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  • Writer's pictureAsh Radford

5 exercise mistakes to avoid for optimal fitness results

Updated: Jul 4, 2022

Want to get fit? Avoid these 5 mistakes to optimise your time and effort. It'll dramatically increase your chances of making real, lasting change to your body:

1. Going too hard too soon

It’s natural to want to take advantage of the enthusiasm and motivation that comes with starting a new program or gym membership. Remember though ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ & neither was significant strength, endurance or flexibility. Success comes from consistent, regular, progressive workouts over months and years. Go too hard, too soon and you risk injury and deep muscles soreness. Neither of which help with building exercise frequency. Read this for more on how to exercise in a sustainable way- 'Over motivation- the great killer of new exercise routines'

2. Too much rest during a workout

This may seem to contradict point #1 but it actually supports it. If you exercise at a moderate intensity it’ll mean its sustainable and you won’t need lots of breaks to get your breath back. Admittedly it takes some knowledge but there’s always something you can be doing e.g. stretching, core stability or balance between strength exercise sets or even cardio drills. If you keep moving, workouts will feel purposeful and you’ll maintain focus and feel flow. For more on how to optimise your precious exercise time- '6 pro tips to make your fitness program time effective, without losing intensity.'

3. Trying to sculpt the body & target areas you want to change.

The amazing physiques of Cross fit athletes shows what a focus on big demanding movements does. Basic exercises that require the use of multiple large muscles make the most difference. They usually take the most out of you as well. If you want to improve a particular part of your body the best way is to get fitter, stronger and improve your diet. Truthfully you can’t control from where you lose fat. Just aim to lose fat. There’s some wisdom in the idea that everyone should train like an athlete i.e. focus on multi joint exercises like squats and lunges (if appropriate) rather than trying to sculpt particular little muscles.

4. No structure, progression or plan.

So many people wander around a gym just doing what they feel on the day. That’s a terrible strategy, well actually it’s not even a strategy. Results will reflect that haphazard approach. Why waste time? Put a little energy into a program that makes you exercise in a structured and progressive way. You don’t need to spend lots of time exercising to make decent changes but you do need a decent program. You need to lift that little bit more or run/walk fraction quicker week by week to improve. Some planning is needed to make that happen and over months it makes a big difference. Here's more on how to do that- The #1 missing thing from most Fitness Programs

5. Static Stretching as a warm up.

This is essentially an outdated tradition. Typically holding stretches doesn’t make you warmer and as the name suggests the objective is to warm your muscles up. Do that instead. You’ll save time & better prepare your body. This will help you figure out how- '5 keys to make your pre-exercise warm up practical & effective' So often we associate getting fit with simply being motivated and willing to get uncomfortable. If you can avoid the common mistakes though I'm sure you'll maximise results with moderate effort. Remember training smarter often beats trainer harder.


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