You might be new to exercise, or you could be an experienced fitness fanatic with your own home gym, two half-marathons and a Tough Mudder under your belt. Either way, we can all fall victim to some bad habits when it comes to our exercise programme. Whether you’ve been given some bad advice, or have become complacent, there are many ways you might not be getting the most out of your training. So, are you guilty of any of these workout habits?
YOU DON’T BOTHER WITH STRETCHING
It’s all too easy to forego the pre- and post-workout stretches. When you’re on a clock, you just want to get the “important” stuff done (and get home to crack on with your latest boxset binge). However, we’re here to tell you that, actually, stretching should fall into what you deem integral to a successful workout. It can seem like a dull task, but stretching is crucial for engaging your muscles, and therefore getting them ready for the strain they’re about to be put under. It also aids a speedier recovery, helps to avoid injury and keeps your muscles from tensing up. Taking time to stretch could also help to get you properly focused on your session, resulting in a more mindful workout. Not sure where to start? Check out how to incorporate stretching into your workout routine.
YOU ALWAYS REPEAT THE SAME ROUTINE
You’ve got your fitness routine down to a fine art. Ten minutes on the treadmill, followed by another ten on the cross trainer. This is followed by a bodyweight training routine you don’t even need to think about anymore, you know it so well. Although we congratulate you on the commitment, we strongly encourage you to mix up that routine. It’ll keep your body guessing, use muscles you don’t normally train, and keep you – and your body – from getting as bored as anything.
YOU RUSH THROUGH YOUR WORKOUT
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of racing through a workout. This isn’t quite as relevant to cardio training on a machine such as an exercise bike or cross trainer, as you’re usually on a clock and form isn’t such a factor. When resistance training, either with a machine or not, or performing functional exercises (HIIT, circuits etc.) , it’s easy to compromise on form as you race through. Try to slow down and focus on what you’re doing more. When it comes to resistance training, speed is rarely the way to the greatest gains.
YOU SPEND TOO LONG TRAINING
If you’re spending two hours on a workout, we’re pretty sure you’re not making the best use of your time. Not every workout needs to target every muscle group, or incorporate every exercise you ever learned. A simple half hour workout that merges cardio, strength and core training is going to be more effective than two hours messing around.
YOU’RE ALWAYS LOOKING IN THE MIRROR
By that, we mean that you’re focusing entirely on your looks. Yes, you can be proud of your rock-hard biceps and six pack – but does running up a flight of stairs knock you for six? Your fitness programme ethos shouldn’t just be about how you look in your beachwear, it should have a strong focus on your general fitness and heart health. The 70-year-old you will thank you for it!