchers found that cardio machines overestimated calorie burn by 19 percent on average. At best, the stationary bike overestimated calories by seven percent. The worst offender was the elliptical, which overestimated calorie burn by 42 percent. Ouch!
This is due to the fact that machines only calculate calorie burn using your age and weight and don’t account for other important factors like gender, height, body fat percentage and fitness level—all of which determine how many calories you’re actually burning.
But don’t let this discourage you. Instead of focusing on the calorie count as a measure of how hard your workout was, experiment with increasing resistance, speed or incline during your workout to push yourself a little further each time.
2. Doing too much too soon.
It’s easy to overdo it at the gym, but doing so can put you at risk for injury, burnout and a slower rate of recovery, all of which can stop your workouts cold in their tracks while you’re forced to rest and recover. SO not worth it. Instead, increase your intensity and duration slowly and focus on only one at a time. For example, if you tack 10 minutes onto your cardio routine, avoid adding any extra weight to your strength workouts that week.
3. Telling yourself you deserve a treat.
Show of hands: Who has ever used their workout as a means to justify that special treat later on in the day? (Ours are up over here!)
Okay, reality check time. You slayed it at the gym with a full-body workout or cardio session that burned about 300 calories. Yay, you! However, then you decided you deserve to indulge in a couple of beers at happy hour (302 calories), or go halfsies with a friend on an order of nachos (625 calories), or treat yourself to a chocolate milkshake after dinner (570 calories)—and you’ve quite literally eaten away your progress for the day, or more.
We’d like to offer an alternative treat for your consideration: Things of the non-food variety. It’s a really great way to stay motivated and feel like your hard work is paying off. Reached your goal of running a 5k? New running tights for you! Met your target of four workouts every week this month? That great new book you’ve been eyeing is all yours! See? It’s easy and you deserve it—both the non-food treat and the freedom that comes from not using food as a reward.
4. Failure to fuel right.
Without the proper nutrients before and after a workout, your body will quickly let you know it’s not happy. Eat too little or too far ahead of time and you’ll run out of fuel—and you won’t have the energy to complete your workout. Eat too much or too soon before your workout and you can wind up with a sluggish performance, cramp or both—likely causing an early end to your workout. Forget to fuel after exercise and your body will want more time to heal those achy muscles—meaning more time until you can get in your next good workout.
Seeing a theme here? What and when you eat is important. So what should you eat? Here’s a quick guide:
Pre-workout: Focus on complex and simple carbs with a little protein for a steady energy release throughout your workout, about one to three hours before hitting the gym. Whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana slices will do the trick.
Post-workout: Fill up on protein for recovery, the sooner, the better after your workout. Aim for a small snack 15 to 20 minutes post-workout. A protein shake would be the perfect choice.
5. Not mixing up your workouts.
So you’ve finally found a routine you love and you’ve been faithfully chugging away at it for a while now. Well, your body is onto you. It gets used to the same activity day after day and over time it will stop responding to the exercise in the same way as when you first began.
So, creatures of habit, it’s time to mix things up. Keep your muscles on their toes and your body (and brain) working hard to navigate the new movements you’re throwing at them.
How to do that? It’s easier than it sounds:
- Change activities: Swap the elliptical machine for swimming, trade running for biking or try light weights instead of walking.
- Mix up your intensity level or duration.
- Try HIIT (AKA: high-intensity interval training) for a real fat-blasting boost. Click here to find out how it works >
- Last, but not least: Always, always, always make sure you break a sweat.
So if you’ve found yourself not losing weight like you want to, avoid these five mistakes that can sabotage your slim-down—and just say NO to the weight loss plateau!
Looking for some new exercises to try? Check these out: