Getting sweaty in the gym may be fun, if you’re doing things correctly though

By Bianca Magtoto | Photo by Cyril Saulnier/Unsplash

To help you navigate your way through exercise machines and group classes, here are seven common mistakes that may be standing in the way of progress. It will not only help keep you injury-free, but you might even end up doubling the results you’re expecting to get.

1. The Longer, The Better

How many of us, myself included, have thought to ourselves, “the longer I stay here, the more calories I burn?” I remember my first few gym sessions used to take me two to three hours until a kind soul approached me and commented that I might be overexercising. Focus on quality over quantity and give your body enough time to recover in between workouts. Once you shift to this approach, you’ll begin to realize that quality workouts only take half the time and yet they yield better results. So go and take that intense 30-minute workout, and save your two hours for a movie date instead.

2. Missing the Refueling Station

“I just finished a good 30-minute workout. I won’t eat so I don’t gain back the calories I just lost!”

I really believe that abs are made in the kitchen. Achieving an ideal physique is 20 percent exercise and 80 percent nutrition. Your workouts are completely of little to no value if you don’t complement them with proper food. Don’t skip a meal after an intense workout either because your body needs to refuel after it has burned so much. Timing is also important. You have a window of 30 minutes up to two hours after a workout to give your body the right fuel it needs for optimal recovery. A good post workout meal has a mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and greens. Don’t forget to get rid of, or at least lessen, your sugar intake.

3. Too Lazy for Warm-ups

Warm-ups aren’t just for avoiding muscle pain after a workout but also for avoiding overuse injuries that you might not be expecting in the future. Trust me, it’s not worth the risk.

4. Oscar, the Slouch

Whether you’re lifting weights or doing sit-ups, proper posture is vital. It not only helps you prevent bone problems, but it also makes your workout effective. Sometimes, we get used to doing a certain workout that we forget to do it with proper posture. The next time you hit the gym, remind yourself every minute to not slouch and see how more effective your workout becomes.

 5. Ditching Your Three-character Best Friend: H20

Plain old water will do instead of commercially available energy and/or sports drinks. Although they are recommended during intense and long physical activities, you’ll just end up filling your body with excess sugar for every bottle you chug into your system. Remember to always hydrate–inside and outside the gym.

 6. Being Anti-social

We all have times when we just want to be left in peace when we’re at the gym, but consider taking the time to socialize. Sometimes, talking to your fellow gym rats can provide you new knowledge and practical tips, which you probably wouldn’t know if you’re too lazy to research. Talking to others and knowing their stories will also make you realize that you’re not alone in your journey. A lot of people are experiencing your struggles too. But don’t forget to do due diligence when someone shares a tip.  There are tons of workout myths and it’s your responsibility to decide which ones are backed by science and which ones are not.

7. Keeping the Same Lifestyle

Spend the same amount of time to focus on what you do outside the gym. If you’re a pro inside a fitness center, then that’s great. But did you make an effort to also improve your overall lifestyle? Do you get at least eight hours of sleep? Have you been spending your regular night-outs with heavy booze with friends? Are you still not eating the right meals? If your answer is no, then it’s time to rethink your strategy.