When we work out, we often want to see the results as quick as possible; sometimes we’re so focused on these goals (whether it be to lose weight or to gain more muscle definition) that we neglect certain fundamentals and this may either prevent one from seeing results or even worse, hurting oneself.
Personal Trainer, Joel Quek, shares with us the common mistakes he sees his clients make and things we can all take note of when starting an exercise regime to keep fit and healthy in order to see results.
When people are just starting out, they can sometimes become too fixated on seeing results as fast as possible and as a result, they push themselves too hard – thinking that they’ll be able to lose a lot of weight in a month. However, this leads to failure and exhaustion when they are unable to achieve their goals so quickly, which can in turn affect their motivation.
To overcome this issue, people should understand where they are standing on the fitness scale and where they want to be. It can vary from person to person, but if you’re able to analyse what you want to achieve and what it takes to get there, then you’ll find it a lot easier. If you’re not a fitness expert, it always helps to seek a professional’s opinion who will be able to come up with a bespoke exercise and diet plan together with realistic goals for you.
Not Doing a Proper Warm Up
Warm ups are an important part of every workout routine; they help us prepare our body for the exercise that is to come and can even function as light exercises themselves. However, many people decide to either not warm up properly or skip them all together to rush into the workout. This approach is dangerous as it could lead to injuries or cramps which will, in turn, jeopardise a person’s chances to lose weight or improve as their body has to recover. Imagine that your muscles are like dried spaghetti. If you bend it immediately, it will snap but if you put it into hot water, it’ll become soft and flexible.
The best way to solve this is through more dynamic warm-ups. These are exercises that can elevate a person’s heart rate and also stretch or prepare their body. Dynamic warm-ups can also be used to help specific parts of the body prepare to perform at the best of their abilities. For example, brisk walking or light jogging before going onto your 5km run is considered a good warm up.
Focusing Too Much on Cardio
Cardio workouts have gained popularity thanks to the fact that they help the most when it comes to weight loss and is easy – especially running when all you need to do is throw on your running shoes and hit the pavement. However, this has caused people to treat them as the be-all and end-all exercises for weight loss, causing them to ignore strengthening exercises due to fear of them making them look bulkier (bodybuilders are probably rolling their eyes now).
This assumption is wrong. While it is true that strength exercise work best to help tone muscles, they also help with weight loss as muscles help to increase a person’s basal metabolic rate (when one is at rest). All of this adds up well if they mix their strengthening exercises with cardio exercises, allowing them to lose weight easier and also to tone their body without having to overdo it.
Little/No Focus on Mobility Training
Mobility exercises are those that help with improving the way our bodies move; you can see this in both warm ups on or specific exercises that require us to stretch our muscles. People tend to skip on these exercises because their purpose isn’t as evident as that of cardio exercises and strength exercises. However, mobility exercises help to increase one’s flexibility, range of movements and also prevents injuries while doing the cardio and strength training.
More Repetitions =/= More Muscles = More Mistakes
You’d normally hear that if you want to become stronger or lose more weight, then you have to keep increasing the number of repetitions of a particular exercise. This approach isn’t completely wrong in that you should try to push yourself a little harder than your perceived limit (this is where a personal trainer is helpful in evaluating your fitness levels), but just forcing yourself to do more and more isn’t only counter-productive, it might not yield results.
The reason for this has to do with your body type and the way in which it allows you to burn fat and build muscle. There are three known body types: Endomorph, Mesomorph and Ectomorph.
Endomorphs are people characterised as being able to gain weight and muscle quickly – they have bigger bones and thus, they might find it easy to see results from strength exercises rather than cardio or aerobic exercises.
Mesomorphs are in the middle, with wider shoulders and smaller hips and need to have a more balanced routine to see results.
Ectomorphs, on the other hand, have a skinnier frame and tend to have faster metabolisms. People of the Ectomorph body types are perfect for running thanks to the fact that they can go at faster speeds. However, these people might also have trouble being able to build muscle.
Knowing your body type is a huge part of learning what you should base your exercise routine around and also what it will require of you to achieve your desired goal.
Don’t feel bad if you’ve committed any of the mistakes listed here; we’re only human after all. Now you know what you should do to improve your workouts and see more result. We’d like to give our thanks to Joel for helping us with this article, and if you’re interested, you can join his fitness bootcamp and kickstart your fitness journey on a proper note!
Photo Credits: Food, Healthline, Daily Burn, Affinity Magazine