Sticking to a workout routine takes plenty of hard work and dedication. And when you’re putting in all that effort, you expect to see results, whether your goal is to train for a race or lose a few pounds. Simply putting in the time may not be enough, however. In order to see results, you’ve got to avoid common fitness pitfalls that may hinder your weight loss and fitness goals. Here are some common workout mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Thirst Quencher. When you exercise, your body loses a lot of water that needs to be replenished to keep you hydrated and feeling your best. Instead of waiting until after your sweat session to drink up, make sure and bring a water bottle with you while you exercise. Take small sips at least once for every 15 minutes of activity. If you plan on exercising for an extended period of time (60+ minutes), you’ll want to bring an electrolyte sports drink to give your body enough sugar to keep moving.
Locked in Routine. No matter how much you love one particular fitness routine, it’s important to continually mix things up. Over time, your muscles adjust to the activity, which means that they stop getting as much of a workout. To ensure that you keep strengthening your muscles and improving your fitness level, switch up your routine every few weeks.
Longer Workouts = Better Results. Don’t be fooled into thinking that exercising for 90 minutes is a better workout than a 30 or 45 minute workout. Longer exercise sessions don’t burn more fat! Intensity counts far more than duration. This is why interval training is such a great way to burn calories because it’s an intense workout, but it can be done in 25-35 minutes. If you’re short on time, do a quick workout at a higher intensity to boost your metabolism and burn more fat.
Refuel Your Body. If you’re working out to drop a few pounds, it might seem logical to resist eating after a workout. After all, you’ve just worked hard to drop a few hundred calories, so why would you want to negate that work? Here’s the good news: you need to eat after any workout. How much you eat will depend upon the intensity and duration of the workout, but be sure to eat a combination of complex carbohydrates and protein. Good snack options are fruit and nut butter, string cheese, and Greek yogurt with a bit of granola on top. Refueling your body is essential to keeping your metabolism at its best and giving your body energy to make it through the day.
The One-Sided Workout. Most people become attached to either cardio exercises or strength training, and end up neglecting the other. But the best fitness plans incorporate both cardio and strength training, although you should strength train no more than 3 days a week to give your muscles time to recover. If you make sure to incorporate both cardio and strength training exercises into your routine, you’ll develop stronger muscles, which will allow you to burn more calories even after you’ve left the gym!