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Hitting the gym on the regular likely means you have a routine down pat. But every now and then, it’s crucial to reevaluate your regimen to see where any necessary changes should be made. We know your gym time is precious, so to help you clean things up, we consulted with a fitness pro who shares seven bad habits that kill your workout progress. Are you guilty of any of these poor fitness habits? Read on to find out, and if so, it’s time to ditch and fix them. And next, don’t miss 5 Exercise Habits That Are Destroying Your Body After 50.
1. You’re skipping carbs.
Carbs may get a bad rap as something to avoid if you’re looking to get fit. But contrary to popular belief, your body requires carbs when you’re regularly working out. Getting your fill of carbs is just as critical as consuming protein post-exercise. Your body’s main source of fuel is carbs, and they’re necessary to incorporate into a meal after working out.
According to Tyler Read, the founder of PTPioneer.com and a personal trainer who has been in the health and fitness worlds for the past 15 years, “The fact is, the kind of high intensity required to improve your physical appearance through muscle gains is fueled by carbs. Some people manage to do this on a low-carb diet, but they are the exception and this is rarely sustainable long term.”
2. You’re doing too much cardio.
Adding cardio to your routine is all well and good. After all, performing exercises like hiking, running, kickboxing, and dancing can help you lose weight, enhance your immune system, boost brain and joint health, and improve your mood, the Cleveland Clinic reports. But, cardio shouldn’t be the sole or main focus of your workouts. It’s all about establishing a healthy balance.
“For most people with physique goals, muscle building should be a priority, and excessive cardio has diminishing returns on health while negatively affecting muscle gain,” Read explains.
3. You’re inconsistent.
Consistency is the name of the game if you want to achieve noticeable results. That’s why Read explains that inconsistency is one of the worst fitness habits that kills your workout progress—and for good reason.
According to OSR Physical Therapy, on the one hand, being consistent with your fitness regimen helps you avoid tight muscles, which can boost overall performance. On the other hand, inconsistency can increase your chances of fatigue, which can lead to overuse injuries and acute injuries.
“Whatever your workout routine is, you need to do it over a long period of time to see results. Thirty-day plans are for the most part, not useful,” Read explains. Rather, use that 30-day workout as a starting point to maintain a solid fitness routine that doesn’t just stop after those 30 days are up.
4. You’re not sleeping enough.
Did you know that getting enough sleep is a key part of your fitness routine? Your body requires sufficient, restful Z’s to properly recover.
The quality of the sleep you’re getting before and after workouts is especially something to be mindful of. According to Advanced Sleep Medicine Services, Inc., deep sleep may boost how you perform during exercise, because this is the point when growth hormone is dispensed. Fat burning, building up your bones, repairing your muscles, and growing your muscles are all prompted by growth hormone.
“Your body needs sleep to recover, period,” Read explains. “If you are staying up too late and getting less than seven to eight hours a night over time, it will impact your gains.”
5. You’re skipping free weights.
For the best results in your fitness program, Read recommends utilizing free weights such as dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells for a solid portion of your workouts.
Working with free weights is associated with plenty of benefits. Adding dumbbells or kettlebells to your routine, for instance, can help you boost power, coordination, and strength, WebMD explains. Strength training with weights will decrease your risk of developing health issues such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, or heart attack. It will also help you sculpt lean muscle, which torches extra body fat as you go about your day. Plus, free weights are extremely versatile!
6. You’re only doing isolation exercises.
Only focusing on isolation exercises like bicep curls and leg extensions is another major fitness mistake to avoid. Instead, the majority of your workouts should be dedicated to performing compound movements such as squats and pull-ups, Read explains.
Compound exercises, which activate more than one muscle group simultaneously, torch a greater number of calories, boost intermuscular coordination, enhance how efficiently you move, and bring your heart rate up, according to ACE Fitness.
7. You’re skipping rest days.
Going hard at all times isn’t doing yourself any favors. In fact, overdoing it at the gym and not taking any time to rest can kill your workout progress. So carve out full days off each week to give your body sufficient time to rest and recover. Read recommends aiming for a minimum of two full, non-consecutive rest days.
You may think this seems counterintuitive to achieving your goals, but it’s not. Your body will seriously thank you and will feel well-rested to take on your workout when you return to the gym.