Having the perfect gym routine is something many of us dream of, but this never seems to happen. There is always room for improvement, no matter how strict your routine is, or how hard you try to have the best possible regimen. Here are some of the most common gym mistakes you may be making when you work out.
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Gym Mistake #1- Not Being Hydrated
Making sure you have enough water in your body when you start an intense workout is probably the most important thing on this list. Getting dehydrated is quite dangerous and can land you on your back or even in the emergency room.
The human body needs water, since it is mostly made of water it makes sense that it can become dried out and cease to function properly. So, how much water do you need to drink before you work out?
How Much to Drink?
A general rule is to consume 8 ounces about a half hour before you hit the gym, and then another 16 ounces or more when you finish. This is a bit conservative in my opinion. I drink much more than this before a workout, but too much can make you sluggish as well. You will have to experiment to find your ideal hydration level. Just make sure you are getting at least the 8 ounces before and double that much after.
Being dried out inside will cause you to get extremely hot amazingly fast, and it is a bad feeling! Remember that you should also be drinking water while you work out, especially if you are sweating a lot. It is quite easy to be underhydrated and not notice for a while, but once you do notice it is probably already harming your body.
Not being hydrated is a common mistake with a negative result, so it Is first on the list!
Training on Empty Stomach
There is a common misconception that working out on an empty stomach is better for burning fat. Some people say they do this, and it works great, while other people swear that they have tried both ways and they get better workouts after eating.
The truth of the matter is that your body should have some nourishment before you work out or go running. Everyone is different and will have special likes and dislikes, and some foods will make your stomach uncomfortable during exercise. So, the following advice is not going to be perfect for everyone, but it is meant to be a strong science-based guideline that everyone can customize for their own unique situation.
Consider checking out our detailed guide on the best pre-workout supplements if you need ideas for what to eat or drink before your workout.
The Science of Nourishment and Exercise
If you workout as soon as you wake up or otherwise on an empty stomach, your body will burn the sugars inside your muscles before it starts to burn off fat. It does not want to start with the fat, because the body wants to keep the fat reserves for emergencies.
The liver will start kicking out sugar once the sugars from the muscle tissues have been depleted. This is the opposite effect that you are going for when you work out. You will technically be burning muscle to fuel your workout, instead of gaining it.
Therefore, it makes no sense to train on an empty stomach. However, what you eat before a workout is just as important that you eat in the first place.
In addition to drinking some water as discussed in the first item on our list, you should be eating some good healthy carbohydrates.
Food like banana or some good whole grain oatmeal, or a protein smoothie would do the trick. You can have any food that works well with your body, just make sure you are getting some healthy carbs and not some junk carbs that are mostly just sugar. Sugary empty carbs will burn off too fast and not end up being helpful to your workout.
It is a common mistake to go into the gym with guns blazing and put all your effort and energy into the first exercise. This will cause you to burn out way too fast, and result in an ineffective workout and a wasted trip to the gym (or the basement).
Instead, plan your workout before you even start. Begin with some stretching followed by some light weightlifting or another exercise that is not too intense. The idea is to build the intensity from easy to more difficult in the middle and taper it off to easier stuff toward the end. Think of it as a good story with a beginning that builds up to a climax, which then winds down to a conclusion and finally ending.
Everyone is different and will have different skill levels, so there is no way to give exact advice on what your specific workout pace should be. Even though every person’s regimen is unique, starting slow, building it up to more intense in the middle, and winding it down to the end is a good idea for everyone.
Less is Always Better
Most people overestimate how hard they can push themselves for any given period. This means when you think you can go full out as hard as you can for 20 minutes on the treadmill, you should back off a bit! It is always a good idea to back off a little bit and try to accept that a good workout is balanced, and you do not have to go as hard as you can to get great results.
Not Enough Challenge
Just as improper pacing and going too hard is a mistake, on the other hand, not challenging yourself enough is also an easy mistake to make. A good workout is going to make you tired, and you should feel a sense of accomplishment when you are finished.
Getting to a sense of accomplishment is only achieved when you complete something challenging or difficult that you may have doubted you could do. It is up to you to find out just how hard to push yourself, but there should be at least one or 2 things in your regimen that are difficult and cause you to push yourself!
If you work out for an hour and when it is over you are barely tired or sweating, your workout was too easy. Of course, it would be impossible to tell you exactly how hard you should be pushing yourself in your workouts, but if you are being honest with yourself you will know when it is too easy.
If you are exercising up to 30 minutes or more 3 times a week you are getting some great health benefits. However, if you are an athlete and have specific fitness goals you are most likely spending more than 30 minutes on a workout. During the workout, you should feel challenged at least for a few minutes during your exercise if you don’t it is probably not challenging enough.
This is a quite common gym mistake; you will be guaranteed to see at least one person with their back in the wrong position while you are at the gym. Keeping your back straight is extremely important with powerlifting, as a crooked back can lead to serious injury when you are lifting hundreds of pounds.
It can also be bad for your back if you are doing normal exercises like pushups, planks, or sitting on a rowing machine, or using a stair climber.
Most seasoned fitness enthusiasts are very aware of their posture while working out, from years of paying attention! It is easy to get caught up in the movement of whatever you are doing and let your posture slip. Try to think about what your back and neck are doing a few times during your workout session, just ask “what is my back doing?”
This simple check-in with your body can help you avoid a sore back, and it can stop you from developing bad workout habits that can take months or years to correct. Unless you are doing a special exercise that specifically requires your back to be in a certain position, it should almost always be straight, with your neck also straight.
Be conscious of how your back and neck feel during your workouts, your body will thank you for it.
If you have an issue with your posture that you are aware of, sometimes massaging the muscles will help you straighten up. Check out the best massage guns epic guide!
Super Common Gym Mistake – Not Warming Up
I am sure you have been told about this one since you were a small child in gym class. Stretching and warming up before an intense workout is no joke. Your muscles can rip, cramp up, or become enflamed during a workout if they are not properly prepared for the work you are asking them to do.
There are many good warm-up routines you can find on the internet these days, but in general, you should know that any muscles you plan to target need to be stretched and warmed up. If you are a runner, stretch your legs well before a long run or sprint. If you are an upper body weightlifter, stretch your arms and shoulders and make sure they are ready to go before you start lifting.
These are some of the most common mistakes you can make when working out at the gym. It is easy to make them, so do not feel bad if you find yourself doing some of these, it happens. The key is to be aware of them and try your best to avoid them at your next workout.