3 Gym Mistakes to Avoid
Having spent the better part of my life inside the gym, I can tell you that the vast majority of people are not coming close to maximizing their time while working out. Here are three top things people do at the gym that prevents them from achieving their best body:
- Too Many Crunches
Yes, the pursuit of flat abs is, and will always be, at the top of many fitness goal lists. Far too many people spend too much of their workout time rolling around on the mat doing an endless number of ab exercises, however. You are paying for the expensive exercise equipment at the gym - use it. Focus on strength training and/or cardio and do the majority of your abdominal exercises at home. I use a ten percent rule when it comes to gym ab exercises: No more than ten percent of the workout time should be allocated to crunch-type exercises while at the gym. Exercising for an hour? You have six minutes to focus on flattening those abs. No more.
- Too Much Cardio
Let me preface this by saying that cardio is an extremely important component of our exercise routines. It burns calories, it increases our mood state and it helps strengthen our most important muscle, the heart. Too many people spend the majority if not all of their time at the gym performing relatively low-level cardiovascular exercise, however, resulting in just a few hundred calories burned at the end of their workout. Strength training builds valuable lean muscle which leads to a higher resting metabolic rate, meaning more calories burned twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Doing a mix of cardio and weights is a great way to get the most out of your time in the gym.
- The exact same routine
It's a scene right out of the movie "Groundhog Day" at most gyms: The same people doing the exact same exercise routines, day in and day out. It should come as no surprise that they look exactly the same – our bodies adapt very quickly to our workouts, generally within four weeks or so. If we don't change the stimulus, we don't change. Doing a completely new workout routine every few weeks will not only ensure you avoid the dreaded exercise plateau, but also that you stay mentally stimulated. Take a strength training routine for example: It can be as simple as doing all machines for four weeks, switching to free weights for the next month, performing bodyweight only exercises for four weeks, then doing a mix of all three for the next cycle. Mix it up.
Make these simple changes to your gym routine and you will be sure to see big changes in your body!