Passion for fitness must be followed by knowledge of fitness. Every time you enter a commercial gym, you’re sure to find several people making a series of mistakes that are stealing gains and increasing risk of injury. Make sure you are maximizing your results while avoiding injury by avoiding these common gym mistakes.
Hands down one of the most common mistakes across all levels of fitness enthusiasts, skipping on stretching is one mistake that may cost you big time. Stretching is an effective way to prepare you for the challenges ahead while preventing exercise-based injuries. Increasing your flexibility has long-term benefits as well, helping to prevent age-related injury and complications.
Let’s not forget about your performance, studies have shown how effective stretching can be in improving your overall performance in the weight room. As you can see in this study from the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, when stretching is made a part of your program, you help to boost the following:
• Overall performance
FOCUSING ON CARDIO
A common mistake for those just beginning their fitness lifestyle is to focus solely on cardiovascular-based exercises such as jogging and biking. While these types of aerobic exercises are important for your health, you are limiting yourself in a number of ways. You’ll discover that results via cardio are quick to reach that dreaded plateau. Once your body reaches a plateau, the scale will stop moving and there will be no differences in appearance. What’s more, focusing on cardio as your exercise program limits your ability to build lean muscle tissue, an important fat burner.
STICKING TO THE MACHINES
If you’re stuck on cardio-only exercises, then there’s a good chance you have a machine addiction as well. Machines are a great way for beginners to get comfortable with resistance exercises as the weight room can be an intimidating place. Eventually, you will need to break away from machines and push yourself to learn traditional weight lifting exercises. Using a machine limits your range of motion and muscle group utilization. If you feel uncomfortable about your technique, consider hiring a personal trainer.
NOT CHANGING IT UP
Variety is an essential part of any fitness program, so why is it that so many people trudge into the gym each day to perform the same program for weeks and months on end? Your body is a marvelous thing. It adapts to the stress that it’s being placed under in an attempt to achieve homeostasis. If you don’t change up your acute variables, then you’ll stop seeing results. Every 6 to 8 weeks, swap out your exercises, increase the weight you’re using, or try a different sets-to-repetitions ratio.
FITNESS CLASSES FOR VARIETY
One of the best ways to ensure you stretch, include variety, avoid machines, and get an overall great workout is to invest your time in a set of fitness classes. Provided by experienced and trained professionals, fitness classes can be as challenging as you need them to be. Trainers hold the knowledge of hundreds of exercises including regressions. Best of all, you are building your new body among friends. Open Fitness offers several different types of group classes such as Yoga, Cardio, Dance, Pilates and Boot Camp. Visit www.OpenFitness.com to check out the complete list of classes.