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I used to make so many mistakes when I was working out.
I could never figure out why my body wasn’t changing even though I was exercising every day.
I would wander from machine to machine hoping I could figure out how to use it. I’d read the sticker with the instructions and would hope for the best.
Once upon a time, when I about 20 years old, I was attempting to use a cable machine for the first time. A trainer from the gym walked up to me.
She called me out and said I was doing the exercise wrong.
She helped correct my form and I could definitely feel a major difference doing the exercise with her help. Afterward, she tried to start selling me into training packages.
She didn’t make me feel empowered as she tried either. Instead, I felt so freakin’ embarrassed.
I was a beginner and had no idea what the heck I was doing. And she made it clear I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t want training at all after that.
But I wanted to learn more about how to exercise so I wouldn’t embarrass myself like that ever again.
Now that I’m a personal trainer, I often see people making the same mistakes in the gym.
I want to empower you with fitness tips that will help you get better results from your workouts.
9 Fitness Tips to Get Better Results from your Workouts
I put together this list of the top workout mistakes I see in the gym along, simple tips to correct them.
These tips will help you prevent injuries, avoid plateaus, and get the results you deserve.
When you’re done reading the list, please let me know which tip helped you most.
Fitness Tip #1: Avoid Doing Too Much Too Soon
WHY? Incorporating too many new changes too quickly into your life may cause overwhelm, stress, possible injuries, and ultimately make you tap out and quit.
What to Do Instead: Listen to your body! Start with a schedule that is realistic for your experience level. If you never exercise, commit to working out 4 days instead of 7. If your workouts are too hard, reduce the resistance, weight lifted, and/or speed. Weight loss is a journey, not a race. You can add more intensity and workouts as you get stronger.
Fitness Tip #2: Set a Goal and Your Intentions
WHY? If you don’t know where you want to be or how you’re going to get there – then how can you? You can’t aim properly when you don’t know where your target is! Setting a clear goal and getting clear about what you want and what you intend to do to get there is a huge first step when you being a workout program.
What to Do Instead: Choose your goal weight and look. Then get the training strategy and workouts you need to achieve it. Trying to exercise without having a plan is like taking a road trip without a map. When you have a clear plan in place, it’s easier to set your intentions, too. Check out my programs for more help here. Checkout out this exercise to get motivated and set your intentions.
Fitness Tip #3: Avoid only Doing your Favorite Exercises & Target Specific Body Parts Instead
WHY? You can’t spot train fat loss. You can spot train your muscles and all of your muscles need to be exercised to maximize your metabolism and boost fat-burning potential.
What to Do Instead: Break up the muscle groups into sections and train all of your muscles, at least one time, every week. Click the link for fun fat-burning workouts that target trouble zones.
Fitness Tip #4: Stop Swinging Weights
WHY? You increase the potential for injury. Plus, swinging uses momentum to move the weight, not your muscles… which means you negligible results for you.
What to Do Instead: Always perform weight-training exercises slowly and control the movement. Only allow your muscles to control the movement and do ‘the work’. Always remember, cardio should be fast, weight training should be slow. Never, ever swing weights. 10 reps with proper form will get you results faster than 100 sloppy reps.
HINT: That’s why all of my workouts include demonstrations and instructions so you can do the workouts with proper form.
Fitness Tip #5: Stop Holding Your Breath
WHY? Holding your breath when you’re exercising cuts off your oxygen supply. But your muscles and body’s need for oxygen goes up when you’re moving your body.
What to Do Instead: Always breathe regularly throughout your workout. Breathing will help oxygenate your muscles so you can recover faster. It also helps prevent dizzy spells and feeling winded.
Fitness Tip #6: Do Weight Training and Cardio Workouts
WHY? Cardio will burn calories and fat but only during the exercise. But, our goal is to burn as much fat as possible!
What to Do Instead: Do weight-training exercises and cardio. Weight training helps build lean muscle, which will increase your metabolism and cardio helps burn fat. Weight training burns calories during the workout and continues to burn calories after the workout is over, too. Plus, weight training makes muscle definition possible. Cardio helps melt fat off as you build muscle.
Discover how to use cardio to burn fat and weights to Reshape your body here.
Fitness Tip # 7: Stop Eating before you Exercise
WHY? Your body first uses stored glycogen as energy when you exercise. After glycogen is burned up, the body will start burning excess body fat for fuel. It takes approx. 20 minutes for the body to burn through glycogen before it can start burning fat.
Eating before a workout can overload glycogen stores. That means if you eat right before you workout, you’re more likely to burn food as fuel, not your unwanted fat. Eating before exercise is better suited to fuel long-duration workouts, not fat loss workouts.
What to Do Instead: Wait for 1.5 to 2 hours after you eat before you exercise. This will give you a better chance to burn more fat. Stay hydrated before and during your workouts. Water will help you prevent dehydration and hunger. You can learn more about how to eat to repair and recover during workouts in the Reshape Exercise Program.
Fitness Tip #8: Stop Doing Too Much Exercise
WHY? If you start with long-duration workouts (60+ minutes), over time, your body will eventually adapt and expect long duration workouts. Which is the last thing you want! It can seriously affect your metabolism and ability to burn fat long-term.
What to Do Instead: Only add more time to your workouts when you have to. 20 to 30 minutes is a good place to start. That’s 20-30 minutes each for cardio and weight training workouts. Then once you plateau at 20 to 30 minutes, add more time or sets to your workouts. Never do more than 45-60 minutes of cardio or weight training at a time… especially if you’re trying to lose more than 20 pounds.
Fitness Tip #9: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Start Loving your Body by Training for your Goal
WHY? We were not made from cookie cutters! We lose and gain fat differently because all have our own unique genetic makeup. Everyone has a distinct body type and shape. Plus, you never know how long someone has been working out.
What to Do Instead: Stop comparing yourself to someone you are not. Accept yourself for who you are! Be aware of how your body is, then tailor your training strategy to suit your goal look. That can help you get the results you want.
That’s my roundup of 9 fitness tips to consider when it’s time to workout.
Which tip was your favorite? Please let me know in the comments.
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Christina Carlyle is a certified Holistic Nutritionist, Sports Nutrition Specialist, Personal Trainer, Health Coach, & Behavior Modification Specialist. After overcoming her own health issues, getting off 7 medications, & losing 40 pounds (& keeping it off for 10+ years) she’s dedicated to helping others get Happy, Healthy, & Fit for life, with science-backed strategies. Christina shares real deal (no BS) weight loss and wellness advice, workouts, and recipes that get results and work in the real world.