Common mistakes to avoid when working out

In today’s blog I’ll be talking about mistakes I have made in the past, in relation to working out, as well as what I see on a daily basis as a Personal Trainer. Hopefully, as a result of this blog, I’ll save you some time, money and effort moving forward with your training.

1) Energy drinks

Rocking up to the gym being accompanied by an energy drink is often seen as part of the essential training package. Thanks to the excellent marketing, we’re convinced these drinks will make us work so much harder so we can train like Cristiano Ronaldo. The truth is that these drinks aren’t necessary for the everyday gym goer. A typical 500ml sports isotonic bottle contains 18 grams of sugar. Even more worrying is that a certain 500ml well known energy drink brand contains 55 grams of carbohydrates that sugars. Sports drinks will only really benefit athletes that require fast acting  carbohydrates post training or at a half way period of a sporting match/event. When going to the gym there are many suitable alternatives to fuelling your pre and post training to ensure you have an effective workout.
2) Spending 60 minutes doing cardio to burn fat

Referring back to my blog back in february “Effective Fat Loss Training! Which is better, Cardio or Weight Training?” Have you often heard the phrase, “slow and steady burns fat”?A slow and steady approach to cardio vascular training will require you to maintain an intensity of roughly 60% of your maximum heart rate for 30 minutes plus. The argument is that at that point you will be in the fat burning zone and your body will actively use fat as an energy source, as the intensity is low enough for your body not to require your fast energy(glycogen) as a fuel. The longer you maintain this intensity the more calories you will burn, creating a larger calorie deficit for your day. This approach is often used in the morning whereby you would have limited calories in your body to activate fat burning. This approach takes a lot of refining with your diet to get the results and suits body builders who are training twice a day in preparation for a comp. If you’re not keen to beast yourself then this approach will also suit you however don’t expect dramatic fat loss results. If you tend to train in the evenings then you will more likely be burning calories rather than fat directly. If your nutrition isn’t on point (especially early morning gym goers) you risk burning away your muscle mass instead of fat as your body will look to your muscle stores for fuel rather than your fat stores.

3) Purchasing a fitness watch to lose weight

Its a huge trend nowadays with the mass surge of smart watches, which tell us how many calories we’ve burned, current heart rate, how many steps we’ve done etc..Again down to the way the technology is marketed it can convince us that owning one is an essential part of our lifestyle and especially assist fat loss. I’m not against owning a smart watch, however if you’re struggling to lose weight its highly likely that buying a smart watch won’t sort your underlying lifestyle struggles. I own a Polar smart watch myself and use it to monitor my heart rate,  performance during high intense activities as well as using the gps function when i’m running outside. 

4) lifting as heavy as possible every session to gain muscle mass and strength

Ever seen the same guys lifting heavy with the same rep range on the same exercises every time they’re at the gym? 

Yes we know those guys! It’ll break their hearts to know that all of the hard work and straining every session will yield limited gains, both strength and aesthetically. Lifting to your max every time you train will give your body insuffient recovery time and place it under further unnecessary stress, releasing stress hormones which are known to cause muscle breakdown.

Alongside good nutrition varying your repitition range with structure will provide the following benefits:

– Allowing your Central Nervous System adequte recovery time in between weeks to keep your body performing well

– Strengthen your body in all areas including endurance, strength endurance, hypertrophy, maximal strength, power

-Make your workouts more challenging and varied

-Decreasing your chances of injury
5) Doing Biceps curls for bigger upper arms

An old favourite of mine! As soon as I was introduced to the world of weight training (aged 16) I pretty much focused on chest press and bicep curls trying to increase the size of my guns!

Having slightly matured and educated myself I soon realised why my results were limited.

In a nutshell the biceps have 2 muscles, whereas the triceps are made up of 3 muscles and represent 2 thirds fo your upper arm size. In conclusion, yes do work your biceps however do not neglect the triceps which make up the larger parts of your arms. A good balance between the 2 accompanied with suitable nutrition will see an increase in your arm size.

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