Why would you want to do a workout that doesn’t count as much as it should? You wouldn’t. You want every hard workout to count. But to do so, you need to avoid the common pitfalls that will hold you back.
Exercising is hard work, so don’t sabotage your workout with these 7 deadly sins. Upgrade your workout by avoiding these mistakes to feel less ‘meh’ and more like a Spartan warrior.
Pitfall 1: You don’t plan ahead
You plan dinner and drinks with mates, but do you plan your all-important gym sessions? After a particularly tough sweat sesh, the last thing you want to do is plan another one. However, if you don’t follow a routine and create lasting goals, it’s easier to skip sessions in favour of other plans. Create a realistic plan, book in your next workout while your on an endorphin high from your last workout, and stick to it. Momentum achieves results.
Pitfall 2: You stay in the same workout clothes
Staying in the same workout gear post-exercise is a big no-no. Your gear gets sweaty and damp clothes are what bacteria thrive on. Your sweat also breaks down into bacteria, which leads to making your clothes smell. Always opt for a sweat-wicking top that helps keep you cool and dry – cotton isn’t ideal for a tough workout.
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Pitfall 3: You skimp on snacks
You might think ‘snacks’ means unhealthy, but eating after a workout is vital for building muscle and aiding recovery. You should eat within an hour of exercising for the best results, while your metabolism is at its highest. A combination of carbs and protein help boost energy levels and replenish tired muscles. Try a protein shake, a banana, plenty of water for hydration, or peanut butter on toast.
Pitfall 4: You skip the cooldown
Stretching shouldn’t be overlooked. If you’ve put your body through an intense workout, your muscles will be starting to tighten once you’ve stopped. Post-workout stretching is essential for maximising your gains. It keeps your muscles loose, promotes blood-flow, aids recovery and helps prevent injury.
Pitfall 5: You don’t get enough sleep
Sleep and exercise are linked. The better you sleep, the better you will perform, and the more you exercise, the better you will sleep. Getting a good amount of sleep after a workout can help your body recover quicker, while being sleep deprived plays havoc with your hormones and can lead to higher levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). with hormones, increasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol and reducing muscle protein synthesis. Getting more sleep also results in the production of more growth hormones, which help fat loss.
Pitfall 6: You can’t say no to the bad snacks
While we’ve already discussed the importance of snack post-workout, you need to be snacking on the right foods. Stuffing your face with sweets, cakes and so on, can derail your hard work. All those calories you’ve just burnt will be wasted. If you have a sweet tooth and have constant cravings, try natural yoghurt and honey, or dark chocolate in favour of milk or white chocolate. You can’t out-train a bad diet so if you aren’t seeing the results you want, take a look at what you are eating. Check out our podcast on eating healthier on a budget.
Pitfall 7: You weigh yourself at the wrong time
Weighing yourself and seeing your results can be a great motivator, or demotivator if you weight yourself at the wrong time. Firstly, weighing yourself too often can be a demotivator if you don’t see constant results. Healthy weight loss is not a quick win and you can’t expect the pounds to drop off after every session. Secondly, weighing yourself in the evening is the wrong time to do it and can distort your results (especially if you’ve eaten a lot during the day). Always weigh yourself in the morning, when you get out of bed, around once a month.
There you have it, the 7 pitfalls to avoid if you want to maximise your workout and achieve your goals. Let us know what you do to stay on track and perform better.