We all want to make sure we’re getting the most out of a workout. 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 early on can hamper your long-term exercise habit. Pushing yourself too much can leave you feeling extremely sore, and tired and cause injury. Easy does it. A great rule of thumb is to aim for 10% progression each week. This 10% can be more time exercised, a faster pace, or increasing the reps or weight lifted.
2. Not exercising for the right reasons
Exercise can transform your sense of vitality and well-being, regardless of your life stage and health status. There are so many physical, mental, and social health benefits of being active yet somehow so much exercise messaging centres on weight loss. Simply put, exercise is not helpful for weight loss. You cannot out-train a bad diet. Think about all the things exercise can deliver – including fun! If you pick something you enjoy – you are more likely to stick with it. Plus, you’ll sleep and feel better, and it can be a great stress reliever.
3. Work smarter, not harder
We are all time poor! Choose exercises wisely and opt for those that use large muscle groups. Think squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses, and bent-over rows to name a few. Engaging larger muscle groups rather than small muscle groups not only increases your strength across more muscle groups in one exercise but delivers added cardiovascular benefits by getting your heart rate up more quickly and can save you time.
4. Doing things that aren’t 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 work best for you. If you have joint pain or mobility issues – being on a bike, or hitting the pool will be more comfortable on your body than long walks or jogging. The best recipe for regular exercise is finding something you enjoy doing, and that’s comfortable for your body.
5. Focusing on outcomes too much
Good exercise habits, much like good nutrition, are an everyday process. Exercise is not a means to an end, and your goals must reflect this. You are much more likely to exercise consistently if you commit to several times to be active each week. When you focus too much on an outcome goal, say you wanted to jog 5km in 35 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 include one strength session, you are more likely to stick with it. Focus on the process, not the outcome.
6. 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 the best performance. 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 protein-rich foods, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats will help restore your muscles and enhance your recovery.
7. Not seeing yourself as an active person
Your mindset is important. 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.
“I am an active person”. Often, the only person holding you back from becoming more fit… is you! Get cracking, you can do this!