April 19, 2021

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There's nothing like our health

7 serious fitness mistakes a trainer is begging you to stop making

4 min read
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You’ve been working out for a while but you aren’t seeing the results you want. It’s a common and frustrating scenario. Maybe you’re even at the point where you’re wondering if it’s worth continuing to put in work. 

If you’re relatively new to fitness, you may be making a common fitness mistake, inadvertently hindering your own progress. Luckily, small tweaks to your workout routine can yield big changes. Keep reading to find out if you’re making one of these workout mistakes trainers hate to see — some of these may surprise you.

Read more: The best home exercise equipment to buy in 2021

1. Working out too much

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Don’t listen to the fitness bros who tell you to work out every single day. Many people who fall into this trap end up with injuries or fitness burnout. They later realize that the best thing they could’ve done for themselves was to work out less. 

Working out too much can lead to overtraining syndrome, especially if you don’t sleep, eat or recover enough to support your level of activity. Fail to take rest days and you’ll suffer consequences such as lack of motivation, fatigue, persistent soreness and diminishing returns. 

2. Only doing cardio 

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Cardio exercise works wonders on the heart and lungs. Running, walking, hiking, biking and other forms of cardio all improve your aerobic endurance and the efficiency of your cardiovascular system. 

However, if your workout routine consists only of cardio exercise, you’re missing out on the immense benefits of resistance training. Strength training builds muscle and strength, as well as coordination, balance and stability. It can help you become more in tune with your body and increase your confidence. 

Oh, and resistance training doesn’t just mean weightlifting. Resistance training also includes plyometric exercise, bodyweight training and resistance band workouts.

Read more: How to improve your exercise endurance

3. Cutting out carbs 

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If you want to get strong or build muscle, don’t eliminate carbs from your diet. Of all the macronutrients, your body processes carbohydrates most efficiently, and they provide quick energy for your muscles during workouts. 

When you eat carbs before a workout, you can maximize your muscle glycogen stores, which is where your body gets energy to complete arduous tasks. Carbohydrates also help your body facilitate the repair and recovery process after workouts, so think twice about ditching rice and pasta. 

4. Working out on no sleep

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Stop feeling guilty about pressing snooze instead of working out. If you didn’t get enough sleep, intense exercise is only going to add to your body’s stress. Sleeping may be just what you need

Gentle workouts, such as walking or yoga, are restorative and can help you much more than a HIIT workout can after a night of poor sleep. 

Obviously, there are some caveats here. Skipping workouts even when you’re well-rested is a different story and will ultimately slow your progress.

Read more: This is the best time of day to exercise, backed by science

5. Stacking up on supplements

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You’re probably wasting your money on supplements. 

Supplements have their place, for sure — if you eat a nutrient-dense diet and still have a nutrient deficiency, supplements can fill crucial gaps in your diet. 

Some supplements, such as protein powder, can also make it easier to hit particular nutrient targets each day. But again, this is only the case if you already aim to eat healthy and find it difficult to get enough of certain nutrients through your diet. 

In other words, stacking up on supplements while eating a diet full of highly processed foods won’t give you the results you’re after. Food first, supplements second. 

6. Mistaking an injury for soreness

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The fitness hustle bros who tell you to work out even if you only got two hours of sleep are the same ones who say “no pain, no gain.” 

If you feel pain that doesn’t feel like regular muscle soreness, stop exercising and ask a professional — whether that’s a corrective exercise specialist, a physical therapist, a chiropractor or a physician — for help. It’s not safe or beneficial to exercise through pain. 

Learning to tell the difference between soreness and pain is critical, although even extreme soreness is a good reason to take a rest day (or a couple). 

7. Neglecting flexibility and mobility

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Flexibility and mobility are prerequisites to strength. If you can’t move your body through its proper ranges of motion, you have no reason to load a barbell and attempt a heavy lift — it’s just not safe. This is especially true for compound movements such as squats, deadlifts and overhead presses. 

Instead, work on your flexibility and mobility while practicing movements with lighter weights. For example, you can try half squats with an empty barbell while simultaneously working toward full squat depth with mobility exercises. 

Eventually, you’ll achieve adequate range of motion and be able to safely perform the movements you want to do with heavier weights. You might feel frustrated right now, but Future You will thank you for learning to move safely and correctly!

Read more: The stretches fitness trainers say you should never do

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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