Workout mistakes? What? If you’re anything like me, you want a hero badge just for showing up! Face it, there are a lot of other if not fun at least productive things we could be doing with our time at 5:30 in the morning (like oh, I don’t know, SLEEP). But the fact is there are some common mistakes people make that can detract from all that effort. So, if you’re going to be putting in the effort, make it count. Here are five things to avoid in order to get the most out of your time:
1) Staying up too late the night before
This is a tough one. These days most people are busier than ever and it is very tempting to stay up late in order to unwind. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation carries its own health risks, not the least of which you will be prone to skip workouts or be more likely to injure yourself. Get your sleep!
2) Not drinking enough water
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times – drink water! Well, it’s true. Dehydrated cells are not strong, healthy cells. Admittedly, drinking water is not like imbibing an energy drink loaded with caffeine – you don’t get an immediate buzz – but regular and consistent hydration will make you feel much better and have a positive impact on your exercise routine.
3) Avoiding heavy weights because you’re afraid of ‘bulking up’’
Hopefully no one believes this old chestnuts anymore, but just in case you’re still the teensiest bit worried about it – don’t be! Women will not get ‘big’ if you lift heavy weights. If you lift heavy weights you will develop lean muscle and burn more fat. Period.
4) Eating more calories than you burn
Just because you go for a three mile run does NOT mean you can eat a cheeseburger and fries for lunch. It is very common to overestimate the calories you burn during a workout and underestimate the ones you consume. The solution? Invest in a decent quality heart rate monitor with a calorie tracker (they range from $59-$200) and log your food. You will quickly get a handle on your burn rate and learn how and when to fit in your ‘cheats’.
5) Not taking rest days
Once you get in a groove with your workouts it can be tempting to cross the line from disciplined to, shall we say, ‘obsessed’. You will not lose ground if you take rest days. In fact, it’s the opposite. Over-training can lead to lack of results. Lean muscle growth occurs from the tear down during workouts and the reparation during rest periods. Lack of reparation means lack of muscle growth equals what’s the point? You will not get fat (or lose muscle) if you take two days off a week, you will get stronger.