Sunday, December 9, 2012

Five most common fitness mistakes you may be doing

Happy Holidays everyone!

It's been a little while since my last post, thought I would come back with something I've been wanting to write about for a long time. Here goes....

Five most common fitness mistakes you may be doing

Kent is an Adaptive Fitness client of mine. He and I have been consistently training together for awhile now, he is recovering from an incomplete spinal cord injury and has made considerable gains from his fitness regimen.

He gets around in a power wheelchair, but can also stand, walk, and even jump with supervision. Kent is one of the most consistent clients I have ever had, he is always open to any challenge (with some grunts and groans) I put in front of him and I believe because of that very reason he has defied what many health care professionals expected of him following his injury.

(Kent and I working on balance with a medicine ball)

The other day as Kent was taking a well deserved rest break I couldnt help but notice all of the other gym goers and what they were doing.

While I commend any and all who take the initiative to begin an exercise plan and live a healthier lifestyle, It's hard to stand by and watch improper form that could lead to injury, or incorrect instruction from a friend/family member, or watching time after time the motions of the hamster wheel.

It's more often than not these above described individuals that put in the hours and then become discouraged and quit altogether when results are not had.

I decided to make a list of the 5 most common fitness mistakes as I see them. (This list applies to the temporarily disabled and/or the able bodied)

5. Not having a goal or plan of attack

You have decided that you are going to start going to the gym, but once you are there your not sure where to start.

Many people are overwhelmed when they go to the gym for two reasons.

1. There are so many machines to choose from. Some target cardio, some target specific muscle groups, there are kettlebells, heavy ropes, plyo boxes, steps, TRX suspensions training units....the list goes on and on.

2. There is an intimidation factor. so many decide to go with what they know....The treadmill.

How to correct this mistake

Take advantage of the gyms Personal Trainers.

The trainers should be able to offer you a complimentary screening or even a low cost session or two to learn your way around the gym and come up with a plan for you to follow.

Those of you in wheelchairs can learn from the trainers how to safely use some of the gyms equipment as well. (call ahead to see if the gym is accessible) Once you know how to use the equipment then you can come up with some goals and begin to implement a program to work on directly achieving them.


Do your own research.

There are plenty of tutorials online that you can use as a resource from credible well respected fitness professionals.


Find yourself a Trainer/Fitness Coach.

Meet with a trainer to go over your entire fitness history, health, and goals to come up with long term and short term goals. Then stick with it! someone who is overweight did not get that way overnight, it happened gradually over months or years so don't expect huge changes in short time periods. Consistency in your training will yield you positive results, and when you get to a point where you are showing progress you can start backing off of your trainer visits and just do check ins.

4. Following bro science

The exact opposite of #5 above. You have been going to the gym and are comfortable with all of the equipment and know what they do, but you follow what some of the guys are telling you because they are "Ripped or Huge". Incorrect form or technique with exercises and unnecessary supplementation advice are what follows.

When your at the gym the only thing you should focus on is you. Everybody is different and are at different levels of fitness, and so everyone learns, grows, adapts to different stressors on the body differently. What works for someone might not work for another.

How to correct this mistake

It is important to educate yourself to learn what works best for your body. Do this through instruction/assessment with a personal trainer, research, or trial and error. Following what one guy is doing because of how he/she looks is good way to end up with injury through overtraining, not reach your individual goals or spend way too much money on unnecessary supplementation that is not needed.

(By the way....I feel strongly that the only true supplemenation one needs are 1. Whey protein 2. Creatine and 3. Multi-vitamin.)- take a look at this stronglifts article.....

3. Too much socializing

The gym has become more of a social club and less of a haven of health for you. You know everyone that goes at the same time as you and soon your 1 hour time slot for workouts has actually dwindled down to 15-30 minutes of workouts because you have talked away the other 15-30 minutes.

How to correct this mistake

Bring your headphones, stay focused! You don't have to be rude, but stay on task. Your there for a reason, leave the talking for the end of a workout or schedule a meet outside the gym.

Don't be the person hogging equipment as a footrest for your socializing when there is actually someone trying to keep a sweat up.

2. Spot Reduction Training

One of the most used machines in the gym are usually the abdominal machines, why? because everyone wants to flatten their tummies or "quad guts"

What everyone doesnt know is that it is absolutely impossible to spot train. It cannot be done, there is no way to target losing fat in just one part of your body. No pill, potion, or exercise machine sold on tv will help you to accomplish this.

What ends up happening is, most people target their abdominal muscles which strengthens them and pushes on the abdominal fat which actually gives the appearance of a protruding stomach.

How to correct this mistake

Begin an exercise program that incorporates strength training with some form of cardio training. (Crossfit, Hiit for example) the more lean mass you build the more you will begin to burn fat. Areas with the most stored fat are typically the last to get the effects of fat burning which is why consistency is so important.

Ditch the crunches on the ab machine and opt for some squat jumps, lunges, suicide drills. Training legs is another great way to get rid of stubborn belly fat. The greatest amount of HGH (human growth hormone) is secreted in the body following intense leg workouts. Increased levels of HGH in the body will assist in muscle growth which will increase lean mass and boost metabolism which in turn will burn more fat throughout the day.

(Diet is a big part of this as well, Abs are more so made in the kitchen not the gym)

1. Lack of intensity

Are you reading while your on the stair stepper, talking on the phone while on the treadmill, texting in between reps? if you answered yes to any of these questions then I can guarantee you that your exercise routine is lacking intensity.

The amount of time your at the gym does not matter, it's the amount of work that you put in while your there that counts.

How to correct this mistake

Set a goal to complete your workout in a certain time frame with rest breaks as needed. stay on task! I personally have been wiped and barely able to move following a 15 minute workout over a 1 hour workout. When your workout has little to no rest breaks your metabolism shoots through the roof and some experts say your fat burning or "after burn" maintains at higher levels throughout the day which burns more calories.

As I mentioned earlier these 5 common fitness mistakes are how I see them, and I feel can be corrected for able bodied or temporarily disabled.

If you have any questions or would like further information please comment.

Keep fighting, Never Give up!