What are the most common gym mistakes?

Over the last few weeks I’ve been talking about the best exercises to help you get fit and look better. This week I want to talk about something different; the worst, and most common, mistakes people make in a gym.

Everyone who goes to a gym has roughly the same goals. They want to feel fitter and they want to look better. Sometimes the reason they don’t achieve this is because of a lack of motivation. But most of the time it’s because people are making basic errors that are holding them back from getting results. 

Here’s my top four gym mistakes. Be honest and see if you recognise any…

1. You’re only doing cardio training

All of us know someone who says they go to a gym three times a week and spend an hour on the treadmill. Yet when you see that person a few months later they look exactly the same – they haven’t lost any weight and they’re de-motivated because of it. 

Ever wondered why that is?  

People think that cardio alone is the secret to losing weight and burning body fat. They think that running burns calories and if they burn calories they’ll lose weight.  It’s true, cardio training does burn calories. However, the fact is that resistance/ weight training burns loads more. This is because training with weights increases your metabolism dramatically - and when your body’s metabolism increases it burns more calories - and hence more bodyfat. Weight training increases your metabolism for anything up to 48 hours, which means for the next TWO DAYS you’ll still be burning calories after your workout.

2.  You’re starving yourself thin

I’m sure you’ve all got a friend or colleague who say they’re on a diet and by “diet” they mean that they’re hardly eating anything. This is not an effective way to lose weight. By dramatically cutting your food intake, all you are doing is starving your body of fuel. 

What happens when your body is starved of fuel? Your body reacts by slowing your metabolism right down in a desperate attempt to conserve as much energy as it can. And if you’ve got a very slow metabolism then you’re burning less calories, and hence not losing any bodyfat.

That’s why these crazy diets don’t work. Even if you do manage to lose a tiny bit of weight, the chances are you’ll put it straight back on again when you go back to your normal routine. The best way to lose weight safely is to have a slight calorie deficit and to have an exercise routine that increases your metabolism so you burn more fat.

3. You’re not keeping a training log

Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve got results really quickly but then all of a sudden you stop improving? You know what I mean – you can’t run any faster, you’re not losing any more weight and your physique is not looking any more toned. The reason is that when you first start an exercise programme you are shocking your body. You’re asking it to do things that it has never done before and it reacts by burning more bodyfat in order to meet these new demands. 

Your body is extremely intelligent – it adapts to new situations very quickly. So you have to keep changing your routine and keep pushing yourself so that your body is working harder to achieve results. How can you do this if you’re not keeping a record of what you’re doing? Keeping a record is a great way of staying motivated as you can map your improvements as the weeks go by. If you don’t have targets, you run the risk of getting bored very quickly.

4. You’re doing too many sit-ups

If anyone tells you that doing a thousand sit-ups a day is going to get you a six pack, they're very wrong.  We’ve all got the abdominal muscles that make up a six-pack – the problem is that for most of us they’re hidden under a layer of fat. The truth is that sit-ups burn almost no calories at all. So you’ve got to have a mixture of effective cardio and weight training to burn away the fat and give you the six-pack you’re looking for. 

So did you recognise any of these? Don’t worry if you did – and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. The trainers here at AbsolutePT are always around to give you hints and tips so that you get the results you’re looking for.

Hope this has been useful. As ever, give me a shout if you’ve got any questions or want to know more. 

Take it easy,
Tony

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