Getting in good shape and staying that way is all about attention to detail. Picking the right running shoes and a healthy spot for Saturday dinner can be just as important as making sure you get to the gym. You have to be aware of small fitness killers that can creep into your routine and stall your progress, making all of that hard work you’ve put in less valuable. Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute trainers Adam Friedman and Jamie Eason each gives us three seemingly small things that can be fitness goal blockers.
1) The Issue: Phone stops between sets.
Texting and talking between sets leads to bad gym behavior for two reasons. One, you might end up taking more time between sets, wasting valuable gym time and letting your heart rate slip. Two, while you’re typing away, your body wants you to be hydrating and stretching to recover from the work it just put in. This can throw off the overall rhythm of your workout and put you at risk for injury.
Leave the phone in your gym bag or, if you use it as an MP3 player, put it on Do Not Disturb mode. Never rest more than a minute between sets to keep your heart rate up.
2) The Issue: The weekend.
It’s easier to stick to a diet plan during the workweek when you have a more set schedule. Once the weekend starts and your social life picks up, you might be tempted to slip, and a few drinks might cloud your judgment. Allowing yourself a cheat meal or two is fine, but you can’t outtrain an entire cheat weekend. High-calorie free-for-alls will ruin all the hard work you put in on Monday through Friday.
If this is something that happens to you, plan your cheat meals around a social event where you know you’ll be tempted, pick restaurants that have healthy choices, and alternate alcoholic drinks with club soda or water.
3) The Issue: Single-minded cardio.
Sticking to one type of cardio can allow your muscles to adapt and get too familiar with the training—so you don’t get the same results you once did. Also, you might become too passive, logging just time instead of intensity.
The Fix: Your muscles like surprises, so switch it up. Try switching machines every 10 minutes (for example, stationary bike to stairstepper to treadmill). Also, don’t forget to add in some strength training—a cardio-only regimen is bound for a plateau.
1) The Issue: Your playlist.
The gym may not be the best place to listen to smooth jazz. Choosing the wrong music can negatively impact the overall focus of your workout. It can adversely affect the rhythm and intensity of both cardiovascular and muscle-intense training.
Try syncing the rhythm of a song to the pace of your workout. This can help sustain the intensity, as well as stifle that little voice in your head that often tells you to stop. Also, try switching things up, rotating your playlist for more variation, or sharing workout playlists with your friends on Spotify.
2) The Issue: Sports drinks.
Unless you are engaged in prolonged physical activity such as a marathon or a bike ride, sports drinks can usually do more harm than good. A 16-ounce sports drink usually contains 14 grams of sugar, which is very difficult to burn off in one session at the gym.
Drink water! Aim to drink at least half of your body’s weight in ounces each day. Hydration is essential for all aspects of training.
3) The Issue: Tight grip.
This issue applies to the weight trainers out there. An overly tight grip does nothing more than strengthen your forearms and will tire you out faster when performing exercises. This can leave you exhausted at the end of an arm row, wasting energy you could be saving for a more effective session.
Simply try loosening your grip, or invest in some padded gloves and straps to help ease the tension in your hands, wrists and forearms when performing various exercises.