10 Common Mistakes In The Gym

Working out is one thing. Working out properly and safely is another! While getting out of bed and racing to the gym is something you deserve all the credit in the world for, it’s important to avoid mistakes that could be detrimental to your progress, or even your health. It’s easy to make mistakes—we all do—so here are 10 of the most common to be mindful of as we approach Exercise Right Week.

1. Skipping the Warm-up
A proper warm-up gradually revs up your cardiovascular system and increases blood flow to the muscles. Try five minutes on the treadmill or some light weights, then stretch those muscles before you put them into action. If you don’t, you’ll be increasing the risk of injury.

2. Overlooking the Cool-down
When your workout wraps up, it’s important to gradually reduce your heart rate and blood pressure with a quick cool-down. It’ll also help prevent stiffness and soreness in the following days. Simply get on the treadmill for a light jog, slowly decreasing to a walk, and you’ll be good to go!

3. Ignoring Proper Form
Letting your form slip not only makes exercise less effective but also increases the risk of injury. Before every exercise, even if you’ve done a million times before, always take a moment to check your form. With every rep, keep focusing on your form. It’s easy to let it slip when you’re starting to get fatigued or you’re simply distracted by your podcast or music. If you’re ever unsure about what ‘proper form’ really is, our friendly staff will happily guide you.

4. Neglecting Full Range of Motion
You’d be surprised how many people don’t perform their exercises with full range of motion, and it’s easy to see why. The more you extend, the harder it gets, so it’s natural to give up before the motion is complete. By fully extending with every rep, you’ll get the most out of your exercise, improve mobility and decrease the chance of muscle imbalances. Here’s the thing though: once you start doing it properly, you may learn that you can’t lift as much as you thought!

5. Focusing on Your Favourites
Just like your restaurants, songs and TV shows, it’s so easy to stick to your favourite exercises. However, this can lead to muscle imbalances and neglecting whole areas of the body, potentially causing injuries and hindering overall fitness progress. Always mix up your exercises every one to three months (and be prepared for some soreness!).

6. Lifting Too Much Weight
Sometimes, your competitive side takes over and can’t resist upping the weights. While you should always endeavour to gradually increase your lifting load as your strength builds up, it’s important to avoid injury by not lifting more than you can handle at that moment. Your exercise should be comfortable, yet still challenging. For example, if you’re doing eight reps at a time, reps 7 and 8 should take all of your strength to complete. When starting an exercise for the first time, start super light and work your way up.

7. Not Adjusting Equipment
Before jumping on a machine, always check the positioning of the seat or backrest and adjust to your height and reach. If you don’t, you’ll likely get an ineffective workout—or at the very least, a really awkward one! You could also run the risk of injury.

8. Neglecting Hydration and Nutrition
Not consuming enough water or proper nutrients before and after workouts can affect performance and recovery. Always keep a big bottle of water by your side, preferably one that isn’t made of plastic, and take sips in between reps and sets. Throughout the rest of the day, maintain good nutrition with high protein, low carb, low fat, low sugar and natural foods.

9. Lacking a Plan
It always helps to walk into the gym with your eyes on the prize. Know exactly which muscles you’re going to work, how you’re going to work them and how heavy you’re going to be lifting. This will not only save you time, but also helps you track your progress as you pump your way towards your goals.

10. Not Going Regularly
Last, but definitely not least, keep it up! It’s so easy to convince yourself that today’s not the day for the gym: it’s too cold, the bed’s too warm or the dog ate my membership card. Sometimes, things pop up that take priority over the gym, but if you find yourself with no real excuse, there’s no need to create one. Take the plunge and work those muscles for half an hour or so—you’ll never walk away wishing you didn’t! In fact, you’ll probably find that the more you go, the more you continue to go, creating a nice rhythm that you’ll rarely be tempted to break. To get yourself motivated, try joining a group exercise class or setting a regular yet reasonable schedule.

Working out is hard enough, let alone remembering everything right! By warming up, getting your form right, eating well and yes, going regularly, you’ll be able to work out with the confidence of knowing you’re progressing in the right direction and avoiding injury.

Want to know more about Fernwood’s services or classes? Start exploring today and benefit body and mind.

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