Three months into the New Year and you have all your fitness goals and targets planned out - you’ve got the enthusiasm, the time, and have already started working towards most of them.
Whether you’re hitting the gym or are starting something new for your fitness regime, there are few errors that even the most seasoned fitness enthusiasts knowingly or unknowingly tend to make time and time again. These errors or mistakes could be simple habits, diet related, forms or postures of workout, or you could be falling for a growing trend that is doing much harm than good.
We have identified a few common mistakes that we have seen colleagues, friends, and gym buddies make and if you’re making any of these, NOW is the best time to stop.
1) Working out on an empty stomach- Seen as a very common practice especially amongst people who are on a mission to lose weight. Food/Nutrition acts as a source of fuel for the body to burn and go that extra mile when you are training or exercising. What many fail to realize is that working out on an empty stomach doesn’t burn fat but eats into the muscle. So if your strenuous fitness routine isn’t paying any dividends, this is something to look into. The idea is not to eat a lot or not eat all it is to eat right.
2) Don’t gulp water- Hydrating yourself at regular intervals during your workout is essential, especially during the summers or in the heat. What people fail to realize is how much water one must consume in between sets or routines. People tend to chug or gulp down large amounts water after an intense cardio session or any routine for that matter. Gulping down large amounts of water at a time can not only cause stomach cramps but also cause hyponatremia, also called water intoxication. Overhydrating can lead to low amounts of sodium in the body, causing dizziness, cramps, slurred speech, and nausea. Stick to consuming small amounts of water during workouts and for the longer and intense workouts switch to energy drinks to replace lost electrolytes.
3) Repeating Workouts- Having a fixed exercise routine is one way to ensure you’re sticking to your fitness goals, but it can also have its negatives. Doing the same exact workout day in and day out, can not only be boring but, can also lead to repetitive stress injuries. Repetition can also lead to plateauing in your fitness/weight-loss goals. So ensure you’re fitness regime this year involves mixing up your workouts and working on variations to increase your overall body strength.
4) Warm ups – A very common reason for fitness and gym related injuries. People tend to skip the warm up due to a shortage of time or may be because it doesn’t lead to or show any result, but what they probably don’t know (due to lack of knowledge) is that warm up exercises prepare the body for your actual workout. It slow increases your heart rate and circulation; helps loosen the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles. So make it a point never to skip the warm up exercises.
5) Don’t ignore your weakness: We all have favorite exercises we enjoy doing more than others, for the simple reason we are good at them. A very common sight at the gym is where you see people focusing only on their arms or abs and forgetting about the rest of the body. This year, take a step back and identify those weak spots (core, legs, chest, back, etc.) and then set about making them your strengths. Focus on your weak areas and it won’t be long before you become the whole package.
6) Do not skip leg day: People tend to make a huge mistake by focusing only on their upper body. The so-called mirror muscles core, back, and arms are typically more noticeable and that is what people tend to focus on. The lower body is home to some of the biggest muscles in the body, so ignoring them will lead to an even bigger mistake. This year focus on a fitness regime or workout that challenge your lower body and you will be rewarded with benefits like higher metabolism, burn calories faster, increased stamina, and you will reduce the risk of injury to name a few from the umpteen benefits. So never say no to leg day!
7) Cardio is not your solution to weight loss: Cardio is essential and central to weight loss, but if you spend more than 50% of your time on cardio you aren’t doing your body any good. So step away from the cardio machine and include weight training in your fitness regime. Weight training helps improve the shape of your body and also helps drain its glycogen storage, so with a 20-minute cardio and 30 minute weights session your body will burn maximum fat.
8) Stay focused on your goals: The most important thing to remember, stay focused on your goals and don’t give up mid-way due to lack of results. Just work harder and stay focused on what you want to achieve through your fitness regime, and remember Rome was not built in a day!
Chintan Bhiwandkar, Football loving, book reading, and constantly running insomniac. Hopes to build an army of pandas to take over the world one day.