The 6 Biggest Mistakes You Making at the Gym
If you have not worked with a trainer regularly at your gym, do you ever wonder what they think about your workout? Do you really want to ease drop on a conversation that a trainer is having with their client at your gym? Are you worried that you may be doing the wrong exercises or doing them incorrectly?
Now don’t worry, most trainers are not stalking you and trying to see what you are doing wrong. They are either with their clients or they are there to help. After working with hundreds of personal trainers, I am confident that most of them will be there to help and not judge you. Trainers are there to help!
That being said, I wanted to share with you 5 things that personal trainers feel that people in the gym should be doing or not doing.
You are relying on machines too much
As technology has improved, so has fitness equipment. We have more gadgets and gizmos to choose from than we ever have. There are endless amounts of cardiovascular machines and weight machines that provide an array of benefits. There are just a couple of problems with relying on machines to improve your fitness.
For one, a machine does not allow you to move through your bodies natural ranges of motions. Your stabilizer muscles and core are not called upon as much as they need to in sport and in life. Most cardio and weight machines are also only in the sagittal plane of motion. The body has 3 primary planes of motion that it goes through; sagittal (forward and backward), frontal (side to side) and transverse (rotation). If you rely on machines too much you will not be able to improve your functional movement capacity in those planes of motions.
Machines are good for building muscle, building strength and improving cardiovascular fitness, so you don’t have to banish them. Just mix them in with hiking, walking, climbing, kettlebells, dumbbells, bands, balls, TRX straps and other pieces of equipment that will allow your body to move the way it was meant to.
2 You are not focusing on your breathing
For years I was a terrible breather. I would hold my breath during exercises, which would leave me panting for air. I also would breath with my shoulders and neck and not my belly and diaphragm. I also noticed my clients doing the same thing. So, I decided to do some research.
Deep breathing recruits more oxygen your muscles need to function efficiently while exercising. When you breath shallow your shoulders and chest will raise and fall while deep breathing moves your belly. If your belly is moving, you are moving your diaphragm thus breathing correctly.
You also want to pay attention to when you breathe. Breathe out on the exertion part of the movement instead of holding your breath, also known as the Valsalva maneuver. If you hold your breath you run the risk of becoming dizzy and increase your blood pressure.
3 You are working are too hard, too often
I admire people who are willing to workout hard. Not everyone likes to and that is totally fine. The in between seems to work best anyway for the long haul, so working out hard every day is not all that it is cracked up to be. Instead, you need to think quality and efficiency, not intensity and volume.
Training methodologies such as HIIT (high-intensity interval training), Crossfit WOD’s, and long-distance running are all awesome ways to improve body composition and fitness. It burns a ton of calories and ramps up the metabolism in a short amount of time. Doing these too often can often lead to overtraining thus halting your results.
Your body and nervous system can only keep up with continual balls to the wall workouts for a short amount of time. If you do like to workout hard and often, you can for about 4-6 weeks. After that, you need to tone it down a bit. I recommend about 2-3 challenging workouts at most a week followed up by staying active each day and maybe 1-2 “good enough” workouts. If you can follow that recipe for the long haul, it will far outweigh a bunch of crazy hard workouts and burn out periods.
4 You are doing too much of one type of cardio and not enough strength training
Walk into any commercial gym and you will see endless amounts of Elliptical, treadmills, stair steppers and bikes. As stated in number 1, cardio machines provide many benefits and have their place in a fitness routine. You just need to have a little more balance.
Spinning class may be one of your favorite things to do, and that’s great, but you should limit it to a few times a week if you are a cardio king or queen. Most of the cardio we perform is only done forward and backward. This can lead to muscle imbalances eventually leading to injury. It also increased your chance for over use injuries, such as sitting too much on a bike can hinder posture and running on a treadmill too much can increase your chance of a stress fracture in the lower shaft of the leg.
Instead of marrying yourself to one piece of cardio equipment, try multiple variations. My favorites are the Airdyne bike, Concept 2 Rower and Concept 2 Ski Ergometer. You can also get your cardio on with things such as battling ropes, circuit training with weights, and kettlebell swings.
Cardio and cardio machines are all good, you just need to mix it up and add some strength training into your routine as well.
5 You are not paying enough attention to your hips
The core gets a lot of attention and for a good reason. A strong core is essential for sport, fitness and life. But in my opinion, it’s all in the hips. Sitting for long hours and most cardio routines tighten your hip flexors and shuts down your glutes. The tension is a precursor to posture and low-back issues along with glute weakness. To help counteract these movements and keep your hips healthy, try the kneeling hip flexor stretch and hip thruster.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Kneel on your left leg, with the right leg bent at 90 degrees in front of you; place your right hand on the right hip and raise your left arm. Contract your glutes and shift your hips forward. Hold for 30-60 seconds and switch sides.
Glute Hip Lifts
Lie down on your back and bend your knees until your feet are flat on the floor. Dig your elbows into the ground and clench your fists. Lift your hips up in the air tilting your pelvis forward. Hold at the top and squeeze your glutes for 5-10 seconds, lower slowly and repeat. Perform 5-10 reps.
6 Use the right supplements
If you are trying to make gains or lose weight then supplements can be a big help. For those of you looking to get stronger and increase muscle mass a good testosterone booster is a great place to start. They use ingredients to boost your bodies natural testosterone production and we all know that more testosterone means more muscle so that is a great place to start.
On the other hand, if you are looking to lose body fat and get ripped then you should start with a great fat burner.that works. Top of the line fat burner will increase your metabolism so you burn more fat during the day and at night. They also give you more energy so you burn more calories. Both of these selections are a great place to start and should really help you achieve your goals.