The benefits of fitness can be infinite when it comes to health, body shape, weight loss, and emotional wellbeing. Experts agree that having an exercise routine integrated into our lifestyles is important. However, for many, despite having strict and committed workout routines, tangible results in terms of weight loss are elusive. If that sounds familiar, maybe changing a few small habits can help get your workout working again!
Skipping a proper warmup could be derailing your workout results. Often, just finding time to exercise is hard enough and adding a few extra minutes to warm up seems like a waste. However, warming up properly helps prepare the body for aerobic activity by raising body temperature and increasing blood flow to the muscles.
Think of your muscles as rubber bands that have been sitting in the freezer. If you try to pull cold rubber bands, they can easily break. By contrast, if the rubber band is warmed up before being pulled, it is much more flexible. Sedentary muscles are like cold rubber bands – allowing them to warm up before activity may help reduce the risk of injury and lessen muscle soreness.
Skipping a warm-up can lead to discontinuity in exercise routines; as individuals start sensing muscle pain, performance drops, sessions may be skipped to rest the aching muscles, commitment to the workout is compromised as our workout results.
The benefits of warming up extend beyond decreasing the risk of injury and pain; a proper warm-up \can lead to increased flexibility, increased blood flow, improved performance, and a better range of motion. The type of warm-up one does also play a role in the anticipated results.
According to some fitness experts, a dynamic warmup may be the most effective way to prepare for a workout. In simple terms, a dynamic warm-up is “moving while you stretch,” or stretching through a joint’s full range of motion and preparing muscles for the more intense activity to come. Examples of a dynamic warm-up are arm circles, shoulder rotations, lunge walks, leg swings, knees to chest, and pretty much any other bodyweight movement that incorporates a certain degree of flexibility, strength, and range of motion.
Too much focus on cardio
Workout results may be derailed by focusing too much on cardio activity and excluding strength training. A cardio workout initially burns more calories than a weight-training workout. However, weight training is better for fat loss and building lean muscle. Therefore, the ideal exercise program for improving body composition and health includes both cardio activity and weight training.
Think about your workout as a balance scale: weight training on one side of the scale and cardio on the other. The best results are achieved when both are balanced.
Using food as an analogy: consider strength training as the main dish and cardio as the side dish. You would want to make sure you’re hungry enough for your main dish and not be filled up on the side dish.
One suggestion is to always start with a proper warm-up, followed by a strength training routine, and finish it off with some time on a bike, treadmill, or elliptical machine. Even a walk outside on your way back from the gym counts! If, however, your objective is to improve your endurance for something like a marathon, start with cardio!
Not changing your routine enough
Sticking to a comfortable workout routine can seem like the best way to exercise. We have it on a piece of paper… we felt it had a good effect on our body… we became very comfortable during our repetitive sessions, and so we stick to it…. right? Wrong!
While consistency is extremely important in terms of making time to exercise, doing the same workout each session will, after time, fail to demonstrate the same results. The longer you do a single move/same workout, the more your muscles become used to it. Over time, that adaptation means that you will stop seeing results.
Changing your workout and the types of exercise being performed periodically helps prevent plateauing. You can rearrange reps, vary sets, increase or decrease weight used, change the tempo, and switch activities to keep your muscles challenged. Keep in mind:
Focusing exclusively on certain spots
We all have certain spots that we would like to see changed more than others: it’s the belly for some, the buttocks for others… unfortunately, isolated exercises don’t get us the results we would imagine. For example, focusing solely on ab exercises does not create a flatter and tighter stomach. The lower back, torso, obliques, hips, and posture muscles all play a role in the appearance of abdominal muscles. All of our muscles are linked, and they affect each other. So instead of restricting the workout to crunches, experts recommend combining a variety of compound exercises (squats, deadlifts, chest presses, etc.) with a healthy diet and your trouble spots will cause you less trouble.
Resting for too long between sets… or getting carried away on your phone between exercises
Resting between sets is important, however, resting too long could backfire and sabotage results. While a brief rest of 30 to 60 seconds between sets is necessary for some routines like weightlifting, sitting for a long time can lower your heart rate and affect drastically your calorie-burning state. Try to put the phone aside during workouts and leave emails/messaging/phone calls for outside of the gym.
Failing to consider diet
Many have heard the expression: “abs are made in the kitchen.” What this means is that when trying to lose weight or get more fit, up to 80% of the results come from diet and 20% from exercise. Regardless of the workout routine, it will not create a new figure without also taking diet into account. For the best results, maintain a healthful and nutritious diet.
Not being consistent
It’s easy to give in and skip a gym session because we have a dinner to go to, a friend to see a show to watch because we are feeling tired and overwhelmed. But remember that consistency is key to success with workouts! Consistent working out will bring more substantial results than periodic extreme fitness routines. Sticking to your workout schedule will keep you feeling revived both physically and mentally. Exercising with consistency helps muscles to develop gradually and your mind will experience reduced levels of stress and greater relaxation.
Sleep better to work out better
The body is a highly complex machine. A major factor that affects the workout results is sleep. Getting between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night helps control cortisol levels and keep the appetite under check. Additionally, proper sleep allows time for muscle recovery and provides the required energy for a good session at the gym.