So, you’ve been diligently sticking to your fitness regime? You’ve been sweating, lifting, and stretching. But there’s still no sign of a single ab? Wondering why the pounds are not really sliding off the way they do for your fellow gym junkies? Well, it’s frustrating and defeating when you’re putting the time and the effort in but not seeing the fruits of your fitness labor. But don’t give up hope and throw in the towel yet because, chances are, there’s a way to turn things around. You’re probably making some pretty big workout mistakes that are sabotaging your progress. So, here, below we’ve listed out certain commonly seen mistakes that you can prevent and get back on track and reach your goals. Check this list and make sure you aren’t unintentionally shooting yourself in the foot.
Lifting the Heaviest Weights You Can
‘If it’s not hurting, it’s not working— you must have heard this saying. But don’t fall prey to this common fitness mistake. A high-intensity workout that raises your heart rate and gets you sweating a lot is great for calorie burning. But they’re generally dreadful for strength building. Though you must dedicate some time for HIIT work, avoid filling your workout time with burpees and running on the spot as this will make you lose a tonne of strength. And just because you can lift heavyweight doesn’t mean you should. Sure, it’s great to push yourself to new limits, but lifting weights that are too heavy, too early, can do more harm than good.
To determine how much iron to pump, there’s a rule of thumb—underestimate your strength by 20 percent and go from there. If you are a newbie when it comes to weightlifting, first go for the easiest weight as a base to build on. Once you get your form set with seven to ten reps, add another five to 10 pounds. Next, go for another set. Still too easy? Add on a few more pounds and do another set. Keep on doing this till you find yourself struggling with the final rep in a set of 10 without breaking form.
You Can’t Stop Comparing
Look, you’re who you are. You’re not The Rock or Arnold. Maybe you’re not even close. But if you are pushing yourself to make your biceps look like those Instagram photos that these pro wrestlers like to post, you are on the wrong track. Sure, you might be able to squeeze out one rep of your favorite wrestler’s set of 10. But you might end up pulling your muscle and sitting the next two weeks out. So, don’t limit your progress by comparing it to others. Your fitness goals and progress should be based on what you are capable of doing rather than what a friend or someone else on social media can do. You need to move at your own tempo and compete with yourself.
Not Paying Attention to Form
Have you ever felt backache after a squat? Or a nagging neck pain from all those crunches? It’s most likely because you’re rushing through and not paying attention to the movement and form. Sometimes we get caught up in trying to squeeze in an additional one or two reps and lose sight of one of the most imperative variables of our fitness journey — form.
If your form gets out of whack, other muscles will jump in and try to counteract. This is a big no-no. Breaking form puts stress on other joints and ligaments that aren’t properly positioned to withstand force. Result? Hello, injuries! So, to make sure you’re doing things right, consult with a trainer for one or two sessions. In the beginning, practicing the right form might seem challenging. However, taking the time to refine your actions will help you avoid long-term injury and future fitness mistakes.
Doing Crunches Wrong
Crunches are one of the first exercises that everybody is taught when it comes to tone their abs. However, while doing it, if you drop your chin to the chest, puff up your belly or lift up your chest too high, you may end up straining muscles in your neck and back. Another mistake that people often make is to place their hands behind their necks instead of crossing them over their chest. You must focus on overall body fat rather than just practicing ab exercises. Remember, no matter how many crunches and planks you do, you won’t get those chiseled abs if you have excess body fat in any section. So, it’s better to mix up your core workouts with some cardio.
Hopping From One Workout to Other
So, hands up who hop from one workout to another to try out everything at once? No shame; we’ve all done it. We understand the temptation, but the truth is—it will take you nowhere. If there’s one thing that can totally wreck your fitness progress, it’s inconsistency. No matter what fitness goal you have in your mind, you should not change your workout too often, such as every week or two weeks.
But this doesn’t mean you have to stick to the same old workout every time. Consistency is important but if you continue to do the same exercise all the time, your fat burning and muscle building will take a halt. So, it’s critical to change things up and try something new every 4 to 6 weeks. To enhance cardiovascular endurance, build strength, and change your body composition, an optimal workout regimen should incorporate cardio, resistance, and flexibility workout.
Not Taking Rest between Sets
Working out enough is simply one part of the equation. Ensuring that your body gets enough time to rest and heal is just as important. There’s a common misconception that the more you exercise, the quicker you see the gains. However, the formula for actually succeeding in your fitness journey over time is a little more complicated. The lack of adequate rest can lower your performance, increase your risk of injury, stress your immune system, lead to mental exhaustion, and even prevent muscular growth. All of this can cause you to fall behind on your goals. So, take it easy and make sure to rest between sets. Don’t use this time to catch up on your favorite show, scroll through the Instagram feeds, or daydream about the body you want. Your muscle needs 1 to 2 minutes of rest at maximum between working sets. So, take a little rest, have some water and get ready for the next set.
When it comes to working out, commitment is the key. So, don’t expect overnight miracles and take things day by day to get the best outcomes for your effort. If you find any of these slip-ups in your own workouts, fix those mistakes and you will be well on your way to seeing the gains you deserve.