By Amy McAravey
Bad gym habits. We all have them and we all don’t like to admit that they are there. But, let’s just own our bad habits and fix them!
1. Static Stretching
Ahhh, back to the good old P.E. days of forward bends, sit-and-reach, and cross body stretching. While these have their benefits, on the whole, for working out, you should incorporate a majority of dynamic stretches. Examples of these would be walking lunges, high knee walking, arm circles, Frankenstein’s, and so on.
Doing dynamic stretches has numerous benefits. Not only do they prep your body for the dynamic movements of weightlifting or cardio, it will also prevent muscles from becoming stagnant which can affect muscle performance during your workout.
In theory, this sounds like a great idea, doing two exercises at once over just one must be helping my body right?! Wrong! This idea can actually slow your fitness progress down because you aren’t allowing your body to truly hone in on the area you are trying to improve. Because you are not solely focusing on one exercise, it is harder to push yourself which in turn makes it more difficult to see any progress towards your fitness and health goals.
So, instead of an entire workout of doing two exercises at the same time, such as doing leg lifts and bicep curls at the same time, try to make the majority of your workouts single exercises to really allow yourself to focus and be pushed.
3. “I’m too sore today”
Out of all the things you can tell yourself, this is probably the WORST thing you can do/say for your body and goals. Soreness can be linked to a lot of things, but is mostly related to using your muscles effectively which is a good thing. To counteract that feeling, go to the gym! By even doing a short 15-20-minute light workout, it will help flush out the lactic acid that is just sitting in your muscles. Lactic acid is primarily responsible for the soreness that you feel after a workout.
By flushing it out through a short workout, you will actually feel a whole lot better and will be able to stay on track for your fitness goals.
4. “No pain, no gain”
I absolutely hate this phrase. Let me tell you the biggest secret in fitness.
PAIN DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE DOING IT RIGHT!
There is a very large distinction between soreness and pain. Your body perceives these very differently and for a good reason. While working out or participating in sports, any pain you experience is never a good thing. EVER. If you are experiencing pain, that is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. If it lasts more than a day or two, you may be experiencing a sports injury which is not something to take lightly.
Don’t ever brush something off that is related to your health as something lesser. Your health is the most important thing in the world and should be treated that way.
5. Same Routine
Human nature likes routine and familiarity. However, for gaining strength and achieving more permanent results, doing the same gym routine makes it harder to attain results. To get the best results, vary your type, intensity, and style of your workouts.
Have a plan to do a 30-minute cardio workout one day, and a 30-minute weight lifting routine another, also remember to vary the sections of your body that you are working out to solidify the variance of your workout.
By doing this, you will be keeping your workout interesting, you will be able to see results easier and will keep yourself well-rounded in your athleticism.
6. Working Out Hungry
I love food, as do most people, but I know that there are times I forget to eat. I know! The horror! But the worst times when I would forget to eat is when I was about to go workout. While working out hungry may burn more fat calories in the moment, it opens you up to the more negative effects than positive ones.
Exercising requires energy. You get energy through what you eat, that is the truth about it.
When you work out hungry your quality of exertion goes down, you can run the risk of injuries due to dizziness and lack of focus, you will most likely LOSE muscle mass which will slow your metabolism, and you just won’t have the energy to do the workout you want to do.
I am currently a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho studying exercise physiology with an emphasis in athletic training. I am originally from Portland, Oregon where I grew up. I come from a large family where all five of my brothers and I have either retired from competitive swimming or are still involved in the sport in some capacity. I started swimming at age seven when I begged my mom to let me swim with my brothers instead of do ballet, and I have loved it ever since. After a lot of struggles with injuries over the course of my swimming career, I decided to take a more sideline approach to staying in the sport in the position of a novice swim coach and dryland coach for my childhood swim team.
I hope to continue to let my knowledge and experience help the next generation of great athletes.