Exercise is well regarded as one of the key components of healthy weight loss, also working to build muscle tone, increase cardiovascular wellness, and support an overall balanced lifestyle. While on the whole working out is great for you, there are mistakes that can accompany exercise that may stall your progress or even put you at risk of injury, making your wellness plan ineffective for the long term. We spoke with Tonal Coach, Trace Gotsis to find out the three most common fitness mistakes people make so you don’t have to fall into the same traps. Trust us, your body will thank you.
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Mistake #1: Inconsistency
It may come as no surprise that not maintaining your fitness routine will be the first factor stalling your results. It takes time to see changes in your body from your workouts, but working out inconsistently will limit the amount of progress you can actually make, and your sporadic exercise ineffective. “If you don’t have a routine, your body has a harder time adapting to the changes and progress you’re trying to introduce,” says Gotsis. “Think of training your physical body just like your brain when you are learning something new: if you fall off from studying, you forget everything you learned. If you only workout every so often, your body forgets what it’s doing and you get stuck.”
Creating a workout schedule you can stick to and easing into your exercise plan is the best way to make sure you don’t fall off track, allowing for you to actually reach your goals. This may mean starting slow with just three workouts a week, but sticking to that plan over time will allow working out to become a routine and not just something you do on a whim.
Mistake #2: Overtraining
The flip side of the coin is putting your body under too much strain, overexerting yourself and wearing out your energy. While it may seem that training more would gain you results more quickly, rest and recovery is actually essential to your weight loss journey on the whole. “Not giving your body ample time to recover when putting your body through stress won’t allow you to perform at your best,” warns Gotsis. “Every time you exercise, you’re breaking down your muscles. In order for them to rebuild bigger and stronger, they need time to regenerate or they’ll remain in a constant state of breakdown.”
The solution to overtraining is quite simply paring down your routine and listening to your body when it tells you it needs rest. One to two rest days per week can help provide more time for your muscles to recover, but if you’re feeling exhausted one day, your body will benefit more from taking a rest than powering through. “Plan and strategize by programming in recovery to your workout routine and take days off from intense exercise,” adds Gotsis.
Mistake #3: Lack of Knowledge
Beginning a workout routine blindly with no education on how to complete this exercise can actually slow your progress as you run the risk of performing the activity ineffectively, putting your body at risk for injury. “Performing moves incorrectly is a big one. Improper form not only disables you from training your targeted muscles correctly, but it can lead to a serious risk of injury,” notes Gotsis. This is particularly important if you’re beginning weight training, as performing squats or like exercises incorrectly may put you in harm’s way, and injury will most certainly stall progress.
Taking the time to watch instructional videos or investing in a training session to get the hang of basic weight training moves is one of the best ways to make sure your routine serves you in the long term, and even following at-home workout classes guided by trainers can help to offer you a more well-rounded awareness of the benefits of certain movements for your body. While research may feel like added work, it’s one of the best ways to keep your body safe and pave the way for actual results from your fitness journey.