The Worst Fitness Habits
1. Form. I can’t say this enough…form is your safety net. Once you compromise the way you do the move, you’re no longer getting the greatest benefits from the exercise, and you’re seriously increasing your risk of getting hurt. Even if it means lowering the amount of weight you are lifting, follow the correct form for the best results.
2. Overtraining. I believe in staying motivated, but don’t expect to dive right in and pound your body into its best shape ever overnight. Not only will this all-or-nothing attitude cause burnout, but you also risk injury, and you will definitely give up on yourself, because this is an unreasonable expectation. Instead, you need to gradually build up your muscles so they get the most effective and efficient workout possible. If you follow the Best Body Now program, more doesn’t always mean better, faster results. And remember, rest is good for your body. Take days off between training to repair and rebuild, or if you’re training daily, don’t work the same muscle groups back to back.
3. Under-training. Once you’re dressed and ready to sweat, commit to giving it your all for the next 30 to 60 minutes. Just going through the motions doesn’t do anything for your body and makes it easy to let boredom creep in. You owe this time to yourself—you deserve it—so make sure you give it your all.
4. Daydreaming. It’s so easy to let your mind wander while you’re lifting weights, but studies have shown that when you’re completely focused on each rep, more muscle fibers are used. You can develop a laser-sharp focus by actively involving your mind in every set and rep, thinking about how your body moves, how the muscle engages, which muscle or muscles you’re using and correct form. This adds up to a better workout and faster results. So forget about the laundry, your kids’ schedules and your afternoon conference call, and stay 100 percent in the moment.
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5. Staying with a few exercises you know. Your muscles love being challenged, so if you just stick to the same routine, they’ll eventually adapt and won’t have to work as hard to do the same moves. But if you change the exercises - and even the order you do them in - you ensure that muscles don’t get too efficient at any single routine. Not only is this better for toning, but it also helps your mind stay focused and engaged.
6. Holding your breath. Regular steady breathing has many benefits, including keeping you from passing out. The upsides are that proper inhalations and exhalations can help you power through moves, keep lactic acid (a by-product that builds up in the muscles during exertion) at bay and help maintain a steady heart rate. A full breath delivers the maximum amount of oxygen to the blood, which in turn delivers more energy to the working muscles.
Have you committed a workout sin? Have a bad habit? Tell us how you’re going to break it in the comments! —Jenn
The above is an excerpt from the book Your Best Body Now: Look and Feel Fabulous at Any Age the Eat-Clean Way by Tosca Reno with Stacy Baker. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy. Copyright © 2010 Tosca Reno with Stacy Baker.
Photo credit: jerryonlife