By Kim Duke
NETA & AAFA Certified Trainer
Are you spending hours working out every week, and not getting the results you want? Chances are you might have a bad habit or two when it comes to exercising. Never fear, there’s a quick fix for even the most ingrained workout no-no’s. Check out these five workout habits you should drop: Not only will ditching these help you lose the pounds, they will help you become a more efficient exerciser.
1) Too much cardio. Too little strength training. But cardio burns more calories, right? Not so fast. Sure, an hour on the treadmill gives you that instant satisfaction of burning 400 calories, or so that little blinking screen says. A quick strength training or cross training session, however, will get your heart rate up, burn calories, and develop your lean muscle mass. Building muscle means that those muscles are able to work throughout the day, burning more calories when you aren’t working out.
2) Working out for long periods of time at a moderate pace. When it comes to working out, slow and steady does NOT win the race. Maximize your time, people! Instead of working out for an hour at an easy-to-moderate intensity level, step it up a notch. Challenge yourself to 30 minutes of nonstop, intense exercise. You can take 15- to 30-second breaks, but move quickly from one workout to the next. Give it 100 percent for 30 minutes, instead of 75 percent for an hour
2) Hydrating with sports drinks. Sports drinks may give you a boost, but are full of sugar and calories. During any given daily workout, hydrating with plain old water should do the trick just fine. If you feel tired during your workout, try fueling before. Eating a healthy snack 45 minutes before your workout can give you more energy, and allow you to skip the Gatorade.
3) Doing the same exercises over and over again. When you do the same workout routine over and over, your body gets used to it and it becomes easier. The Stairmaster might have been challenging at one point, but pretty soon your muscles become familiar with that motion. Your body only uses half the energy to complete this task that at one point had you huffing and puffing your way to the locker room. Mix it up. By changing your workouts daily you will trick your body into working harder and burning more calories. It will also save you from boredom!
4) Going it alone. Working out alone can be great. It gives you time to clear your mind, listen to music, and feel the burn. However, sometimes it takes a workout buddy to hold you accountable. Working out with a partner not only makes it more likely that you’ll work out, it makes most people try harder than they would on their own. Your partner can cheer you on to finish that last half mile or to finish those last four deadlifts.