The level of health and fitness tips that you can find on the internet these days have gone off the charts. While there’s a lot of information, it can become frustrating when one website says one thing, but another says the opposite. To save you time and the effort of trying to determine what’s true and untrue, here are ten fitness habits that are actually bad for you and should stop doing ASAP.
1. Working out on an empty stomach
Despite what you hear about increasing growth hormones and shedding more fat, not eating anything prior to a workout is not the way to go. In reality, working out without any food in your stomach will make you tired faster and you might end up burning fewer calories than you could have if you had the energy to keep going. So the next time you plan on going to the gym, eat something about 30 minutes to an hour before so you can have the energy to break a sweat.
2. Sticking with your regular routine
You’re body is constantly adapting and you can tell when you’ve done too much of the same workout. How? You won’t see any more improvement because your body adapts to a routine in a matter of weeks. Working out isn’t simply enough. You have to constantly challenge your body to see more progress, so try changing up the routine every few weeks so you can always keep your body in tip-top shape.
3. Pushing the quick start button on every machine
The temptation is real, but next time you get on a bike, treadmill or arc trainer, resist pressing the “quick start” button. There are so many other options on every machine that will help you break more sweat than just the “quick start” option. You might think you’re getting a lot of work done, but those other options are preprogrammed for you to challenge you with your workout.
4. Skipping your stretches
Stretching can be a way to loosen up your body or a way to ease your body into motion. Either way, if you skip out on stretches, you might be setting yourself up for injuries. Static stretches are especially dangerous before a workout as they can actually weaken your muscles, but do some dynamic stretching with some butt kicks and arm swings (aka dynamic stretching) to warm up your body for the workout.
5. Winging your workout
Having a workout plan is always a good idea so you can save time and be efficient. You don’t want to waste your precious hour at the gym with wandering around trying to decide which machine to use. Keep the intensity up and stay focused for the most effective workout.
6. Drinking up the gatorade
Yes, electrolytes are good for your body, but you really don’t need them unless you’re really training hard that day. Most of the time, water is the best option to stay hydrated without intaking the extra calories and sugar.
7. Swapping out intensity for slow and steady
Slow and steady may win the race, but in a world where time seems to be everyone’s enemy, fast and intense is what you need at the gym. Instead of being at a moderate pace for an hour, bump up the speed and work for thirty minutes. Not only will you be saving time, but you’ll also be burning more fat.
8. Using your phone
It’s the 21st century and it’s hard not to check your phone for new messages and notifications every couple of minutes, but your phone is huge distraction at the gym. This could lead to bad form, making you more prone to injuries, and could be taking away from your time at the gym. Listen to some tunes, but Facebook can wait until after the gym.
9. Only working on your trouble areas
Whether it’s the abs, the inner thighs, or the arms, everyone has their trouble spots. It’s good to work on these spots, but solely working on them can lead to imbalances in the body and overtraining. Always make sure to train your entire body so no specific area gets all the energy and attention.
10. Going overboard with the protein
It’s true that protein helps you build muscle and you should be eating protein after your workouts, but don’t think that protein is all you need to get stronger. It’s all about the balance of diet and even the notorious carbohydrates are essential for a stronger body.