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Top Five Gym Mistakes

This is your time to work for your body — you had better make the most of it.

Written by Heather Hemingway-Hales. ACE Certified Personal Trainer
  1. Holding the breath while weight training. You would never hold your breath during a cardio class, so why do so many people do it while pumping iron? Your body needs oxygen delivered to active muscle cells when lifting weights just as much as it does when running. Focus on this: exhale during the effort and inhale during the recovery and relax the facial muscles.
  2. Poor Body Alignment. Frequently I see people practicing Latissimus Dorsi pull-down exercises while leaning back. This puts unnecessary added stress on the lower back that will lead to low back pain and possible injury. Focus on this: keep the spine neutral with the shoulders over the hips and the hips over the feet. It's important to maintain that good posture for nearly every weight training exercise and it requires abdominal stabilization. About three inches below the navel, deep inside your body is the Transverse Abdominis; think of pulling that muscle in and up inside your body.
  3. Doing the same favorite exercises every work out. We have all seen it before: a body with an over trained chest and an under-trained back. This individual must compensate by walking with a slight hinge forward at the hips, reminiscent of a gorilla. Focus on this: Take time to record your workout, looking for body parts you haven't trained and plan to work those muscles or muscle groups next time. If you can't do this on your own, hire a personal trainer to do it for you.
  4. Looking for a quick fix. A friend of mine is an elite triathlete. He told me that his friends at work or church frequently ask him "What's the secret to your success?" The honest answer, and it's no secret, is consistency. If you want results, you must be willing to put in the time and effort to work. Focus on this: Make yourself appointments to be at the gym for a class or a work out knowing that if you break that personal appointment it will cost you good health.
  5. Letting your mind wander. The gym is fun. For many of us, it is the only time we have to be social and chat with our friends. This can become a problem if we waste our gym time 'visiting' and not working. Keep your mind on the goal. In a class, pay attention to the teacher. The teachers want to help you be successful! You may have to ignore your B.F.F. for a few minutes, and promise to catch up with her later. Focus on this: This is your time to work for your body — you had better make the most of it.
Article Reviewed: May 8, 2013
Copyright © 2014 Healthy Magazine

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