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Friday, August 31, 2012

5 Common Exercise Mistakes to Avoid

Spending hours at the gym but still not seeing any weight loss or even a hint of a six pack? You might be committing one of these exercise errors. Cut them out of your workout regime and you might just see the results that have eluded you for so long.

Mistake #1: Doing isolated exercises
Although we've all spend hours doing crunches or arm curls, the reality is that doing isolated exercises that concentrate on a single area won't produce significant results as they don't get your heart rate up to burn calories -- how you get rid of the layers of fat around the muscles you're working.

Exercises that stimulate as many muscle groups are needed for maximum caloric output.

"If you want to see muscle definitions, muscle-isolated exercises do give a better results," says Janet Ho, personal trainer at Fitness Compass in Hong Kong and LifestyleAsia's guest writer. "But, you max out your caloric output by doing multi-joint movements exercises in order to increase heart rate, and improve coordination by performing full body exercises."

Mistake #2: Working out with machines
Gyms may look all fancy with their high-tech machinery and air-conditioned rooms, but nothing beats exercising the good old-fashioned way. Machines can alter the way your body moves naturally and also restrict your range of motion, which means less fat burning and muscle definition. However, Ho points out that you should work with machines as an alternative to free weights if you are worried about hurting yourself without the help of a personal trainer.

Mistake #3: Excessive repetition of workout routine
Just like how your skincare regime ceases to work at its optimal levels after a few months of use, repeating the same set of exercises over a long period of time will cause your body to adapt, and as a result, stop making any significant progress.

"We call this hitting the plateau. It's important to vary your workout from time to time to challenge the body consistently," explains Ho.

Mistake #4: Inadequate hydration
The recommended six to eight glasses of water per day is actually the bare minimum to prevent dehydration in an inactive person. If you exercise regularly, you should be consuming at least twice of that as inadequate hydration can stop the body from performing at its best during exercise.

On a workout day, sip water constantly throughout the day to ensure you're properly hydrated. If you really need to flavour a drink, Ho suggests substituting water with sugar-free electrolytes drinks before and after your workout.

Mistake #5: Pre-exercise snackingIt might seem like a good idea to have a snack before you hit the gym or go for a run, but downing an energy bar actually robs you of energy due to its high fibre content, which takes ages to digest. This digestion requires additional energy, and you end up feeling sluggish during the workout.

Ho recommends fruit as a pre-workout snack, such as a banana.

PS:some suggestions Janet has to add variation to your workout in manageable ways.

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