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10 Most Common Workout Goofs

Want to maximize your workout? According to the American Council on Exercise, here are “10 Workout Goofs” to avoid if you want to get the best results from your workout and minimize your risk of injury.

Skipping warm-up

Muscles need time to adjust to the demands placed on them during exercise. Before hitting the weight room or jumping into your regular cardio workout, you should take a few minutes to gently walk, bike or whatever you choose. Breaking a light sweat will get your blood pumping, warm up muscles and ligaments, greatly reduce your risk of injury and increase the effectiveness of your workout.

Skipping warm-down

Due to time constraints, many people head straight to the showers after their last repetition or as soon as the timer on the stairclimber runs out. Instead, take a few minutes to lower your heart rate closer to it’s resting rate.

Not stretching

Flexible muscles are far less likely to be pulled than tight ones. Stretch before a heavy workout or after your workout as a warm-down. Never stretch a muscle without warming up first to reduce your risk of injury even further. Regular stretching greatly increases your flexibility.

Pretending you’re Arnold

Lifting too much weight is the best way to injure yourself. Gradual, progressive resistance is a far more effective-and safe-way to increase muscle strength.

Weekend Warrior

The mistake of the person who tries to fit a week’s worth of exercise into a Saturday afternoon. For weight loss, it’s more effective to sustain a moderate workout for longer periods of time than to exercise intensely for only a few minutes. For others, the expectation that a workout must be intense to be effective can lead some to burnout or injury while others abandon their training altogether.

Act like Joe Camel (minus the cigarettes of course!)

Only camels can go without water: for the rest of us water is a necessity! Don’t wait until you feel thirsty, anticipate the amount of fluids being lost during exercise. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workout.

Climbing or carrying?

What’s the point of cranking the treadmill or stairclimber up to the highest level if you’re just going to support your weight on the side rails? It’s much more effective, not to mention easier on your wrists and elbows, to lower the intensity to the point at which you can maintain good posture while lightly resting your hands on the rails for balance.

Posing, instead of training

While it’s true you don’t want to overdo it, posing in front of the mirror or sitting on an exercise bike without pedaling won’t build much muscle or burn too many calories. You should exercise intensely enough to work up a light sweat, get your heart beating and feel a sense of satisfaction for having completed your workout. You should lift enough weight to stimulate your muscles with your goals in mind.

More is Better

Look in the mirror; do you see someone with bulging thighs and stomach, chalk-white hands yelling in Hungarian? If the answer is no, then stop trying to lift like you’re competing in the world heavy weight championships. The most effective way to train is to control the weight rather then the weight controlling you. When you have to jerk the weight, you’re likely jerking other muscles as well. This is can lead to strain and injury with very little benefit.

Avoid eating for a marathon

Just because you’re exercising a little doesn’t mean you need to double your daily calorie intake. It’s important to know how many calories you need to reach your goals. Beware of meal replacement drinks and bars that advertise “high energy”. High Energy often means “high calorie”. There are many low to moderate calorie meal replacement drinks and bars available, that will supply the proper balance of calories, carbohydrate, protein and fat.