Are You Sabotaging Your Own Workouts?
So by now we all know that working out is one of the keys to achieving optimal health and wellbeing. Yeah sure, there are days where you feel like the hulk and go all out - letting nothing get in your way, and then there are other days where simply finishing is an achievement in itself. I think those of us who have super busy schedules struggle the most come mid-week. Especially when we are dealing with uni/work stresses, trying to keep up with some form of a social life, getting into bed by 10pm AND trying to fit in a workout!
- Checking social media
- Doing the same thing every time
- Not having a good playlist
- You're neglecting recovery
- Allowing too much time for rest
- Not hydrating well
- You're not working on your weaknesses
- Too much time on cardio
8 ways you may be secretly ruining your workouts
So if I told you that you have been unwittingly ruining your workout with the smallest things, I am sure you would want to know what they are! After all, if we have to cut out precious Netflix time on a Wednesday night, we want our workouts to be 100% effective!
1. Texting and checking social media
I feel like this one probably comes as no surprise to most of you, and you may scoff at those people who “are on Facebook posting selfies at the gym”. However, many of us actually do this so often without even realising (in some way).
Getting a text message from your girlfriend will “just take a second” right? Wrong. Whilst you are typing as fast as you can to get that reply sent (and not be one of “those” people), you have lost focus, even if it is just temporary. The couple of seconds it takes to check that message, reply, check that notification or email, you are taking away from your workout.
Let’s not forget that you actually happen to receive some juicy news, how are you supposed to concentrate if all you can think about is the recent breakup of your favourite boyband?
When it comes to workout time, the best thing you can do is set your phone on private or airplane mode, so you can concentrate on what counts the most. If you are completing any of my workouts, this is especially important because it is only a 28 minute workout, which means that every second counts!
2. Doing the same thing every time
Sticking to the same routine is one of the biggest ways to secretly ruin your workout. That’s not to say that what you are doing is wrong, it just shouldn’t be the same every single time. Whether you always do a certain gym class, go for a jog or always focusing on a certain part of your body with your resistance training, doing this over and over may cause you to get bored.
If you happen to be one of those people that loves routine, while you may not get bored, your body might and you will inevitably lose that sense of urgency. If it becomes too easy for your body, it might mean you are not pushing yourself hard enough and your progress may slow down. Try switching it up with a variety of classes weekly, different resistance sessions targeting your whole body and incorporate HIIT to change it up!
3. Not having a good workout playlist
This may seem silly, but hear me out! Have you ever been on a roll? I’m talking you're doing a HIIT workout or pumping out those burpees, only to have the song change and suddenly you lose focus because you are listening to John Legend’s “All of You” and are about to cry? That may be a slight exaggeration, but I think you get me.
The best thing you can do is prep a workout playlist BEFORE you workout, so you aren’t wasting time skipping songs you don’t like. I LOVE songs that are super fast and have a good beat. There is nothing better to pump you up and keep you that way!
4. You forget recovery
By recovery I do not mean treating yourself to some post-workout ice cream. I mean stretching, foam rolling and the likes. I know that sometimes just finishing the workout you have set out for yourself is a win in itself, so it can be SUPER easy to think you can skip the stretches.
Did you know that recovery is almost as important for your progress as the workout itself? This is because your body and muscles need time to rest and repair, allowing you to go just as hard the next time (and also prevent injury). Working out on stiff and sore muscles is not going to do your body or your workout any favours! So don’t forget to stretch and foam roll - trust me!
5. You’re allowing too much time for rest
This is a super common mistake many people make. It can be so easy to overdo the ‘rest’ periods. I know completing that set of jump lunges nearly wiped you out, but taking 5 minutes to recover from them isn’t doing yourself any favours. Set a certain amount of time for your rest periods, and do your best to stick to them. Set a timer if you need to! Just don’t skip your rest periods altogether, as these give you a chance to catch your breath and mentally prepare yourself for what’s coming next.
6. Not being properly hydrated
We all know a water bottle is a must-have accessory for any workout, particularly if you are completing any of my programs in the Sweat app. However, did you know that if you don’t drink enough water beforehand and aren’t properly hydrated, you could be ruining your chances of having a good workout?
This is especially important for all those girls who enjoy working out in the morning. After a whole night’s sleep, your body may be lacking water and craving H20. Even if you don’t feel all that thirsty in the morning, try to drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up to replenish your body. Many people find they suffer from a lack of energy and dizziness when they try to work out in the morning, and this may be due to dehydration. Just remember to base how much you drink on what type of workout you are doing. If it is a high-intensity cardio one, don’t drink large amounts of water too close to your workout as having a belly full of water may cause you to feel uncomfortable. You may find it better to have smaller sips more regularly instead.
7. You aren’t focusing on your weaknesses
Are there certain exercises you just can’t do? Or feel silly trying to do? These are different for each individual, but the top ones that come to mind are lay-down push-ups, burpees and straight-leg sit-ups. While I get that some of these exercises are the idea of hell for some people, avoiding them altogether may slow down your overall progress. The beauty of fitness is pushing your body to its limits, and then seeing how far you have come and improved!
If you struggle with certain exercises, try to pinpoint where you are going wrong. Is it because you have a weak core? Is your form wrong? This is the beauty of training in front of a mirror as you can use it to check your form. It is super easy to stick to exercises that we like, however doing what we need is another story. Try to work on your weaknesses each time you train, you will be surprised at how much you improve over time.
8. Focusing too much on cardio
Spending an hour on the treadmill each and every night probably won't give you the toned, lean body you are after. It can also become extremely boring very quickly! From experience, I have found that bodies respond better to a combination of steady state, interval and resistance training. Now this is not to say that cardio isn't an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but doing it alone will NOT give you the results you are after. Incorporating light weights, plyometrics and HIIT workouts into your training regime will not only give you much better results, but it will make your workouts much more exciting! Always try to switch out your workouts and the order you do them in, as your muscles do get used to the same routine day in and day out, causing a plateau.
Try to focus on these tips next time you workout, and see if they make a difference!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.