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Friday, December 6, 2013

Six Biggest Workout Mistakes

1 Corinthians 9:24                    
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

Our family recently joined the gym.  I personally, had been doing my workout videos at home and walking outside and felt like I was doing just fine on my own.  Until.... I just recently (like in February to be exact) for no reason, with my healthy eating obsession still in tact and doing the videos I have always done and loved, started to gain weight.  What in the world????

This gym stuff all started when Joseph broke his ankle in October, so he was out of soccer for 6 weeks.  We signed him up in November for the gym so he could work on upper body and not lose all physical abilities that he has worked on during that time.  So, my brain said "Wait! You are paying for a membership for your child and not doing anything to help your situation!".  See, I am very bad to sacrifice whatever I need, to help my children, or other people.  I am one of those who needs to learn to do something for me.  I am a nurse, so I am wired to help others all the time.  But, something (maybe God) said you need to join with him.  So, if I am going down with him, so is everyone else in this house, lol!  We all joined.  The Great Body Company has been wonderful to help all of us.  They have made a workout even for Jacob who is 9.  We have been going for about 4 weeks now.  I have always been kind of anti-gym if that is a word.  I felt like I was fine to work out on my own at home without paying money.  While that is true, you can do that, I have found that it is much more effect for me to go workout on equipment and with people that I don't have the access to here at my house.

So the trainer there told me something eye opening.  Are you ready for this one.... if you are over 35 and you are not actively lifting weights and making muscle, you are actively loosing muscle!  It's all part of the aging process.  Muscle helps metabolism, as well as strength and bone mass.  So if I am losing muscle everything is slowing down.  So if I am not building muscle, my body says...slow it down guys she is getting old lol! So my anti-aging plan is to lift some weights and turn this car around!  I do not have all the things that I need to do this at my house and for the cost to buy it all, we can pay much less and go work out as a family and with friends..bonus!!

Here are some helpful tips and six big workout mistakes... and I, Mrs. Health Fanatic, am guilty of them all!!

Mistake #1: Too much cardio

You need to avoid steady state cardio and shock your body! Get off the treadmill and the elliptical and start mixing things up.  Increase your workout intensity, but lower your duration.  Try something fun and new (kickboxing, circuit training, sprints, or play a new sport) and continue to switch things up to keep your body guessing. By lowering the amount of traditional steady state cardio, and replacing it with higher intensity and shorter duration exercise, you will actually improve your hormonal state and your body’s ability to burn fat and build lean muscle.

Mistake #2: Intimidated by weight training and therefore not doing it

I understand that you are afraid to get “bulky” and lose your feminine look, however you need to throw this fear and misconception out the window.  Strength training is extremely beneficial for your bone health and overall long-term health.  Additionally, lean muscle will improve your body composition and help you burn fat faster than cardio. One key ingredient is finding the proper environment or facility to learn to strength train and losing your false insecurities that others in the gym are watching you or judging you. 

Mistake #3: Spending 15-20 minutes isolating your abdominals

Your abs are made in the kitchen with a great diet and not by performing an insane amount of isolated abdominal movements.  As you begin to strength train, you will want to do multi-joint functional movements (Ex: squats, dead lifts, pull-ups, kettle bell swings) where your abs are engaged throughout the entire workout.  Fortunately or unfortunately, all of the isolation crunches, bends, twists, etc. will never out do or overcome a poor diet.  Did you hear that?? YOU CAN'T OUT RUN YOUR FORK!

Mistake #4: More is not better

It is absolutely important to work hard in the gym and get after it.  However, you need to also listen to your body and work to develop a set training schedule.  If you are overtraining and pushing your body too far, more time in the gym will not equal better or faster results.  Lack of sleep and too much training is counter-productive to your results because you will be putting your body in a poor hormonal state and you will be taxing yourself mentally as well. As previously mentioned, shorter and more intense workouts are the best way to burn fat and build lean muscle.  I just started a few weeks ago, and if you know me, I am all in or nothing on everything.  So, I am guilty here and my elbow is sore because I pushed a little too much lol!

Mistake #5: Carbohydrate loading before workouts 

There are many misconceptions about carbohydrates, but most experts would agree that lower to moderate carb intake is effective to get lean.  We must also understand that athletic performance is different than weight loss and training for body composition.  If your primary purpose is to get a lean fit body, then stop eating carbs before your workout. If you need to have a snack or eat before try eating something with just protein and fat in your pre-workout meal. Many people will get leaner and feel better with ketogenic, low carb, or cyclic low carb diets.

Mistake #6: Unrealistic expectations 

You can’t be so hard on yourself and you must understand that your body will not change overnight and you need to be patient. Changing your body or anything in your life will take consistent effort over time and you must have a plan and stick to it. You must immediately stop your obsession with the scale and instead notice how you feel, how your body looks in the mirror, how your clothes fit, and how you perform in life on a daily basis. Set a realistic time frame for your goal.  I would recommend setting a date of at least six weeks and preferably eight to twelve weeks before you judge your results.  I am so guilty of this..SO GUILTY! 
You must also remember that diet, sleep, and stress are arguably even more important than what you do in the gym.  So make sure these aspects of your life are also in check so you do not sabotage your well deserved results!

Action Steps

In order to take this information and put it to good use in your life today, you will need to do several things:
Get a workout plan that involves variation and has a focus around strength training.
You must find an environment that you are comfortable in and hire a coach that can properly teach you new things.  If you have budgetary constraints, start by reaching out to an experienced and “fit friend” for some initial guidance.
Have realistic expectations and set goals for at least six weeks out and avoid the mental traps of the scale.
Have equal focus on your diet, sleep, and stress levels so you can get the results that you deserve from your workout program.  Moving towards a real food diet will be a great start.
Now you have specific action steps to move forward today and you can begin working smarter and not harder towards the body or your dreams.

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