Throughout my own life I have made nearly every exercise mistake in the book. Making these failures and learning from them makes you a better athlete. However, learning from other people’s mistakes makes you smarter. Here are the 6 biggest mistakes I’ve made before, and nearly everyone will make in their lifetime.
Doing Exercise You Don’t Enjoy
I used to think that to be fit or to look a certain way I had to do this or that particular exercise. I was wrong, and my motivation suffered as a result. Working out should make you happy. You should get excited abut the thought of your workout. If you’re always dreading tomorrow’s workout, how do you expect this healthy habit to last a lifetime? Find physical activity you enjoy and love and you will never exercise a day in your life.
Doing Too Much Exercise
Exercise is great, so more is better – right? Wrong. I’ve tried to out-exercise a bad diet in the past and have failed miserably every time. The amount of exercise needed to “cancel” out a bad meal is enormous. In addition, it has always lead to an injury. It certainly is possible to do hours of intense exercise a day, but it’s something that has to be worked up to. For most people that want to be fit and health and look good doing it, a few intense workouts a week combined with staying active is plenty to get the job done.
Exercising Through Injuries
Even to this day I have a tough time with this one. I always seem to get an injury at the peek of my motivation. I don’t want to stop exercising – and I don’t. Dumb! As a result, I push through the pain and the injury never gets better. I go through the 5 stages of grief before I do the right thing – rest the injury. I know you don’t want to stop, but trust me, the longer you put off recovery of the injury, the longer you’re going to have to wait before you can go at full intensity. Nagging injuries are a pain in the butt.
Not Warming Up Correctly
Throughout school I was taught to warm up properly by doing static stretches. Static stretches are stretches you hold for a period of time. For example, bending over and touching your toes and holding for 10 seconds. Later in life I found out that this did little for improving muscular performance or reducing injuries. Instead, dynamic stretching is where it’s at. Dynamic stretching produces significantly greater performance when compared to static stretching protocols .
Thinking You Need to Separate Strength and Cardio Training
More and more people are discovering the benefits of high-intensity interval training. I used to come from a bodybuilding background where strength training and cardio were two separate workouts. This training became so popularized that people started to forget that cardio is simply cardiovascular training. Cardiovascular training can also be accomplished at the same time as strength training. You just need to push the intensity of your workouts. HIIT is a great way to do this.
Working Out Your Ego Instead of Your Muscles
In my younger lifting career, I wouldn’t be caught dead doing an exercise that didn’t have a significant amount of weight on the bar. I was the king of the quarter squat. But boy did my ego feel good. Unfortunately, this came at the expense of muscle growth. Today, this is still one of the biggest exercise mistakes I see in the gym. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Work out with a weight that allows you to use proper form and move through the full range of motion. If you need an ego stroking, there are better ways.
Are you or have you been guilty of making these same mistakes? What mistakes have you made that aren’t on the list?