Whether your goal is to lose weight, add muscle, get stronger or fitter or start competing, there are certain things you should never neglect when it comes to any kind of training. Here are 10 training mistakes you’re probably making:
1. You don’t warm up and cool down properly
If you want to take your training sessions seriously and reach your goals, you need to warm-up (and cool down) properly before and after exercise. Warming up before your workout prepares your body for strenuous exercise by loosening your joints and increasing blood flow to your muscles. Proper warmup and cooldown prevent injuries.
2. You don’t focus on stretching and mobility
A proactive approach to the maintenance of your soft issues – muscles, fascia, ligaments and tendons – and joint health an intelligent way to reduce your risk of injury and improve your performance, allowing you to reach your goals faster.
You should be incorporating a mobility and stretching session every other day into your routine. Get a copy of our latest issue (May/June) for a complete stretching and mobility routine with Cara-Lisa Sham.
3. You’re not using proper form
Training with proper form not only prevents injury but ensures you actually activate and target the muscles you are supposed to target with a specific exercise, making your training sessions more effective and therefore enabling you to reach your goals sooner. It is worthwhile investing in a personal trainer to teach your proper form or at least invest in educating yourself about proper technique by doing a short course before you start working out on your own.
4. You don’t have a plan
You cannot hit a target you don’t aim at. If you don’t have a structured training plan worked out specifically to get you to your goals, chances are you won’t reach them. If your goal is to increase your strength, improve your fitness and lose weight, then you need to get a training program suited to help you reach those goals.
5. You don’t rest enough
Resting in between training sessions allows your muscles to recover from the workout. Your body needs time to build strength, endurance and muscle through recovery. Training, especially any kind of resistance training, breaks down body tissue, and resting allows your muscles, nerves, bones and connective tissue to rebuild and recover in time for your next session. Without proper rest, you risk injury and overtraining – both detrimental to your goals.
6. You don’t track your effort
What gets measured gets achieved. Tracking your progress is essential to ensuring you make consistent improvements. It keeps you accountable, helps you reach your goals, increases your motivation and allows you to easily make changes to your program where and when necessary. Get our May/June issue for a complete guide on how to start your own fitness journal to track your effort.
7. You’re inconsistent
Your training programme (and goals) is a marathon, not a sprint. You won’t reach your goals in a week or even a month. It will take at least a few months, if you are consistent with your effort, that is. You won’t reach your goal if you only work out once or twice a week – you need to make working out a part of your daily routine so you can be consistent and yield results. You also just be strong from day one – your body needs time to adapt to your new lifestyle and regime and that will only happen if you are consistent.
8. You’re not adding enough variety
Having a training plan is important, but so is having fun while working out. And adding different kinds of workouts to your plan will help you keep things interesting and reach your goals.
9. You’re not fueling your recovery
A car cannot run without fuel, and it is the same for your body: you can’t expect it to perform optimally if you’re not fuelling it correctly – especially before and after a workout. Your effort in the gym alone won’t get you to your goal, so invest in a coach or nutritionist to help you fuel your body for the performance you expect from it.
10. You don’t drink enough water
You already know that hydration is vital not only to the success and efficacy of your workouts but also to your everyday health and performance. Working out while dehydrated can negatively affect your performance because when you are dehydrated your blood volume drops, which means your heart needs to work harder to push oxygen and nutrients to your brain and muscles. And this means you need to work a little bit harder to get the personal best or even just match your previous session’s lifts.
Reaching your fitness goals relies on so much more than just hitting the gym every now and then. Make sure you’re not sabotaging your own progress.
Which of these training mistakes are you making? Join the conversation online.
Get your copy of our May/June issue for a mobility drill and a guide on how to start your own fitness journal.
Get your copy in store nationwide, or get a digital copy here.
Author: Mariska du Plessis
Mariska is the editor of Fitness Magazine, a writer, photographer, videographer and Wellness Blogger.
Follow her on Instagram: @justmariska_