We all want to get in shape. It doesn’t matter whether you just want to be healthy or have decided you need to fit into a sweater so small it could be a tea cozy because of media pressure – the fact remains that the 21st century has seen something of a boom in people interested in being fit. Starting out seems like a no-brainer. You just go out and start running, lifting, or whatever it is you have the most handy, right? What could go wrong?
Well, as it turns out, working out is a skill just like anything else, and much like everything requiring time and effort to master, there is a lot of potential for mistakes along the way,. Not only that, but these mistakes can range from completely harmless to even fatal. That might sound dramatic, but we’re talking about an activity that potentially puts a strain on your body while also getting out into the wild or just around a lot of very heavy equipment, and that’s just asking for trouble. Here are seven of the worst mistakes you probably make during training, along with changes you can make to your training regime to get jacked in a safe, sane manner.
#1 You bring a knife to a gunfight
It’s surprising how many people just try to get into a workout without actually thinking for a second what they need to do to make it happen. Needless to say, not equipping yourself properly can not only hinder your results, but also downright leave you injured. Take running for example – you need to consider the fact that prancing around the concrete for extended periods of time will probably be bad news for your joints in the long run, so proper running shoes that give you that spring in your step can really come a long way in reducing any injuries, both major and minor. Of course, proper running shoes can be quite the investment, but so can treating broken knees at the hospital, so you win some, you lose some.
#2 You neglect your diet
Now look, we all know how tempting it is to treat yourself after a workout. After doing so many squats that you’re ready to pass out, you just deserve that quadruple cheeseburger, it only feels right. Well, sure, go on ahead – just keep in mind that you’re throwing away all those blood, sweat and tears that you’ve just leaked gallons of. A good physique starts in the kitchen, so don’t ignore your diet. The best thing you can do is prepare your own foods, adjusting your menu to the nutrients you need the most at a given time. Want to boost your performance with some supplements? Go for it, but make sure to take a look at supplement reviews online before spending money on anything.
#3 You start working out tired
It turns out sleep is pretty dang important. It recharges your batteries, both in the physical and mental sense, so you’re ready to go and take in more knowledge and perform better at the gym. Make every day a peak performance day and simply make sure that you get a healthy, stable amount of sleep every day.
#4 You have no idea what you’re trying to achieve
So you might go to the gym every day, but what’s even the point if you don’t know why you’re there? Goals should be the very underlying foundation of your training, what you build your workout program around. The best way to boost your motivation and make your workouts easier to get through is employing the SMART system – making your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Now get to it and watch your motivation soar!
#5 You’re sitting down when you should be feeling the burn
Machines seem like the easy way out when it comes to building muscle. They’re really now – if you really want to see any sort of gains – or any results whatsoever – you need to get ready to lift some actual weights. Don’t be scared to approach dumbbells – they’re there to help you, not hurt you (though they will hurt you if you’re not careful). If you’re still feeling intimidated, why not have a workout buddy help you out?
#6 You’re just plain lazy
As a species, humans try to do everything with the least amount of effort possible. Paradoxically, if you want to achieve anything, you really have to work for it. So if your workout doesn’t leave you sweating, heaving, and praying for mercy, that means you’re doing something wrong. Most likely, you’re just not working hard enough. Want to fix that quick? Do everything as quick and intensely as you can. You’ll be winded in no time!
#7 You’re feeling self-conscious, which leads to training neglect
We’ve all been there – you get into a gym and it’s filled with all these meatheads that make it feel like there’s no point in trying. First of all, you don’t need to have biceps the size of melons in order to feel good in your body – as stated before, you should have your own goals. What you do need to do, however, is realize that all those people know how it is, they are very dedicated to perfecting their bodies and as a consequence, they are living encyclopedias of knowledge on the subject. So instead of viewing them as threats or reasons to feel bad about yourself, ask for help, questions, and pointers. You’ll definitely get a leg up on your training and who knows – you might even make a friend.