No matter what fitness goal you’ve got in mind, if you’re not seeing results after a few months of dedication, it might be time for a gym-tervention.
Here are four common workout mistakes you’re probably making in your workouts, and the ways you can fix them.
1. You’re overdoing it
While it’s great to push yourself and keep up a consistent gym routine, rest time is equally important. Not giving your body enough time to heal and rejuvenate may adversely impact performance, resulting in an increased risk of injury or fitness burnout.
It’s important to schedule rest and recovery time each week, and split up your workouts (e.g. train certain muscle groups on different days) to allow muscles enough time to repair and promote new muscle growth.
2. Same old, same old
Not only is a repetitive workout routine plain old boring, but it’s also a fast way to lose motivation. Most importantly, our bodies quickly adapt to repetitive movements and it’s only when we challenge and “shock” our muscles that we really start to notice the difference.
To shake things up, increase your weights, up your reps, work a muscle in a new direction, or use a different exercise to train the same muscle group. If you’re all about that cardio life, consider incorporating resistance training to improve your strength. If you’re a hard-core weightlifter, hop on the elliptical or schedule in weekly brisk walks to improve your cardiovascular fitness. Ideally aim for a mixture of interval, cardio and strength training for a balanced training regime.
3. You can’t outrun a poor diet
No matter how much gym time you’re putting in, a post-workout splurge is not going to help the scales head south. On the other hand, not eating enough could result in low energy, meaning you don’t have the fuel to give it your all.
Whist everyone’s energy intake and composition (i.e. macros) is unique, experiment with what works for you. Figure out what you need to fuel up before and after a workout and what foods might be damaging your results.
A good starting point would be to cut down on ultra-processed foods, avoid added sugars, limit alcohol, pile your plates with plants, switch to quality carbs like whole grains, fruits and veggies, and make sure you’re getting enough protein and healthy fats.
4. Poor form
Bad technique is one of the biggest issues we see at the gym — even seasoned gym-goers slip on proper posture from time to time. However, your form should be your top priority during a workout. Bad form can limit your muscle full range of motion, it can also result in muscle imbalances, increasing the risk of injury.
If you don’t have a trainer to guide you through, it’s important to watch a few videos on proper technique and read up on what muscles should be engaged during certain exercises. As always, if any exercises cause you pain, seek advice from a personal trainer, exercise physiologist or physiotherapist.
This article first appeared on Fitness First.