We all want to make the most of our workouts since we don't have tons of time to devote to being at the gym. To ensure that your workout is effective, efficient, and safe, check to make sure you're not committing these exercise crimes.
- Running is your only form of cardio. Don't get me wrong. Running is effective at getting your heart rate up, toning your legs, and burning calories, but you can suffer repetitive injuries if you only stick to running. So mix it up when it comes to cardio. Biking, hiking, swimming, jumping rope, and cardio classes are also good forms of cardio.
- You skip the warmup. What if you're short on time and you want to burn as many calories as possible in your 30-minute lunch break? Not only will warming up prevent injury, but research shows that, "Your body literally needs to warm up so that blood flow increases, the nervous system wakes up, and the body starts to use energy and oxygen more efficiently." So warm up by doing a low intensity version of whatever type of cardio you've chosen.
What other mistakes should you avoid? To find out
- You don't stretch. Many of you admitted that stretching is not top on your list. Just like the warmup, it's essential to include in every workout. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, don't bounce, and don't push yourself in a stretch to the point of feeling pain. Need some ideas? Here are some of my favorite basic stretches.
- Your weights are too light. If you can rush through your reps and not feel tired by the end of your last set, then you need to choose a heavier weight. In order to build muscle tone, the muscle fibers need to be stressed. Likewise, if your weights are too heavy, you'll have improper form and will rely on momentum to do reps instead of utilizing your muscles. You'll know you have the perfect amount of weight when your muscles feel fatigued by 10 or 12 reps.
- You do the same strength-training routine every time. Does it seem like your routine is getting easier? It's not necessarily because your muscles are getting stronger. They're just accustomed to doing the exact same exercises every session. To tone your muscles effectively, they need to be challenged continuously. So surprise your muscles and mix up the order of your routine, or better yet, include new exercises each time.
- You only do crunches to whittle your middle. Doing ab work will definitely tone your muscles, but it won't get rid of the layer of fat that's covering them. You can't rely solely on target strength training to fix problems areas. You need to do calorie-burning cardio to reduce your overall body fat percentage. This is the best way to reduce the extra padding around your waist, thighs, and booty.
Are you guilty of any of these mistakes? Share the details in the comments section below.