|Posted in Food & Health on 14 May 2014||
Hitting the gym but not hitting your goals? We highlight the five most common gym errors you could be making and how to fix them.
Assess how hard you're working and stay focused
Let's not beat around the bush; if you're going to the gym regularly but you've not seen progress in your performance or physique, you're doing it wrong.
If you go to the gym for the smug check-ins and selfies of you flexing, or you spend an hour on the elliptical watching CSI Miami, or hogging a bench and Whatsapping your friends, you might not be getting the results you're hoping for.
The unfortunate truth is, you need to work hard in the gym in order to change your body. Simply being present at the gym doesn't result in rock hard abs or a butt so perfect it could bring grown adults to their knees. No, for that you need to put down the phone and seriously ramp up the intensity of your workout.
Change it up a little
Equally, if you go to the gym and do the same thing every day, don't be surprised to find the same body in the mirror every day, too. While the theory of muscle confusion (doing a different thing every day to keep your muscles guessing) has been dispelled, it's true that you need to overload your body by regularly increasing intensity (weight, reps or speed, for example) in order to get stronger and fitter.
Additionally, if you spend every day bench pressing, for example, you're never giving your upper body time to recover and grow – and you're neglecting your poor legs. Be sure to add new challenges into your workout regularly and to give each body part attention with plenty of rest in between.
Choose a workout that suits your fitness objectives
When you walk into the gym, it's fine to just wander over the nearest machine that takes your fancy if you have no fitness goals. But, if you want to lose weight, get ripped or finish that marathon in less than four hours, you need to train more specifically.
Guys looking to bulk up; why are you running for 30 minutes on the treadmill and then doing some half-hearted bicep curls when you should be focusing on compound (multi-joint) resistance training? Women looking to tone up; get familiar with the weights room and lift heavy. Decide what your goal is and follow a professionally designed program that'll help you achieve it.
Embrace ‘big!' don't fear it
There's a popular saying that ‘not lifting weights for fear of looking like a bodybuilder is akin to not playing tennis for fear of winning Wimbledon.' The point is; nobody ever accidentally looked like a bodybuilder; it takes a lot of hard work and an awful lot of attention to your diet to get to that point.
Women have even less to worry about as there's no testosterone to build up manly muscles without supplemental help. So; men, women; get in the weights room and lift heavy if you want to have the benefits of lowered fat, more definition and a stronger body – which pretty much covers all of us, right?
Time to get regular
You can do the most efficient and intense workout you like, but if you don't keep it up regularly, you may as well not have bothered. You should aim to hit the gym at least three times a week, every week, in order to keep progressing. Pair it with plenty of sleep and a good, nutritious diet and you'll soon see results.