Mistakes to avoid at the gym, how to optimize results and achieve fitness goals

(Photo: Shutterstock)
AMMAN — Starting at the gym can be daunting. Developing a new routine and trying to understand gym culture can make things all the more difficult.اضافة اعلان

On top of the mental pressure, there are mistakes commonly made by beginners that can negatively affect their experience.

In order to help avoid these common errors, we have taken the liberty of compiling some of the most common ones and their solutions

Not taking care of yourself outside of the gym

What you do outside the gym can be just as important as what you do inside the gym. First and foremost is nutrition. Your body needs fuel and nourishment to build, replenish, and provide energy.

Depending on what your focus is at the gym, your diet at home should reflect that. 

Personal trainers at your local gym will sit with you and provide a meal plan tailored to your goals. Generally, if you are looking to increase muscle mass through weightlifting, you will need to increase your protein intake.

This may come in the form of protein supplements that supply your body with the amino acids it needs to build muscles. 

People looking to lose weight and burn fat may turn to fat burning supplements and different kinds of diets. Carbs are macronutrients that are broken down into sugar to be used as energy in the body.

There are simple carbs, which break down quickly in the body, and complex carbs, which take longer to break down. Complex carbs are considered better for weight loss as it helps maintain a stable blood sugar level needed to perform exercises and daily tasks. 

As for those looking to improve their cardiovascular health, they may need more carbs depending on the intensity of their regimen.

The higher the intensity, the more sugar or fuel the body will need to burn in order to function. It is always strongly recommended to discuss your fitness diet with your personal trainer.

The second most important aspect of care outside of the gym is hydration. Water is important for general health as well as for hydration before, during, and after exercising.

At rest, our bodies constantly lose water. Whether through urination, perspiration, or respiration, we lose approximately 2.5 to 3 liters of water daily. When exercising, the amount of water lost is significantly higher. 

The long-standing recommendation has been eight glasses of water a day, although some argue that our bodies know when we need water to drink to satisfy our thirst, which is enough.

Regardless, makes sure water is readily available throughout the day, carry a water bottle to work, to school, around the house, but especially to the gym. 

Some drinks may include electrolytes to replenish those your body loses. Electrolytes are salts like sodium, potassium, and calcium. These electrolytes are essential for normal bodily function.

Replenishing them during or after working out may help reduce recovery time. Electrolytes can be found in many foods but also in drinks such as juices or Gatorade. 

The third most important aspect is sleep. Sleep is when your body repairs any damage to the body incurred throughout the day. High impact exercises and weightlifting increases the frequency of normal muscle fiber tears and microfractures in bones.

As such, it is all the more important to sleep regularly and for a long enough period, eight hours on average, in order to heal and reduce recovery time.

Warming up before exercising

Warming up prior to working out has numerous benefits but, more importantly, not doing so may lead to injury. Regardless of the type of exercise you do at the gym it is important to warm your muscles up.

Most commonly, this may take the form of stretches. Stretching will help improve the elasticity of your muscles and the range of motion in the joints. High impact exercises such as running benefit the most from stretches. 

(Photos: Unsplash)

There are also dynamic warmups that will deliver the same benefit as stretching, but to a lesser degree, with the added benefit of increasing blood circulation to muscles. Dynamic warmups are simply stretches that include some form of movement.

People will argue over which method is best but the two in conjunction may give the most benefit. Other warmups may include movements with light weights (1kg), or a brisk walk or jog on the treadmill for five minutes. Speak to your trainer if you need help with your warmups, and to know which is best for your training.

Train consistently 

The most important rule for gym goers is consistency. Not having a fitness routine is one of the biggest mistakes when it comes to working out.

You may be eager to try all the machines thinking that training all your muscles at once will give you the best results. This can quickly tire you out and discourage you after some time has gone by and you see only minimal results. 

(Photos: Unsplash)

To optimize results, set routine and stick to it, as consistency yields the best results. Many trainers suggest working out specific muscle groups each day while making sure to include all your muscles throughout the week.

Consistency also leads to a healthier gym mindset. Skipping too many workouts can quickly lead to demotivation. If you are new to the gym, make sure you stick with your designated schedule even if it’s hard, it gets easier over time as long as you push through.

Don’t get too comfortable  

In addition to consistency, it is important to keep challenging yourself. Your body quickly adapts to doing certain exercises over time and that is when you stop seeing results. It is recommended that you increase the difficulty of your exercises every two weeks. 

For example, you can increase the speed on the treadmill or raise the incline. When using weights, try adding weights periodically to challenge yourself and optimize results. You can even change an exercise entirely to one that target the same muscle group. 

Be sure to always monitor your progress so that you can fix any mistakes you may be making along the way. As you progress, you will also become more confident and more willing to challenge yourself and your body and increase the difficulty of your workout.

The best way to reach your fitness goals is to stay consistent and challenge yourself. Stay motivated and in no time you will start to see the results that you desire.

Read more Lifestyle