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Lifting — or any other exercise — requires focus and education. When it comes down to it, you’re performing movements and practices that can lead to injury if your form is even a little bit off during certain exercises.
If you’re in the gym in the first place, we applaud you. Heck yes, you’re there! However, you might be unknowingly making mistakes that could lead to injury, burnout or lack of results. Whether you’re a workout beginner or fitness vet, below are some common missteps you may be taking and how to tackle them:
5 Mistakes to Avoid in the Gym
1. Improper (or lack of) warmup: Not warming up at all or stretching muscles that are cold could lead to injury. Make sure to properly warm all muscles that will be utilized during that particular workout. If you want to stretch, make sure these muscles are activated prior to stretching. Don’t jump straight into the workout, even if you just take a few minutes to warm up and get your blood flowing.
2. Exercising without eating: More often than not, a lot of us feel like we need to work out in a fasted state to burn more calories, lose fat or get the best outcome. And for some people, fasted exercise works perfectly well. But forcing yourself to expend energy with no fuel is a recipe for disaster.
Your body needs energy just to perform everyday functions, much less handle a workout. If your body is giving you cues that you need energy before a workout and you ignore the signs of fatigue, you face the threat of passing out, nausea and headaches. Plus, proper nutrition around the workout will ensure your goals are met. If you don’t like to eat a big meal before working out, even something small would make a difference. This includes hydration, so make sure to eat and hydrate enough before, during and after the workout.
3. Doing too much too soon: At times we get so excited about a new fitness journey that we forget to pace ourselves. Take it slow, and even if you feel like you can do a lot more, don’t. Do what is appropriate for your level and the time you’ve dedicated to this decision to get fit. Most importantly, listen to your body.
4. Cardio only: One of the biggest mistakes that people, especially women, make is only doing cardio and not resistance training. The weights are going to change the way your body looks, and there is a whole host of other benefits such as decreasing your risk of disease, improving sleep, higher bone density, faster metabolism and fixing body imbalances.
5. Not enough sleep: Rest and recovery is just as important as the workout itself. This is when your body will build and change as well as reboot. Without proper sleep, the results will be minuscule, if any. Get those Zzzs by any means necessary!
The decision to workout is positive, rewarding and changes your life for the better. Nonetheless, it can be quite frightening when you overlook important factors that ensure a safe and successful exercise program. Make sure you avoid the mistakes above so you can level up your fitness in and out of the gym.