Saturday, January 28, 2012

Common Workout Mistakes: Getting Ahead Before You Have the Chance to Get Behind by James Druman

Over the years I have seen many people come and go at the gym through both my personal training years and just observing other members at the gym who were set on getting in great shape but somehow missing the point. The people who fail to meet their personal goals and end up wasting their money usually follow the same trends. They often do the same things wrong and end up getting the same results, which is, of course, exactly what you want to avoid.

That's one of the benefits of having a personal trainer; a good one will keep you on track and let you know where you are going wrong. The problem is that personal training sessions are quite expensive, and the majority of people think simply showing up is enough. So, if you decide to workout on your own without any real guidance, let me tell you about what I've learned so you get off to a good start. These are the workout mistakes that I tell all my training students are critical to their success.

1) The "I'm to smart to keep a journal" Workout Mistake

There is a saying that I always tell my training students the first day we get together. That saying is, "anything that can be tracked can be improved upon." This simply means that if you are keeping track of your routine and writing down your results, you will always know how to improve your results.

Most people simply walk around the gym blind. The majority don't even know what exercises they are going to do that day. They simply are doomed to failure.

There are two things that not keeping a workout log leads to. The first is people never remember exactly how much weight they were pushing. So they end up not increasing their resistance and just settling for the same weight every week. The second is since people don't know what they are going to do, they end up letting themselves off to easy or pushing themselves to hard.

If you have a schedule written down and you know that it is going to achieve results, then you also know that on leg day you need to do legs, not simply say "nah, not today." You are never going to get in great shape by saying "nah, not today." Period.

2) The "I'm trying to lose weight" Workout Mistake

I am all for people trying to lose weight, but if you are not eating immediately after a workout session you are doing your body a grave injustice. The post workout meal is simply the most important of the day. It doesn't matter if you are trying to lose weight or bulk up. This meal really should never be missed.

There is a short window of opportunity immediately following your workouts, where the muscles are screaming for nourishment. The body can turn a protein shake into more calorie burning muscles at this time more than any other time of the day.

3) The "These machines are more comfortable" Workout Mistake

The fact of the matter is that machines are more comfortable because they are easier and don't build muscle effectively. I heard someone say once that barbells are king and dumbbells are queen of muscle building.

So let's face it—you are not going to build muscle on those machines. Your body needs to focus on compound movements. Movements like squats and deadlifts for the lower body and overhead presses and bench press for the upper body. I know there may be a machine for these as well, but don't use them. Use the free weights, the extra calories that you burn and the extra muscle fibres that are stimulated are worth the extra effort.

4) The "I'll just do it tomorrow" Workout Mistake

I said it a bit earlier, when its leg day, train your legs. This is simply a must for a successful body transformation. By skipping workouts and either saying you will do it tomorrow or just not doing it at all, you are taking steps backwards.

When you are working out, you always want to be focusing on attaining your next goal. Always taking small steps forward. Being consistent is one of the surest ways of attaining your goals.

Not being consistent is probably the most common reason people quit the gym altogether. Skipping workouts will eventually become more of a habit than anything, and sooner or later you will just end up not going at all.

These common workout mistakes are by far the biggest downfall to most people in the gym. As you can see by the list, we did not even touch on any actual training techniques--other than using free weights instead of machines. Simply getting into the correct frame of mind is the single best thing you can do.

By being in the right frame of mind, you will be constantly pushing your body for great gains, and you will eventually hit and surpass your workout goals. Please don't allow yourself to make these common workout mistakes, and the road to ultimate fitness will be that much easier (but in a good way).