6 Mistakes You Might Be Making With Your Workouts

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Workout MistakesWe humans love our routines. It gives us stability and comfort in knowing that something is going to happen and when it’s happening. Unfortunately as much as we love consistency, we need to be challenged constantly and push our limits to grow. Getting the body you want doesn’t come easy or with stability and comfort.

Here are some mistakes you may be making and tips to help you avoid that workout rut:

  1. Using the same weights and reps. When you first lift a weight, it’s hard and your body has to struggle to lift it. During your recovery, the muscles reinforce themselves and lifting that weight eventually becomes easier. If you don’t push yourself, then your muscles get bored change slows or stops. If your goal is progress, you need to push yourself instead of settling for easy. Try increasing the weight, changing the number of reps, or shortening the rest between exercises to mix things up.
  2. Not writing down what you did. Keep a binder or some kind of written record of your workouts – reps, weight lifted, and notes help you track progress over time. I use a binder with spreadsheets to track mine. Use these details later to see how far you’ve come and track your progress. On days when I feel like nothing is improving, I’ll look back at old weights and see just how much change really has happened. That wouldn’t be possible without my handy dandy binder. It’s also helpful from workout to workout to give you a starting point for the weight to choose.
  3. Trying to spot reduce areas like thighs, butt, or abs. There is no way to spot reduce regardless of how much you wish it were true. If you have junk in the trunk, your trunk might be the last thing to go even if you lunge yourself into exhaustion. We lose fat at different rates in different areas based on genetics, but we have no control over where or when the fat leaves. The best approach to take is a combination of resistance training to build muscle combined with cardio and a healthy diet to reduce fat overall.
  4. Not changing your workouts. Much like the first mistake on the list, doing the same workout over and over even with varying reps and weights eventually stalls progress. You should change your exercises every 4 – 6 weeks so that you keep your muscles challenged. Changing your workouts more frequently can lead to frustration since you can’t track changes as easily or figure out what is effective for you. 4 – 6 weeks gives you time to see measurable progress while still preventing plateaus.
  5. Trying to “tone” your muscles or make them “long and lean”. I hear this all the time from women. Sorry to throw you under the bus, ladies! Muscles are not long and lean nor short and fat. Building muscle and losing fat overall will give you the lean body, dancer look you’re talking about. This requires heavier weights and lower reps to build those muscles. Light weights and high reps may work your heart muscle but won’t do much for the others. Try it and you’ll be surprised at how much leaner you’ll look over time. Stop freaking over becoming huge. Ask anyone including me who has lifted their heart out for quite sometime just how hard it is to grow and you’ll realize how silly that thought is.
  6. Focusing on speed over form. You must MUST use proper form when lifting. I see this violated in the gym daily when meatheads look like they’re doing the samba with their barbell. Best case scenario, you’ll be using momentum instead of muscle and the exercise will be useless. Worst case scenario, you’ll get hurt. You don’t have to lift like a slug but make sure your form is spot on and lift at a controlled speed.

But wait! There’s more. I originally wrote this post earlier in the day and witnessed #7 firsthand in the gym tonight. Drum roll for the 7th reason…

Don’t earn the Indian name Squatting Plumber. In the gym tonight I noticed a new client with a trainer in front of the mirror, clearly doing the assessment testing. Trainer was having Squatting Plumber (aka SP) do bodyweight squats. Envision SP facing the mirror and Trainer on his knees about 4 feet behind him observing the depth and form of said squats. Every time SP squatted, his shorts rode down and exposed half his bare backside. There was absolutely NO WAY Trainer did not see this and yet he had SP do three sets in view of the entire gym without saying a word. He should have discreetly mentioned this or stopped the squats because it was the right thing to do.

I’ve also witnessed ladies squatting in spandex that becomes quite see through when sweat combines with extreme fabric stretching. I always do the dressing room squat test before purchasing workout attire and check the rear view. To avoid unnecessary embarrassment, I suggest doing the same because your trainer might not be kind enough to tell you. Disclaimer: In no way do I fault SP for his backside faux pas because he obviously wasn’t aware of it. I’m merely alerting you to the possibility to prevent this from happening to you.

Make sure you’re not making these mistakes in your own workouts and let me know if there is anything to add to the list.

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