Monday, September 14, 2009

Top 5 Mistakes I See in the Gym Daily...

If you are in the gym as much as I am, I can guarantee you will witness some of the common mistakes and misconceptions about exercise. I can't necessarily blame the individuals as they are just doing what they learned in high school on a basic level and from some magazine or other non-credible information source. Check out some of these mistakes to see if you are in that category. If you are seek some professional advice and guidance from qualified professional. It will allow you to learn from your mistakes and improve your ability to reach your goals - it should be about education - right? I think there are many people who think that exercise is one of those things your are just born to know how to do, but don't realize there is a science and art to changing the body, making it strong, and maintaining it, as the human body is a simple and complex system. It not as simple as just lifting up heavy things.

This list is not in any particular order of importance or value, just a few things I noticed daily in the gym. My goal is to educate you so you can be more aware and avoid them. Check it out.

  1. Over training - What in world is over training? Well it is exactly what it states - don't over complicate it as it is really simple. It is the result of training too frequently, for too long, and with poor recovery. I think people feel like they have to really over work themselves in the gym in order to achieve the results they desire. However the exercise part of training is the smallest part of the whole puzzle. Focus more on making the changes you need to make outside of the gym for best results like eating and sleeping (resting). If you are putting in 2 hour killer training sessions day after day after day with poor nutrition habits and don't allow for your body to recovery - is basically the equivalent to spinning your wheels - as in your going nowhere. Check out my previous post "Muscles Don't Grow in the Gym...". The goal should be to spend less time in the gym not more time. Focus on working harder not longer and giving your body ample time to recovery from the workout.

  2. Isolating - Unless you are trying to compete as a body builder you should not be focusing on improving the size of one muscle at a time. In your daily life how many of muscles do you use to perform the many daily activities of life? Well why not train for how you live. Let me say that again - "...train how YOU live". To achieve the best results you should be doing exercises and movements that train or involve the must muscles and movements as possible. They say we have 600+ muscles in our body but in my eyes I see it as just one, as it is a system. Your muscles in your body don't' just start and stop, as it is really a continuation from one area of body or bone segment to the next. Bottom line is you burn more calories when you incorporate as many muscles as possible. When you watch athletes performing during their sport - what muscles are they using? Focus on training movements not just muscles. Exercise is more about helping you maintain your ability to move better and strength as you age. In addition the added benefits is that you will be more likely to not be overweight and affected by preventable diseases.

  3. No Intensity - You noticed I didn't say low intensity as some of the activity I witness may not qualify as such. I see a lot of sitting around going on and TV watching. If you are not elevating your heart rate or challenging your respiratory system then what are you doing? By raising the intensity you could actually save yourself some time. You wouldn't have to spend an hour on the treadmill doing long distance training. If you changed it to interval training then you could accomplish more in a shorter period of time. Overall if you put more effort into your training intensity this is a all-around win win for you. Training at a higher intensity requires more energy output which means more caloric expenditure. Put a little more gusto into your workout - you will notice the difference. Please keep in mind that high-intensity exercise requires a longer recovery period and isn't for beginners.

  4. Abs, Abs, and more Abs - Well what can I say. People have a extreme fascination with abdominal muscles. I have seen countless people crunching like their life depended on it on the ab machine. Crunching from the front and side ways in a attempt to develop a six-pack. Do this for me - next time your watching a sporting event watch to see if anyone of the athletes does a crunch or sit up. I doubt you will see even one. Check out my previous post "Everyone has a Six-Pack". The muscles that make up the six-pack are just 1 of the 29 muscles that make up the core. The muscles of the core are responsible for movement and stabilization of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex (LPHC) or the core. So your abs are just as responsible for movement as they are for stopping movement in various directions. So why do most people train their core in one direction or with one goal in mind. You can't build a house on a unstable foundation. You must be able to control your body before you can set it in motion. Bottom line is a six-pack just means your body fat is low enough to see the muscles underneath. If you want to see these muscles, the best thing to do is to eat a lean and clean diet that is low in fat and calories. To see the side walk you have to shovel the snow. Its more about what your crunching in your mouth daily than crunching in the gym.

  5. All Push, No Pull. All Front, No Back - Well the example scenario goes like this - Joe the gym guy is sitting at his desk (for most of the day) at work leaves to head to the gym. He sits in his car for a 45-60 min commute to gym. The first thing Joe does is head straight to the bench press machine and lie down on his back or some other sitting machine based exercise. Don't see the problem with this, well neither does Joe? The problem is that he is training himself to be good at sitting and lying down. The larger muscles in legs, glutes, and core are very under trained and under developed due to being ignored during the workout. The other part of that is that bench press is a exercise that involves pushing the resistance away from the body. Most workouts I witness are dominated by pushing movements which leaves the posterior chain (back) of the body under trained and under developed. This is typical as most gym goers only work on the muscles they can see. I call this working on the "mirror" muscles. The problem with only working on the mirror muscles is its does not help you reach your goals, move better, decrease pain/injury, prevent pain/injury, or help in long term weight management. So make sure your exercise is well rounded and balanced. The back of your body is just as important as the front if not more.

So I hope this enlightened you a bit and made you aware of some common mistakes and how to address them. Always remember that EDUCATION and SAFETY always leads to RESULTS.

Stay tuned for the Top 5 Mistakes Outside the Gym which may be more important to help you reach your fitness goals.

Be Well.

This web site and its content does not provide medical advice and does not direct that you undertake any specific exercise or fitness regimen. You must consult a physician before undertaking any activity described in this web site.