The post Christmas rush to the gyms has begun in earnest as the new year – new me brigade began to look for thinner waistlines and bigger muscles.
Our resident health and fitness expert Shane Flynn has taken the time to enlighten us on some of the most common mistakes that people make it the gym.
If you want to not only look better, but also feel better and avoid injury, this is essential advice to follow!
Top 10 mistakes made in the gym
1. No plan or structure to your session: You see it so often and you may even be one of that category who have all the right intentions and go to the gym for an hour or more a few times a week. However when you stand back and take a look at those sessions you are just walking from one machine to another doing what you may have seen others do, and on an overall level you have not had any structure and therefore may not have even hit a certain muscle more than twice. The body will get used to that very quickly which will result in a diminishing returns on results
2. Over training or under recovering: One of the most common things you hear about with athletes more so than the normal gym goer. It is usually not over training that is the problem but more so under recovering. “What you do in between sessions to ensure you are getting recovery”. Over a period of time this will catch up and you will slowly lose energy and motivation therefor experience “burnout”.
3. Bad form/Technique: This is mainly seen on the more compound exercises which is unfortunately the ones that can cause quite a lot of injury. People join a public gym and may not be shown how to use machines or certain exercises and then pick up an injury. Incorrect squatting and deadlifting are the main exercises that cause difficulty resulting in injury.
4. Go all out and then crash: We get caught up in the “New year’s Resolution” and get ourselves ready to go as hard as we can. This is a big difference to the life you may have being living before that and can come as a shock after a week or two. So better to just take it slowly and ease yourself in.
5. Run out of patience: Possibly the most common thing I have experienced with having a gym and people get very frustrated because they expected miracles and drastic changes within a very short time frame. Then the natural thing to do is look for reasons as to why and simply blaming different variables. The best thing we can do is realise it is a very slow process but worth it.
6. Not setting realistic goals: The perfect lead on from the previous point. You need to make small changes to your life style and set small goals that you can achieve each week. Don’t lose sight of your main goal but take it in tiny steps and stay focused.
7. Not enough variety: If you are not an everyday gym goer then you may need things to be freshened up a lot in order for you to stay focused. Joining a public gym makes this much more difficult as you will most likely be following a set program for weeks or just doing your own thing. If you find it hard to be eventful then look at going to group sessions or personal training so that stress is taken away.
8. Doing cardio before lifting weights: This will not apply to everyone. If you are just generally looking to lose weight then running on a treadmill before working out is great as its extra cardio but if you wish to add muscle then it’s devastating to your workout. Running will not do anything beneficial to help you lift weights. Lifting weights is about two things, recruiting fibres (specific speed, power or strength training) or else fatiguing and creating a stimulus in the muscle (muscle building or bodybuilding)
9. Not Hydrated: Dehydration is a very common thing amongst people. An estimated 75% in fact are chronically dehydrated. Not having water diminished your mental and physical performance. Try sipping on water throughout the day. If you are someone who sweats very easily you should consume electrolytes sachets or drinks to help retain water.
10. No nutritional plan: Without a doubt nutrition is number 1 when trying to change your body. We are up for on average 16 hours during the day and will train for 1 hour so naturally enough that is not going to be the main component in making gains. Within 60 minutes of completing your workout your body is at its optimal level for receiving nutrients. You can stimulate protein synthesis (muscle growth) and the replenishment of muscle glycogen (fuel for high-intensity exercise). If this window is neglected, your body is in a state of catabolism (breakdown). To make things very easy, drink a protein shake within the 30 mins of working out.