Tag Archives: fitness

9 Every-Day Mistakes you could be Making at the Gym

Most people have been guilty of these errors at some stage in their fitness journey. Usually, these mistakes can be easily fixed. All it takes is a little awareness.  

1. Intensity: Not enough vs. Too Much

In order to be effective, a work-out needs to be challenging. Many people just go through the motions and expect result. If the intensity is not at the level it needs to be, your work-out is a waste of time.

The other extreme people tend to fall into is going too hard straight-up and burning themselves out. This can leave you sore an exhausted, which will can inhibit your potential for working out within the next few days. Aside from the physical effects, it can also lower your motivation.

Plan a regular gym routine into your week and make sure the recovery time matches the intensity level.

2. Skipping Your Warm-Up

If you are weaving strength training into a busy schedule, then skipping the warm-up might seem like a good way to save time. But what you are actually doing is increasing your risk of injury and limiting your movements.

Dynamic stretching is one of the best ways to prepare for exercises involving weights. This involves moving your muscles in a way that you would during the workout. Some dynamic stretching movements include circling the shoulders, doing arm swings and rotating key joints.

Avoid static stretches, specifically if you are weight training, as these can actually decrease the strength and power of your muscles

3. Setting Unrealistic Goals

Whether your aim is to build muscle, lose weight or rehabilitate joints, make sure you understand that these things will take time.

Setting unrealistic goals will leave you disheartened when they are not reached.

Your age, height, weight and activity level are just some of the factors that will influence how your body responds to exercise. On average, people who are lifting weights three times per week can expect to see visible results after ten weeks.

In terms of weight loss, many experts agree that a healthy rate  of weight loss is 0.5-1kg per week.

But all of these numbers can vary. Fitness experts and health forums are great tools for helping you plan your exercise journey and avoid feeling discouraged later down the track.

4. Bad Positioning

By having the correct form, you can be sure that your workout is effective and safe. One thing that trainers spot on a regular basis is push-ups not being performed correctly.

Others make the mistake of using the momentum of their body weight to lift, or over-extending the knee during lunges. Small details like these can make all the difference.

To get the most out of your workout, pay attention to the positioning of your body.  Try watching exercise videos online to compare your movements with those of professionals.  There are also a range of step-by-step checklists available to make sure you are getting the most out of each move.

5. Poor Food Choices

To reach your full potential during your work-outs and see the best results, it’s important to plan and time your meals wisely.

If you hit the gym on a totally empty stomach after a long day at work, you may experience fatigue and low blood sugar. But trying to work out straight after a large, greasy meal can weigh you down.

Registered dietian and author Manuel Villacorta says that “If you fuel yourself correctly, you’ll work-out harder.”

If your goal is maximum fat-loss, working out first thing in the morning before you eat can be a beneficial strategy. But this isn’t suited to everyone.

If you are also seeking to improve your performance, or you find yourself feeling lightheaded exercising on an empty stomach, having a light but nutritious snack 30-60 minutes before your work-out can improve your results significantly.

Bananas, protein shakes, oats, eggs, chia seeds and low-fat Greek yoghurt are rated among the best pre-workout foods. Avoid saturated fats and carbonated drinks. Also steer clear of high-sugar sports drinks, regardless of how many famous athletes endorse them. When choosing a snack, consider the type and intensity of the exercises you plan to do.

You also need to stay hydrated. Up your water intake on the days when you are exercising. Drink small amounts of water regularly throughout the day, rather than gulping down two litres of water just before your workout,

What you eat before your workout can help you strike the balance between performance and energy burning that best suits your goals.

6. Sticking to the same Routine

Although there are many benefits to having a work-out plan, many people fall into a rut of sticking to the same routine every day for too long.

Repeating a workout is good to a certain extent, as your body gradually adapts to the workout. This is a sign that you are improving. But once the workout becomes too easy you may find yourself hitting a plateau.

Mix it up. Not only will this increase your results, it will also keep your gym sessions interesting.

7. Depending on Equipments

The first treadmill dates back to the 1800s. The first cable-pulley weight machine dates back to the 1950s. But human exercise traces back into ancient history.

If you’re favourite machine is being occupied, there is no reason you can’t use the waiting time to do something else.

Many fitness experts have discussed the pros and cons of exercise machines. On one hand they provide support and are easy to use, particularly for people recovering from an injury.  But they can also be limiting and you should not rely on them for every aspect of your workout.

Free weights for instance, are more effective in improving your balance and also offer more versatility.  Most gyms have a variety of spaces suited to machine-free exercises. Your workout will be more effective if you keep yourself moving, rather than standing around waiting for equipment.  You will also make better use of your time in the gym, which will boost your overall success-rate.

8. Copying Others

This is a common error among newbies. Say you walk into the gym and spot someone with the physique you are trying to achieve. So your best bet is to do what they are doing , right? Wrong.

Firstly, with no clue about what another person’s fitness aims are, copying someone will not give you the results you want.

Replicating the movements of someone else without knowing the technique behind it can result in serious injuries as well as being a waste of your own time, energy and money.  There’s also never any guarantee that the complete stranger you are copying is doing anything correctly.

If you get the impression that someone has more experienced, there is no harm in approaching them at another time and asking for advice. But make sure your workout is constructed around your own personal aims and fitness level.

9. Neglecting your cool-down

When you have just completed a long, sweaty work-out, it can be tempting to head straight for the showers. But you will be much better off if you take some time a lower your heart-rate and stretch out your muscles.

When vigorous activity is stopped suddenly, the blood can pool into the large muscles of your leg, leading to dizziness. Gradually reducing your movement lowers the risk of light-headedness, while also helping to remove lactic acids and other waste products from your muscles.

Once you have slowed your body down, you need to make sure you are stretching properly in order to avoid aches and soreness after your work-out.  It also improves your flexibility, which will help you in the long-term.

A proper cool-down will leave you feeling better and more prepared for your next work-out session.

If you think you might be making one of these mistakes, reflect on how you can fix it. Don’t be afraid to ask a staff member if you are unsure of anything. That way, you can feel confident knowing that the hard work you are doing is safe and effective.

Top Work-Outs For Women – Complete Guide

There are a number of conflicting ideas about how men and women respond differently to exercise. While both men and women should be combining cardio with strengthening exercises,  is important for women to choose the types of movements that are most effective for them.

Your own fitness level is also a key factor when it comes to designing a work-out plan. Whether you are an absolute beginner, or you are seeking to turn your routine up a notch, all women can benefit from these basic principles and exercise ideas.

Burn Energy with Aerobic Activities

For most people, the word ‘cardio’ evokes images of a treadmill.

In actual fact, the word ‘cardio’ describes anything that increases your heart-rate, from running and swimming to exercises that challenge your muscles. An effective work-out regime combines aerobic activities with strength-building exercises.

Treadmills and outdoor running are the kinds of exercises most people either love or hate. Luckily enough, there are so many creative ways to get your heart-rate going.

Kick-boxing is a great way to keep your mind and your body engaged with your work-out.

You can do this in group classes, at your local gym or in your house- all you need is a pair of gloves and a punching bag. Repetitions of martial art techniques and combinations will give you a great aerobic work-out while also strengthening the muscles in your arms or legs.

If this isn’t your thing, why not check out the fitness section of the DVD store for a high-impact dance routine? The variation of movements will keep things interesting and you will find yourself genuinely enjoying your work-out.

Build Strength with Dumbbells

One of the biggest myths around women’s fitness is that weight training will result in unexpectedly ‘bulky’ muscle gain. Women generally have 10-30 times less of the hormones that are responsible for muscle-mass.  Men and women who have a body-builder physique undergo intense training over a long period of time to achieve that level of muscle gain. You will not wake up after a gym session with disproportionately massive biceps.

What you can do over time, however, is build enough muscle to help you burn fat faster and work toward a more toned body. Here are a couple of basic weights exercises to try.

Deadlifts: Stand on your left foot with a pair of dumbbells. Raise your right leg behind you, bending your knee. Slowly bend forward from the hips, holding that position for a little while before returning to the starting pose. If you are a beginner, start off doing 5 reps per set and slowly work your way up.

Squat to Overhead Press: This is like doing squats with the addition of weights. As you come up, press the weights over your head. 10-15 reps is recommended.

Note: When squatting, make sure your knees do not bend past your toes.

fitness girl

Lunges: 

Performing a lunge with weights in your hands is a great way to get the most out of a simple movement, targeting the hamstrings, glutes and quads.  With one weight in each hand, step forward with one leg, bending to a 90 degree angle. Lower yourself down, allowing your back knee to lightly touch the floor, before standing up.

As your build up strength, you can increase the reps and eventually start to use slightly heavier weights.

Target Your Abs

Strengthening your abs can help to avoid developing back pain in future as well as boosting your agility.

The Plank:  

There are many different variations of this exercise, all targeting different muscles and catering to a range of fitness levels. While the plank appears in many yoga and ab workout routines, it is a highly effective exercise in itself.

  1. The easiest way to get into a plank is to begin in a push-up position.
  2. Lower your forearms so that they are flat on the ground and curl your toes behind you.
  3. If you maintain this position and keep your body straight, you should feel this in your abdominals and glutes.

Try to keep track of how long you can hold this position and aim to gradually increase this time.

Bicycle Crunch:

  1. This exercise starts in the regular crunch position, with your hands behind your head, raising your legs to a 90 degree angle.
  2. Bring your right elbow to your left knee, holding for two seconds.
  3. Bringing your left elbow to your right knee. Continue to alternate.

Aim  to increase the amount of reps each day.

The Hundred:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs in tabletop position
  2. Exhale and lift your back off the floor. The bottom of your shoulder blades should be touching the floor, just bearly.
  3. Straighten your legs out to a 45 degree angle. Raise your arms off the floor, reaching toward your feet.
  4. Pump your arms up and down, using small, rapid movements. The idea is to inhale for five pumps and exhale for the next five. Aim to reach 100 pumps.

Strengthen Your Core with Yoga

The popularity of Yoga owes to its many different benefits to the body and mind. Here are some of the yoga poses that are particularly effective in building core strength.

Cobra II:

  1. Lie on your stomach with your legs hip-width apart and your arms placed down beside your head.
  2. Relax your shoulders, resting your forehead on the floor
  3. Press your forearms against the floor, raising your chest and head.
  4. Exhale, lowering back to the floor. Repeat 3 times.

Hand-Knee-Balance

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a neutral position.
  2. Lift and straighten one leg and hold it parallel to the floor while extending the opposite arm.
  3. After five counts, alternate, breathing deeply throughout each repetition.

Half Moon Pose

  1. Turn to the left, stepping your feet wide apart. Extend your arms out to the sides.
  2. Rotate your right foot to a 90 degree angle.
  3. Reach your right hand toward your foot, raising the left hip. Aim to rest your right hand on the shin or ankle. For a more challenging pose, place your fingertips on the floor.
  4. Bend your right knee and draw your left foot toward your right foor.
  5. Lift your left leg and aim to bring it parallel to the floor.
  6. Extend your left arm, pointing the fingertips toward the sky.
  7. Once you are comfortable, turn your head toward your left fingertips.

Ideally, hold this for one minute before attempting the other side. This is a fantastic exercise that involves balance and strength throughout your body.

If you intend to repeat your work-out plan throughout the week, it is important to target as many different muscles as possible. The aerobic exercises, weights, ab-workout and core strengthening movements mentioned above are great for any women seeking to get a more wholesome work-out.