When it comes to working out in the gym mistakes, there is a lot of conflicting information out there which can make it difficult to know exactly what to do in the gym, in order to achieve your desired fitness goals or body results. The truth is, by working out incorrectly, you may find that you lose weight, but also lose muscle and strength because you’re not performing the right exercises in order to produce the best results for your physique.
To help you make the most of your workout, take a look at the 10 most common gym mistakes women make while training and read our tips for getting it right!
Many women shy away from using weights in the gym because they fear getting ‘bulky’ and masculine. Unless you’re going to follow a strict regime of using giant weights and training like a man, you’re not going to turn into one. Weights will help you to tone your muscles and shred fat quickly and effectively, whilst also making you strong. Aim to use smaller weights which will help you to do between 8 and 15 reps, building up to heavier weights as you get stronger.
Having perfect abs is a common workout goal, but it shouldn’t be your only one. After a certain period, working on your abs becomes ineffective, so limit yourself to three or four sets of 15-20 reps and try to use resistance where you can to increase the intensity. The rest of the work you will do will help your overall fat burn, therefore helping to sculpt your abs in the process.
Another common abs problem – women often use weights that are too heavy, believing they will create slimmer waists, when in fact, heavier weights will do the opposite as your muscles expand to cope with the weight. Instead, aim to do weights which will allow you to do 15-20 reps comfortably, and avoid using them at all to work out your sides – some side planks every now and then will be a much more effective way of trimming your waist.
The great thing about the ‘This Girl Can’ adverts is that they show real women working out, complete with sweaty red faces and gritted teeth, and that’s how it should be. Don’t be afraid to push yourself because you’re afraid of how it will make your face look. Working hard to achieve your desired results takes effort, and sometimes that effort and discomfort is going to show on your face. Own it, don’t be afraid of it.
If you want to resemble a marathon runner, then hours and hours of cardio a week is fine. But if you want to retain your curves and look strong – you need to incorporate some strength training. High intensity workouts are great for combining cardio and strength moves, helping to build muscle and shred fat, in short bursts. Choose an activity such as cycling, push yourself for 20 seconds, give yourself a rest for 10 seconds and then continue this cycle for 4 minutes. This can also be applied to a number of other exercise moves such as kettlebell exercises and squats – providing you an effective fat burning exercise which will boost your fitness without compromising your muscles.
It’s tempting to stick to what you know in the gym, particularly if you’re uncomfortable trying out new things. However, when you repeat the same old fitness routine, your body adapts and gets used to the exercises, making them less effective. Change up your routine every 1-2 weeks and target different areas during your workouts. Keeping your body guessing will keep your workouts effective and avoid that dreaded ‘plateau’ that can make you lose motivation.
Many women try out a new exercise trend, find that they’re disappointed when they haven’t achieved their desired results and then give up – continuing a vicious cycle which produces no results. Instead of jumping on the latest fad, plan structured workouts which meet your needs and targets, and work to completing those. This is where a personal training session could benefit you and help you put together an effective workout plan to help you achieve your goals. Don’t jump on the scales every day to measure your progress – give it 4 weeks to see how you’re getting on – photos and measurements are better judges than scales. If you are performing exercises 2-3 hours a week, you will see positive results within 4 weeks.
It is really important that you fuel your body effectively for exercise. Did you know that for the hour after exercise, you will not put on any fat? It’s true. During this period therefore it is essential that you eat some protein in order to help build muscle. This will help insulin travel to your muscles to repair and heal them, rather than to your liver and fatty tissue stores.
Whilst yes, juices and smoothies are great for getting your Vitamin intake as well as containing natural sugars and non-complex carbs, when fruits are broken down they become easier to digest and lead to an increase in insulin production – so you’ll get hungry quicker and soon start sniffing around the snack cupboard. More worryingly, there is a chance that by juicing too often, you could develop a sort of insulin resistance, and could eventually lead to Type II diabetes. It’s not all bad news however, by adding protein you can minimise these risks and help reduce the rise in insulin levels.
Those weird squidgy pods you see in the gym – don’t waste your time on them. Whilst they may be able to help you balance, they won’t offer much in terms of muscle build, in fact working on a BOSU ball which make your muscles tire quicker, meaning you’d get less done than if you were just stood on solid ground! Studies carried out on BOSU balls even show that they aren’t any more effective at building muscle than exercising without one. So do yourself a favour and stay on solid ground.
Hopefully the points above will give you some clue as to where you’re going wrong in the gym, and what you can do to improve. By taking the time to exercise and workout, you’re already taking positive steps towards reaching your goals – so it’s a matter of making the most out of that time in order to get the best return on investment.