With our 12+ years experience of helping people improve their mindsets, lifestyles, and body shapes, we have seen many many times the first-hand the impact of ‘going in too hard too soon’!
Take your own fitness journey day by day, do not put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you’re not walking or living their journey!
We have broken down a couple of our most beneficial habits/advisories for you, ensuring that you obtain the safest, healthiest, and most long-lasting results.
Back to basics
Are you ‘running’ before you can walk?!
An ethos that we are very passionate about and practise is that no matter how long you have been exercising, no matter how much experience you believe that you have, it is so so important not to neglect the basics of exercising.
Let me tell you! This is one of the biggest issues in gyms everywhere. More often than not, people (including some Personal Trainers) are doing their exercises with bad technique, increasing risk of injury and long-term niggles, aches and pains.
Your average person buys a gym membership and is often left to their own devices to figure out what to do on their own. Add this to modern day desk posture and its accompanying muscle imbalances, and you have a recipe for disaster. Most people are doing just a movement, it is so important to understand which muscles are required when performing the exercise and how to engage them. Seek out some help and learn proper training technique if you think you’re in this boat. Not only will this help with your goal you’ll reap the rewards forever.
When strength training, the speed in which you perform the exercise is so so important.
Naturally people want to go very quickly when performing repetitions, this actually just uses momentum, and becomes more of cardiovascular exercise again, defeating the point of the object!
Your focus should be on slowing your repetitions down, approx three seconds on the upward movement (concentric), three seconds on the downward movement (eccentric) this will help increase muscular strength & stability and is a good place to start, you will find the muscle tires a lot more quickly, but ultimately this is the aim!
Lifting too heavy too soon!
Form over ego alllll day long! Focus on what you can comfortably lift not what he or she can lift.You may be new to strength training, they could have been exercising for 10+ years.
Follow the above mantra, technique, tempo, muscle mind connection and safety!!
Slow and steady definitely wins the race, over time increments will increase gradually, but don’t make that your main focus;
Put your focus in to recovery, and recuperation (nutrition and sleep) that will determine what progress you actually make in the gym!
Not warming up properly
Given the fact that most people sit at a desk all day, a proper warm up is essential for optimising gym performance and safety. Jumping on a bike or treadmill for 5-10 minutes is not the best warm up, and you’re leaving a lot on the table if that’s your go-to.
A proper warm up should aim to:
- Mobilise your ‘tight’ areas like hips, thoracic spine, shoulders, ankles
- Activate important and often inhibited muscles like your gluteus (your butt)
- Increase core temperature
- Excite the nervous and hormonal systems.
While this deserves a blog all to itself, running through a more dynamic sequence of various movements (basically doing the exercise with little resistance weight) dynamic stretches especially if you have tight hamstrings, this will better prepare your body for a great session and help you maintain your movement quality.
Poor exercise selection
It is very common to see people show up to the gym and just randomly jump from one machine to the next, or pick an arbitrary sequence of exercises with no rhyme or reason. Exercises are tools that can help us achieve a goal, so it’s important we choose the right tool for the job. For example a bicep curls should not take up half of your training session if your goal is fat loss.
We recommend you focus instead on compound strength exercises, these are exercises which use multiple muscle groups at the same time, think of them as BIG movements. Squats, deadlifts, push ups, lunges, chip ups, rows and variations of these exercises should be the staple of your strength training workouts.
These exercises give you the biggest bang for your money so to speak and will give you the best results. Save all the smaller isolation exercises for the end, or many time-poor people could even scrap them altogether and replace them with these bigger lifts.
Right, here’s another point which deserves its own article. Incorrect or dysfunctional breathing is a common issue for many people in these modern day, highly stressful times. Instead of ‘belly’ breathing using our diaphragm, many people develop shallow chest breathing and mouth breathing. Mouth breathing means you’re inhaling through the mouth instead of through the nose.
Incorrect breathing can lead to increased stress, blood pressure, anxiety, muscular tightness, compromised cardiovascular output, headaches and it will hinder your ability to train hard and lose body fat. When exercising and getting your heart rate up, focus on inhaling through the nose (your belly should inflate as you do so) and exhaling through your mouth. Usually inhaling on the eccentric phase of the exercise and exhaling on the concentric phase.
You are focusing purely on calorie counting.
Lots of people, choose to smash copious of workouts purely based on how many calories they ‘burn.’
This means they are doing more aggressive high impact cardio than they are strength training.
There are a several massive red flags with this!!
First, during your aggressive cardio sweat sesh, you aren’t burning through stored fat — you’re burning and breaking down hard earned muscle, which ultimately lowers your metabolism & shapeless!!
So if your goal is to lose fat, it is ultimately quality over quantity when it comes to the exercise!!
More strength training, more steady state walking / cycling & less aggressive cardiovascular.
Secondly, if you have not got a surplus of good quality calories inc complex carbohydrates in your diet, and you continue to catabolise from calorie counting (breakdown muscle tissue)
your immune system & central nervous system become weak, you then become prone to many common illnesses & viruses, this affects your progress, motivation, and can often lead you to taking steps backwards in your results!
Lastly, we cannot recommend enough that you fuel your body, immune system, and work out correctly with a balanced nutrition plan.
We have been doing this for over 11 years with our body shaping clients.
By giving the body an adequate amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and hydration it will ensure that you achieve the safest, healthiest and long-lasting body shaping and fat loss results.
Do your upmost best to fight the urge to count calories, although social media has become saturated with this style of ‘flexible eating’!
We are all doing the best that we can, if you have a bad day or ‘fall off’, put your focus into getting back into your routine and working on yourself for your mental and physical future selfs happiness!
Thanks for reading
Team Absolutely Fit.