10 Most Common Workout Mistakes
By Kelli Calabrese MS, CSCS, ACE
Although regular exercise is good for body and soul, diving head first into an
advanced exercise program is not encouraged. It can even be dangerous if you
donít avoid some Common Workout Mistakes.
If you're a beginner, your body isnít prepared for the types of strains exercise
can place on it. As a result, engaging in an exercise program with little
foresight and planning can lead to burnout, frustration and injury.
If you want to maximise your workout, it's going to take a combination of
motivation and the correct information. So let's review the 10 most Common
Workout Mistakes that can be easily avoided.
1. Skipping the warm-up. Muscles need time to adjust to the demands placed on
them during exercise. Before hitting the gym or jumping into your regular cardio
workout, you should take a few minutes to gently walk, cycle or whatever you
choose to prepare the body for heavier activity. Breaking a light sweat will get
your blood pumping, warm up muscles and ligaments, greatly reduce your risk of
injury and increase the effectiveness of your workout.
2. Skipping the cool-down. Due to time constraints, many people head straight to
the showers after their last repetition or as soon as the timer on the treadmill
dings. Instead, take a few minutes to lower your heart rate close to its resting
rate. This will reduce your risk of injury and give you a few minutes to
incorporate some relaxation into your routine.
3. Not stretching. Flexible muscles are far less likely to be pulled than tight
ones. Stretch before a heavy workout or after your workout as a warm-down. Never
stretch a muscle without warming up first to reduce your risk of injury even
further. Regular stretching greatly increases your flexibility.
4. Lifting too much too fast. Placing demands your muscles are not prepared to
handle is the best way to injure yourself. Gradual, progressive resistance is a
far more effective and safe way to increase muscle strength. You should select a
weight that allows you to do 10Ė15 repetitions. If you canít do 10 reps, the
weight is too heavy. If you can easily do 15, then increase the weight by five
5. Using too light a resistance. If you are doing over 15 reps or have not
increased your resistance in over two weeks, it is time to progress. If you want
to improve, you have to keep your muscles stimulated. If you continue to do the
same weights with high reps, you will maintain your current physique and not
6. Being a Weekend Warrior. The Common Workout Mistakes of the person who tries
to fit a week's worth of exercise into a Saturday afternoon! For weight loss,
it's more effective to sustain a moderate workout for longer periods of time
than to exercise intensely for only a few minutes. For others, the expectation
that a workout must be intense to be effective can lead to burnout or injury
while others abandon their training altogether.
7. Waiting until you are thirsty to drink. Only camels can go without water! For
the rest of us it's a necessity! Donít wait until you feel thirsty because you
are already dehydrated at that point. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and
after your workout.
8. Using bad form. It's much more effective to choose a lower level, speed or
weight and perform the exercise properly than it is to go too fast or too heavy
and use poor form and momentum. Lower the intensity to the point at which you
can maintain good posture. An example of poor form would be leaning on the
Stairmaster handrails or swinging the dumbbells during a bicep curl.
9. Resting too much. While it's true you don't want to overdo it, taking too
much time in between exercises can decrease the training benefits and set you up
for injury. Allow for about 30 seconds between toning exercises -- which is
usually just enough time to move to the next station and set up. You should
exercise intensely enough to work up a light sweat, get your heart beating and
feel a sense of satisfaction for having completed your workout.
10. More is better. It's not necessary to spend over an hour doing
cardiovascular exercise. Studies show that the risk of injury outweighs the
benefits after 60 minutes. Sessions of around 45 minutes most days of the week
are recommended for weight loss.
Remember, exercise is only one link to a complete program of well-being. Mental,
spiritual and psychological "workouts" are just as important. Your body will
repay you! The only thing left is to just do it... safely.
Kelli Calabrese MS, CSCS, 2004 Personal Trainer of the Year - Online Training.
Kelli is a 20 year fitness industry leader. She has 3 fitness related degrees
and 24 Fitness, Nutrition and Lifestyle related certifications. Kelli is the
former Lead Fitness Expert for eDiets and eFitness and remains a regular
contributor. Kelli is the author of Feminine, Firm & Fit - Building A Lean
Strong Body in 12 Weeks www.FeminineFirmandFit.com. She has transformed
thousands of bodies just like yours. She is available for phone coaching, online
training, grocery shopping tours, seminars, and media opportunities. For more
information go to www.KelliCalabrese.com
or e-mail Kelli@KelliCalabrese.com