The gym is arguably the best place to get a workout. Many are open 24 hours, are stocked with the latest and greatest equipment and the vibe can push you to work out harder and longer than you would at home… if you avoid these common gym mistakes.
Sticking exclusively to cardio. Women especially tend to stick exclusively to cardio, and miss the opportunity for a well-rounded workout. Cardio is important, but so is strength training, and avoiding the weight room and machines will rob you of its benefits. Muscle boosts metabolism, builds sleek muscles and increases bone density, so don’t skip it.
Stretching first. Stretching loosens up your muscles and joints, but if you don’t get them warm first, you might do more harm than good. Your muscles are like taffy: if you try to stretch cold taffy, it snaps, but warm taffy will stretch a mile. Always warm up with a few minutes of walking or jumping to avoid pulling a muscle and to gain flexibility.
Letting intimidation rule your workout. The gym is a loud and crowded place which can make it hard to try new things. Just remember, everyone is at the gym for the same thing: to work out. Whether you are intimidated by the big guys in the weight room, or the thin, supermodel doing crunches in the stretching area, you have just as much of a right to be there as they do. Don’t let what you think anyone thinks about you hold you back.
Not asking for help. Gym employees are there to help you, despite how unhelpful they might seem. If you don’t know how to do something, how to use a piece of equipment, or have a question about your diet or workout, don’t be afraid to ask. It’s not worth getting hurt or missing out on vital information because you don’t want to bother anyone. If you spend your hard earned money on a gym membership, then you deserve to get the most out of that gym.
Not having a plan. If you value your time, always come into the gym with a plan. Otherwise, you will waste time wandering around trying to think of exercises to do. In addition, not keeping track of your exercises will leave room for skipping muscle groups and inconsistency, which can affect your results. Write down your workout so you can quickly move from one exercise to the next without a hitch.
September 1st, 2010