Stay motivated, injury-free and smash your goals by avoiding the 9 most common mistakes made at the gym!
Whether you’re a gym newbie or returning after a hiatus, we show you how to set yourself up for success and make the most out every workout in a smart and sustainable way. Step 1: Avoid doing these things at the gym!
1. Not Consulting a Trainer, Doctor or Physio
If you’ve injured yourself in the past and want to get back into training after a long lay-off, it’s always best to consult a physio, doctor or exercise physiologist before rushing headfirst into intense exercise. This way they can assess whether you’ve healed properly and recommend the right movements that will strengthen you and avoid injury aggravation.
2. Working out to Spot Reduce
If you’re guilty of this, let us tell you: there is no such thing as spot reducing, plain and simple. If you want to define your abs or reduce the size of your thighs no amount of crunches or lunges will do this. What will is the right nutrition and full body workouts, using all your muscles and reducing your overall percentage of body fat.
3. Not Balancing Your Body
This is something we’ve all done, albeit often unintentionally. Many people fail to realise that all the squats, lunges and leg extensions they do focus on the front of the thighs (the big quadricep muscles), but don’t make up for this by working out the back of the thighs. Not just in the legs, the same goes for the upper body too. This can result in muscle imbalances, strain and injury.
Avoid this by consulting a trainer to put together a full body program that works each of your muscle groups in a balanced way.
4. Avoiding Weight Training
There is a general misconception among women that strength and weight training will make them bulky. Real talk – it won’t. What it will do is strengthen and tone your muscles and give you definition. Strength training will also help improve your posture, bone strength and increase your metabolism and fat-burning capacity.
5. Poor Form
A common mistake, particularly in circuit training or group classes, is to keep up with everyone else in the class for fear of looking like a rookie or being shouted at by the trainer.
But here’s the secret: take your time and DIP (Do It Properly).
Whether it’s as simple as a squat, or more complicated like a box jump, it’s important to take it slow, know the correct technique and make sure each and every rep is executed with correct form. Not only will your muscles be strengthened and balanced, you’ll also avoid injury!
6. Going Too Gung-Ho
New Year, New You…. right? Yes, totally, but that doesn’t have to involve you signing up to all the classes the gym has to offer… not in week one anyway!
The temptation to pack in as much exercise as possible to accomplish your New Year’s resolutions is always there at the beginning of the year, and kudos to you for wanting to go hard! However, if you want sustainable results and don’t want to burnout, be realistic about how much exercise you can fit into your week while also working, having a life, and resting!
7. Not Cooling Down
For some reason, cooling down has always taken a backseat to the main event: the workout. Stretching and rolling shouldn’t be considered an optional extra to your workout (gym or not), it is an essential part of it.
Not doing this can result in shorter muscles and tighter fascia (the tissue that surrounds your muscle). The best case scenario will be discomfort, the worst torn muscles or tendons.
Voome Tip! If you only have 30 minutes to workout, ensure that 5 minutes at the end is for stretching or rolling. All of our Voome workouts, even the express ones have warm up and cool down stretches built into them!
8. Neglecting Your Diet
The fact you’re going to the gym and working out is GREAT! The fact you’re using this to justify eating larger portions and having more “cheat days” isn’t. When you workout, yes, you will burn more energy than normal, however 80% of weight loss is from good nutrition. Both eating too much food or not giving yourself enough fuel are detrimental to achieving your goals when working out.
9. Throwing in the Towel
So you missed not one, but all of your workouts this week. So you’ve been going to the gym for three weeks now and haven’t seen any major changes. So… you want to give up?
Nope, not on our watch! The end of January see’s a huge drop off in gym memberships; people giving up because it’s too hard or things don’t happen fast enough. Reaching your goals – losing weight, getting fit, staying motivated – is a matter of mastering your mind, not your appetite or muscles.
Three essential things to realise and practice are:
- Believing in yourself – be your own best supporter.
- Aim for progress not perfection. Know that it’s consistency that gets results, that little bit day after day after day.
- Slow, sustainable results will trump quick-fixes any day. Success doesn’t happen overnight, all great things take time.