When it comes to weight loss, diet really does matter most. And yes although exercise is important for burning off excess calories, stabilising blood glucose (sugar) levels and toning/building muscle (helping us look good).. exercise is even more important when it comes to keeping the weight off.
When we lose weight we want it to be fat loss, and not muscle loss. Muscle burns calories and so the more muscle we have, the more calories we will burn day-to-day (increasing your metabolic rate).
Building exercise into your routine is a must if you are planning on maintaining your weight loss efforts, wanting to improve your over all health or just wanting to ‘tone up’. Paul Mumford is an elite personal trainer and sports coach based in Essex and he kindly offered to ‘guest post’ on my blog for everyone who’s thinking of embarking on a training plan – it’s all too easy to rush into a training regime without proper advice, however here we have some fab tips from Paul – so you don’t make any of the most common mistakes!!
Spending plenty of time in a gym, as I do, I see people doing some pretty horrific things. Most of them think they are working out correctly, some of them have just become lazy, some of them would rather look good lifting a heavy weight badly than lifting a lighter weight correctly. So, it’s a good time for a few reminders, here are 6 of the most common mistakes people make when working out..
- 1. Doing the same workout every time you go to the gym.
Doing the same workout all the time can increase your risk of injury as well as lead to muscle imbalance, weakness and just plain boredom. I’ve seen some people coming to the gym and still doing the same workout they were given at their induction months ago. It’s important to vary your workout regularly. When I work out for myself or plan a programme for a client, I never make two routines the same. Mix push ups with chest press, try a pull up instead of a lat pull-down. It’s actually wrong to call it a workout routine because that implies you need to do the same thing every time you train. Muscles get bigger and stronger when you constantly challenge them with new exercises or ways to move.
- 2. Never having a rest day.
Rest is an often overlooked part of a workout routine. If you don’t plan to rest or schedule recovery days into your training, you actually limit your ability to train. Your body gets stronger after exercise stress, so you need to allow time for the rebuilding of muscle tissue. Any good workout plan will include regular periods of rest and recovery. This allows you to adapt to the exercise and you return bigger, stronger and faster. Rest also allows you to recover mentally and emotionally and avoid exercise burnout.
- 3. Training through the pain.
Many people get into the groove during exercise and forget about some key principles for safe and effective workouts. Exercising when you have pain is one of them, and it’s the fastest way to develop a serious or persistent injury. Minor aches and pains can easily become chronic overuse injuries that plague us for years. If you feel pain during exercise, stop, rest and look for the cause of the pain. Sometimes all you need to do is make some minor adjustments to your equipment or body position to sort the problem out.
For example, if you are walking and feel the burn of a blister developing on your heel, immediate treatment may prevent the problem altogether. Letting it progress may lead to a painful and long-lasting blister. Pain is your body’s way of warning you of a problem. Pay attention and you will often find you can quickly recover and return to training faster than if you push through.
- 4. Ignoring proper form and technique.
This should have probably gone at the top of the list because I see this almost every day. No matter what sort of workout routine or exercise you enjoy, using incorrect technique will reduce the effectiveness of the workout and put you at greater risk for getting injured. Take time to learn proper technique whether you’re lifting weights, doing yoga, running or whatever it may be. Even if you have been playing a sport for years, you’d be surprised at what you can learn by taking a lesson or having a refresher session.
- 5. Playing to your strengths.
I see a lot of guys (and a few girls) who spend all of their gym time working on the muscles that look good in the mirror. By ignoring the muscles on the other side of your body you wind up with bad posture and you’re more prone to injury. When you head for the gym spend the same amount of time on every part of your body. If you don’t like working your legs for instance (and not many people do) try hitting them first, then you’re less likely to skip them when you’re tired and thinking about heading for the showers.
- 6. Being scared of gaining muscle mass.
Women in the gym have a huge fear that resistance exercise with heavy weights will make them puff up like a shot putter or look like Jodi Marsh. Well it won’t. Most women I come across strive to get ‘toned’. Well muscle ‘tone’ is actually achieved by having larger muscles with less fat around them, and larger muscles burn more fat in the first place. Training your muscles with heavier weights and with lower reps will achieve this. There’s also a good reason why guys in general have more muscle mass than girls, testosterone. That’s something women simply don’t have and without spending several hours a day in the gym or taking supplements they will never achieve it either. So go for the heavy weights and don’t panic. Even most guys have a hard enough time gaining muscle mass.
Thanks Paul for such a great blog post!