Truth: There is a ton of info out there about working out. From fitness mags to your fave midriff-exposing, peach-loving #fitgirl on Instagram, we are inundated with all sorts of exercise tricks, hacks and programs to help you get fit.
Research shows that a number of people, including most women, fail to accomplish their fitness goals because they haven’t done the proper research on how to do just that. Buying a gym membership is a huge step in your progress, but how you spend your time in the gym is what will really show results.
That’s because the more knowledge you have when undergoing a fitness program, the more likely you’ll reach fitness goals. This includes learning of the pitfalls and common mistakes that most women make when undergoing a training regimen for the first time. If you can steer clear of them, you’ll not only see faster results, but you might even fall in love with exercise!
Yes, cardio is an essential component of fitness. A cardio workout helps you shed layers of fat and improves your cardiovascular system. Cardio workouts are awesome BUT they should not be the end-all and be-all of your exercise regimen. Many people’s idea of working out at the gym is hopping on the treadmill, plugging in their music and doing their walk/jog/run for x amount of time and then clocking out. I’m going all Susan Powter on you by saying, “Stop the madness!” In order to lose weight and sculpt your body, you have to incorporate some kind of resistance training into your routine too. Beginners should be doing a cardio workout 2-3x a week for 30-35 minutes and supplementing that with a weight workout 2x a week.
Not Lifting Weights
Ladies, lifting weights – even heavy weights – will NOT make you look bulky. I repeat: they will NOT make you look bulky, or manly or like a She-Hulk. In fact, it does the opposite: it’ll tighten and tone your whole body while also torching fat. The cool thing about lifting weights is when you start to build lean muscle, you actually burn more calories during the day, which means you’ll be killing calories while chillin’ with Netflix. It’s also the key component of sculpting your body into the shape you desire. Want a perky butt? Squat with weights or deadlift. Want to define your shoulders and arms? Do shoulder presses and bicep curls. Who doesn’t want to be a strong woman?
Repeating the Same Workout Over and Over
Humans are creatures of habit, and when we fall in love with an exercise program, we don’t want to let it go. I get it; however, repeating the same exercises, which work the same muscles ad nauseum, will only lead to boredom, plateaus and burnout. Challenge your mind and body by including a variety of workouts, like boxing, running, Pilates and yoga, into your weekly routine. Focus on increasing frequency, intensity and/or the length of your training sessions every four to six weeks to further see and feel the results you desire. For example, incorporate interval training into your next cardio session by walking for three minutes and sprinting for 20 seconds. Gradually increase your speed every two to three weeks until you’re jogging for one minute and sprinting for 30 seconds.
Remember: when in doubt, if you’re stuck for ideas or what to do at the gym, then you might want to consider investing in a personal trainer to help tailor unique and specific exercises to get you started. Above all, don’t compare your progress to anyone else’s. Be proud of yourself for taking the time to focus on your health and fitness, and forgive yourself if you’ve steered away from your program and goals. You can always try again tomorrow!
Brianne Hogan is a contributing writer for She Does the City and a personal trainer and healthy eating coach in the GTA. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook, and you can check out her free Beginner’s 4 Week At-Home Workout series here. Check out the rest of her series here.