You’ve been putting in the work for several weeks or months, and you still can’t see the results. Instead of quitting (as many people do when they face this discouragement), looking for simple things you might be doing wrong (or at the wrong time) could help you quickly and effectively solve the problem and start seeing those gains and losses you’re looking for. Consider these 5 ways you may be sabotaging your workouts at the fitness center.
#1: Talking and Socializing Too Much During Your Workouts
Before you start looking at your form, frequency, or intensity, look at the obvious. Is your jaw moving more than your body? Do you find yourself getting a little too absorbed in your conversations with your gym buddy?
It’s hard to be objective about this one, so stop and think about your breathing while you’re talking with a friend and working out at the same time. Are you breathless, or is it no trouble to talk, at all? Just as it can be used to gauge whether you’re working out too intensely, the talk test can help you determine if you’re slacking off.
#2: Texting or Playing on Your Phone During Breaks
Breaks are important, especially if you’re doing multiple sets on leg or arm day, but you’re in the fitness gym for a reason: to workout. Taking too many breaks, or breaks that are too long, lowers your heart rate below your target zone, slows circulation to your muscles, and ultimately results in burning fewer calories and completing fewer reps.
Time yourself the next time you find yourself scrolling through your phone during a workout break. If it’s a source of distraction to you, keep it in your locker until you’re finished for the day.
#3: Not Being “Negative” Enough
When you’re performing a move such as a bicep curl, it’s important to complete the full range of motion – both the concentric (contraction of the muscle) and eccentric (lengthening of the muscle, also referred to as the negative) phase. If you’re only contracting and not lengthening, you’re not working your muscles as completely as you could be, which could also encourage muscle imbalances. Resolve to be more negative when it comes to weight lifting.
#4: Not Fueling for Your Workouts
Many of us prefer to exercise on an empty stomach – especially those of us who work out in the early morning to beat the fitness center crowd and eliminate the excuse of being too tired after work, shuttling kids, or running errands. The problem might be that, after eight or more hours with no fuel, your body might not have the energy to power through an intense workout. If you can’t stomach breakfast before your sweat sessions, at least grab a healthy snack as you head out the door – something (like oatmeal and fruit or yogurt and granola) that has complex carbohydrates and a little protein for the best stomach comfort and fueling efficiency.
Getting to the gym consistently takes willpower and consistent discipline, so don’t sabotage your efforts by making these four (or other) mistakes. Monitor your social habits, watch your form, make sure to fuel your body properly, and you’ll start to see the results you’ve been working so hard for.