5 Common Exercise Mistakes and How to Fix Them

April 8, 2013

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Common Exercise Mistakes You’re a regular exerciser. You find yourself at the gym, day in and day out, working up a sweat, thinking about building a healthier, more toned body. You’re expecting results, and by all means, you should. But for some reason, you just aren’t seeing them, on the scale and in the mirror.

Sound familiar? Don’t throw the towel in on your exercise regimen just yet. You may be making one of the following common exercise mistakes that can easily be fixed with just a few small tweaks to your workout.

You’re selling yourself short. Your mind is a powerful tool, and it can be your workout friend or foe. You can tell yourself you can push a little harder, faster, and longer. Or, you can tell yourself you can’t. Stop selling your exercise ability short, and turn your “I can’ts” into “I cans.” “I can turn the resistance up on my stationary bike.” “I can increase my speed on the treadmill.” “I can finish my reps with a little more weight.” Your body will know when it has reached its limit, but you can’t find your limit unless you push your comfort zone.

You’re not eating right. Your food choices, before and after an exercise session, can influence your performance. Think of your body like a car. Without fuel, a car won’t run. Food is fuel for the body. Eat a snack high in protein an hour before a workout to get through your exercise session. A slice of turkey or light cheese, a hard boiled egg, or a CMWL protein shake or bar will do the trick.

Conversely, many people overestimate the intensity and calories burned during their workout and use it as a free pass to eat whatever they want for the remainder of the day. This mentality can spell trouble for your weight loss plan. Yes, you need to refuel but that doesn’t mean you should run to McDonald’s and order a Big Mac. If you’re exercising at a moderate intensity, look for a high-protein snack between 100 and 200 calories. A Greek yogurt, for example, will satisfy your stomach.

You’re not mixing it up. If you’ve been doing the same elliptical routine for months, it’s time to change the pace. Chances are you’re bored, and you’ve probably reached a fitness plateau, meaning you are no longer challenging your muscles. By incorporating different exercises, like strength training and varying cardio workouts, you challenge multiple muscle groups and see better results. Plus, you’re less likely to burn out if you keep your workouts exciting.

You’re watching TV. While watching your favorite sitcom or reality show may make the time at the gym go by faster, it also can slow you down. Just like your eating habits, an effective exercise program is all about being mindful—mindful of your heart rate and how your muscles feel. It’s hard to be present when you’re focused on a TV show.

Now, if you aren’t able to exercise without the tube, I still recommend doing it. Some exercise is still better than no exercise.

You’re only looking at one number. And it’s the number on the scale. But the scale only tells part of the story. If you’re exercising regularly, you’re building muscle and losing fat, but the scale won’t tell you anything about muscle mass.

A body composition analysis scale, like the one used at The Center for Medical Weight Loss, gives you the whole picture—fat percentage, water weight, and muscle mass. But even with a body composition analysis, don’t stay so focused on the number. Focus on how you feel. Do you have more energy during the day? Are everyday activities, like climbing the stairs, easier to master? Are you happier? Remember, how you feel is more important than any other factor.

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[…] and exercise: They go together like ketchup and mustard, peanut butter and jelly, Bert and Ernie. Each […]

[…] Exercising every day may not be the best way to maximize your fitness and weight loss potential. A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found those who trained every day burned fewer calories than those who exercised only a few days per week. […]

[…] to consume additional calories during your workout, but you always need to make sure you’ve fueled properly before a workout to prevent fatigue. Make sure you have had something to eat at least three hours prior to your […]

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