In today’s non-stop society, it’s hard to find time to workout. It’s even harder to stay motivated when your workouts aren’t producing any results.
Read below to learn how five simple (and very common) mistakes can make your workouts less effective. 1. Only Doing Cardio
When I first started working out, I was a typical female “cardio bunny.” I walked into the gym, hopped on a treadmill, ran pointlessly until exhaustion, and then darted back home as fast a rabbit. In the past, I’ve fallen victim to pre-set calorie counters and the idea that if a workout is miserable, then it must be effective.
Yes, cardio burns a large amount of calories. Yes, running for hours and hours can help you lose weight. However, I do not recommend cardio only workouts. Why? Because burning calories and sweating aren’t the only factors that determine your weight and overall figure. There is a clear difference between a girl who is skinny and one who is fit and healthy. It’s important to perform muscle and strength building exercises in order to shape and tone your physique.
Another problem with cardio is that your body adapts very quickly. It’s only a matter of weeks before a once challenging run can be completed without breaking a sweat. Instead of spending an hour on the elliptical, try splitting your workout between cardio and weight lifting. (Check Out My Other Articles for More Details). I promise, your toned arms and tight tush will thank you!
2. Not Lifting Heavy Weights
If you ever want to get a guy’s attention at the gym, just lift something heavier than a 15 pound dumbbell (or trip over a bench, but I’d still prefer the first option). Many women completely underestimate what they are capable of lifting and instead stick to only “safe” weights. During your next gym session, try using a dumbbell slightly heavier than normal. If you can easily complete your set, then continue to increase the weight until it becomes challenging.
The only thing worse than underestimating your own strength is the belief that weight lifting makes you look bulky or manly. You will never, and I mean never, look like a professional bodybuilder, unless you want to. But I can guarantee that a few sessions of weighted squats will give your butt a little more pop in your yoga pants. Remember, the idea is to “Lift like a man, but look like a GODDESS!”
3. Wearing Baggy Clothing
Have you ever gone to the gym in oversized pants and a big t-shirt? Well, unless you were trying to shed some water weight by sweating (which won’t make you skinny, just dehydrated), I’d recommend you reassign the baggy clothes for sleeping. At the gym, it’s important to be able to see how your muscles move as you perform each exercise. This allows you to notice incorrect form and make adjustments accordingly.
Additionally, one of the most gratifying feelings is when previously snug gym clothes are now falling off your body. By purchasing form-fitting clothing you have another method, other than the dreaded scale, to judge your progress. Still need more motivation? Try buying something a size smaller than what you currently wear and keep it hanging in your room. This provides a daily reminder of why you’re making an effort to workout.
4. Doing Too Much at once
Over the years, one thing I have noticed is that women tend to perform workouts that are all over the place. Lunges, bicep curls, shoulder raises, abs? By focusing on too many body parts, you may be cheating yourself of noticeable results. Instead of doing everything at once, try focusing on one or two muscle groups per gym session. For example, biceps and triceps, legs, or chest and shoulders.
Also, if you’re serious about making your workouts count, try to keep up the intensity and avoid distractions. The gym can easily turn into a social hour if you’re not focused on your workout. You don’t have to be completely mute and anti-social, but try to spend the majority of your time moving more than just your lips.
5. Not Having Confidence
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… and again, and again, confidence is the most important thing you can have at the gym. It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced trainer or a fitness newbie, if you act like you belong, then no one will even think otherwise.
Remember, you’re working out to make your life healthier and build a fitter body. I know you are strong, independent individuals outside of the gym, and I want you to be confident in the weight room as well. All that matters is your continuing to make yourself better one workout at a time.
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- ALYSE SCAFFIDI
Alyse Scaffidi is the founder of Bite Sized Fitness. She is a Doctorate of Pharmacy student and knows how hard it is to make time for your health. Check out the sites below for more motivational tips, delicious recipes, and ideas for healthy eating.