The day you decide to start a new workout routine gives such a rush of empowerment. We visualize how amazing we’re going to look and feel now that we’re finally going to stick to a routine. However, there are quite a few fitness mistakes that can crush good intentions. Sounds like a total bummer, right? Oh no, we got you this time.
This time is not going to be like the others. In fact, we want you to start imagining what it’s going to feel like to be able to jump higher, lift heavier, feel more confident, and look better than you could’ve ever imagined in your favorite skinny jeans. Because with these five tips, you can avoid even the most common fitness mistakes. They’re the secret sauce to your success. Lace-up your shoes — it’s time to do this thang!
5 Common Fitness Mistakes That May Be Secretly Stalling Your Results
#1 Focusing on Quantity Over Quality, We All Know How That Goes
The amount of reps you do of each exercise is an important fitness variable to consider. So how many reps should you be doing? The answer lies in your fitness goals. If you’re looking to build strength, aim for 1 to 5 reps per set, build large amounts of muscle, aim for 6 to 12 reps per set, or increase muscular endurance, aim for over 12 reps. The fewer reps you do, the more weight you’ll want to lift. However, sometimes we focus too much on getting in an extra one or two reps and lose sight of one of the most important variables of your fitness journey — form.
Once you know how many reps to aim for, you will have to estimate what weight to use to ensure the last two to three reps are challenging, but don’t muddle your form. Especially in the beginning of your fitness journey, you may find you choose a weight that is too light or too heavy. If it is too heavy, you might feel tempted to try and push through to meet your rep goal.
However, if you feel yourself breaking form, this can do more harm than good. When your form gets out of whack, other muscles will jump in and try to compensate. This is a big no-no. Breaking form will put pressure on other joints and ligaments that are not properly aligned to endure force, hello injuries! Keep your ego in check and stop your set and grab a lighter weight for the next round.
#2 Not Getting Enough Rest, Take it Easy Cowboy
Yes, you can get too much of a good thing. Working out enough is only a piece of the puzzle. Ensuring your body gets enough rest to properly recover is just as important. There’s a common misconception that the more you work out, the quicker the results. But the formula for actually succeeding in your fitness journey over a long period of time is slightly more nuanced.
Not taking enough rest days can decrease your performance, increase your chance of injury, tax your immune system, cause mental burnout, and even hinder muscle growth. All of which can totally set you back on your goals — big bummer.
The good news? There’s an easy fix for this fitness mistake, and sometimes less really is more. Aim to get at least one to three rest days per week, depending on your fitness level and the intensity of your workouts. A rest day, however, doesn’t entitle you to lay on the couch all day (however, having days like this every now and then is totally A-okay). Instead, find ways to take active rest days like going on an easy walk or small hike, a leisurely bike ride, or have a living room dance party.
A rest day ensures that your muscles can actually recover and build, and your body can go into fat-burning mode. Yes, you actually build muscle and burn fat during rest! Wild, right? Another important part of resting is getting enough sleep. For the same reasons, aim to get at least seven hours per night.
#3 Giving Into Distractions
A really easy way to hinder your results is to be more consumed with your mobile gadgets than your workout. Whether you’re searching for the perfect playlist or checking your email, your thirty-minute workout turns into an hour, or worse, you don’t finish your workout because you’re short on time and spent the majority of it fiddling with your phone.
To avoid this fitness mistake, Put. Down. The. Phone. Just like making a workout schedule, create your playlists before you start working out, or try FitOn PRO to stream music during your workouts.
Once you press play on your workout, make a pact to yourself to keep the distractions at bay. Go on “Do Not Disturb” or even “Airplane Mode” if you have to. If you feel extremely inclined to check on your phone, do it during your rest times. Once the break is over, there’s no negotiating — it’s time to get back to your workout.
#4 Ignoring Your Nutrition, Especially After Your Workout
If you’re trying to lose weight, it may feel tempting to skip your post-workout meal to save up on some calories. However, this can do more harm than good. Replenishing your muscles is just as important whether you want to shed a few inches or put on muscle. Neglecting a post-workout meal can quickly kill your post-workout high. You’ve just used all your glycogen (or carbohydrate) stores, and if you don’t replenish them, you’ll begin to feel fatigued, moody, and even hungrier, later on, killing any additional calories you may have “saved.”
Right after a workout, your metabolism and muscle-burning potential are on overdrive. They are lit up, just waiting for you to bless them with the glory of lots of water, lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Eating within 60-minutes of your workout ensures that your body uses these calories to recover from your workout instead of storing them as fat. Aim to have at least 20 grams of protein in your post-workout meal or snack to ensure optimal muscle recovery.
#5 Doing Too Much Too Soon, and Then Skipping Your Next Workout For Days
It can feel tempting to hit the ground running and want to push yourself. And this headspace is a great place to be! However, going ham on your first few training sessions can leave you too sore to even fathom exercising again. Not the best strategy considering that your fitness journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Creating new habits from the very start is so important. Pressing play on a workout two to three days in a row and then taking four or more days off is no way to get the bod of your dreams.
Don’t fall prey to this common fitness mistake. Instead, remember that slow and steady wins the race. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is a necessary part of seeing progress. However, enthusiasm needs to be reined in a bit when you’re first starting out. Take the first few days to exercise at a moderate level to let your body get used to activity again. Then, you can start to gradually increase the intensity of your workouts to meet your fitness level as you progress.
Consistency is Key
If there’s one thing that can totally derail your fitness progress, it’s being inconsistent. Whatever your goals, finding the schedule and style of working out that works for you over the long-term is essential to your success. There is no one-size-fits-all workout regimen, and learning how to listen to your body and heart will take you further than any infomercial cookie-cutter workout program. Live in your bliss!