At first glance, exercise seems easy enough. You drive to the gym, lift some weights, do some cardio, and you’re done, right? There is more to exercise than meets the eye, and training smart will increase the likelihood of reaching your desired results and will reduce your risk of injury.
Training “smart” means more than just having proper form and knowing how to use your gym’s weight machines. It would be best if you thought critically and put in maximum effort in understanding how everything you do at the gym has a specific purpose, and when done properly, can help you reach your goals. Check out these top three mistakes you’re probably making in your workout so you can learn how to recognize them and learn how to avoid them to maximize your fitness efforts and reduce injury.
NOT WARMING UP PROPERLY OR AT ALL
Warming up before your workout prevents injury and prepares your body for your training session. It is just as important as the rest of your workout, but unfortunately, many people skip warming up entirely. How do you know if you’re warming up properly? Your warmup should increase your heart rate and improve mobility, ensuring that your body is conditioned for the workout that follows. The best part? Warming up is super easy! Simply take an extra 10 minutes at the start of your fitness session to incorporate a brisk walk, easy jog, dynamic movements like jumping jacks, or foam rolling.
NOT SPENDING TIME AT THE END OF THE WORKOUT FOR RECOVERY WORK
Symptoms like depression, decreased performance, general malaise, and increased risk of injury can develop from a lack of recovery time. It is crucial to build recovery work into your workout plan because your body requires adequate time to replenish energy stores, repair damaged tissues, and restore fluid levels. Incorporating recovery work like stretching, foam rolling, etc. increases blood flow to the damaged tissues, allowing them to be repaired and replenished. Without recovery work, your body does not have time to repair and will continue to breakdown tissues. No recovery time means more pain and no gain!
NOT BEING EFFICIENT / DISTRACTED DURING A WORKOUT
Distraction proves to be problematic on the road, at school, and at the workplace. It is also prominent in other places that many of us visit, like the movie theater and even our local gym. Stopping to text, chat with a friend, or find a new music playlist can cause you to lose focus and can affect your overall fitness progress by reducing workout efficiency. Texting while driving and texting on the treadmill are both high stakes activities and can be dangerous. In fact, studies reveal that more pedestrians are injured while walking and talking on their phones than while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Anytime you move your body, you need to be focused on your actions to forego the potential to harm yourself or others. To reduce distractions while exercising, try leaving your phone in the locker, not engaging in a conversation between sets, and making a conscious effort to focus on the present activity.