6 common mistakes you’re probably making when exercising
These simple exercise mistakes could be holding you back from reaching your goals.
Whether you love it or hate it, we all want to make sure we’re getting the most out of a work out. Exercise Physiologist, Wellness Coach and Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner, Bell Silverthorne talks about some common mistakes that might be impacting your workout and sabotaging your fitness goals, and how you can fix them.
1. Pushing yourself too hard, too early
If the last time you were regularly active was playing mixed social netball in 1996, then going too hard in your first week back to exercising is not ideal. Even with all the zeal and motivation you have summoned. It will leave you feeling extremely sore, tired and frustrated, and you can burn out. Easy does it. A great rule of thumb is aiming for 10% progression each week regardless of your gym workout plan or walking regime. If you walk for 20 minutes, three times a week, next week aim for 22 minutes or try and up the intensity more if you’re time limited.
2. Thinking of exercise as only a weight loss tool
Most weight loss comes from what you eat, you can never out train a bad diet. If you think exercise is only about losing weight, you’re missing out! Exercise tends to be more helpful for maintaining weight. Rather than losing weight. Exercise is so much more than weight maintenance though! If you pick something you enjoy – you have fun. Plus, you’ll sleep and feel better, and it’s a great stress-reliever. I like to think of exercise as a free mood-booster. I always feel invigorated after a nice brisk walk and love exploring different podcasts which opens up my mind to something completely different.
3. Doing things which don’t make you comfortable
Set yourself up for success. If you’re more of a private person, enrolling in a group gym fitness class is probably not going to keep you going back for more. If you have joint pain, or mobility issues – being on a bike, or hitting the pool will be more comfortable than long walks or jogging. The best recipe for regular exercise is finding something you enjoy doing, and that’s comfortable for your body.
4. Focusing on outcomes too much
Good exercise habits, much like good nutrition, is an everyday process, not a means to an end, and your goals must reflect this. People are much more likely to be long term exercisers if they make achievable goals relating to the number of times to exercise each week. For example, if you have a goal to be able to walk 5km in 45 minutes, what are you going to do when you reach it? Kick back and rest on your laurels? If you say to yourself, I’m going to exercise 3 times per week, for 45 minutes each time, and do at least one strength session, you are more likely to stick with it. Focus on the process, not the outcome.
5. Not fuelling yourself properly
If you’re expecting your body to perform at its best, you have to fuel it. Having a healthy pre-workout meal or snack two hours before exercise is ideal for best performance. Pick something that aligns to the type of activity you’re doing. If you can have a snack in the hour after exercising, it’s going to keep you better satiated and less likely to overeat at your next meal. Eating a good diet with protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats will help restore your muscles and enhance your recovery.
6. Not seeing yourself as ‘sporty’
It doesn’t matter if your workout gear is a daggy old shirt, with your favourite shorts complete with a few holes in them. Or whether you have the latest active wear, you need to change your mindset to “I am an active person”. The only person holding you back from becoming more fit is you. Being active is something we all need to do routinely, just like brushing your teeth. Re-calibrate your sense of identity, you don’t need to see yourself as a super athlete, but you do need to believe that you can move, every day. We all have to start somewhere.
Why Lite n’ Easy?
Bell Silverthorne is an exercise physiologist, with a passion for every day Australians to be that little bit healthier, whether it be sleep better, exercise more, eat more fruit and veggies each day or doing your best to maintain a good head space. Bell is a huge advocate of lifestyle medicine – harnessing your everyday lifestyle habits to help prevent, manage or even reverse chronic disease.