Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health, strength and fitness, and home workouts are incredibly convenient! However, in order to reap the benefits of your at home workouts, it’s important to make sure you’re not making one of these 10 mistakes.
#1 Doing Too Much Too Soon
If you’re working out at an advanced level right from the start, despite being out of the fitness game for months or years, you’re destined to overtrain and injure yourself. I recommend beginners pace themselves with their workouts (3 times a week is a good start, for 30-60 minutes each workout). As their fitness levels increase, they can then add more workouts to their routine, while being sure to still allow for rest days.
#2 Not Pushing Yourself Enough
Your workouts should challenge you and make you sweat, leaving that feel-good endorphin rush at the end of the session. If you’re not feeling challenged, it’s time to consider if you either need to increase your weights, or if you need to incorporate some more dynamic moves into your workouts. If you’re always modifying certain exercises to the easier version (for example, push-ups on knees), it might be time to get up on those toes! Likewise, if you’re doing cardio or HIIT, make sure you’re putting in the effort rather than going through the motions.
#3 Not Taking a Day Off
You don’t win any prizes for not taking a day off! In fact, not taking a day off hinders your progress, because it’s during your rest phase that muscle growth and repair can happen. Exercising without having a day off puts too much stress on the body, reduces the effectiveness of your workouts, and increases the risk of injury.
#4 Lifting Too Light
If you want to increase your strength and build muscle when working from home, you need to make sure that you’re progressively increasing your weights. This can be done by slowly increasing the heaviness of your weights when things start to get a little too easy. Just make sure you keep an eye on your form as you level up, and don’t try to increase your weights too quickly.
#5 Lifting Too Heavy
If you’ve ever been to a gym, you’ve probably already noticed people who are lifting too heavy. They’re swinging the weights to get some momentum to help them lift, and they’ve lost proper form. Not only is the muscle not being worked properly, but this is a recipe for injuries. It’s really important to be honest with yourself about where you’re at and never worry about what anyone else is lifting. Pay attention to your form, the last rep should be difficult but your posture shouldn’t suffer!
#6 Doing Too Much Cardio
People who are trying to lose fat often overfocus on cardio and forget that strength training also plays a vital role when it comes to fat loss. Cardio has enormous health benefits, including the fact that you burn serious calories. But it doesn’t help you with strength gains, so it needs to only be part of your overall workout program, not the whole thing. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, improving your strength means having a higher metabolism. This makes it easier to lose excess fat.
#7 Doing Too Little Strength Training
The basic premise of strength training is to overload the muscle, so that it needs to adapt to make it stronger. Strength training is the best way to change your body composition, giving you that ‘toned’ look. It promotes bone health as we age, and as mentioned above, muscle burns more calories than fat which means that improving your strength also means improving your metabolism. No matter what your health and fitness goals are, you really shouldn’t skip the strength training.
#8 Taking Breaks That are Too Long Between Sets
You need the breaks between sets, but keep an eye on the clock! According to research, the optimal rest period for increasing muscular endurance is less than 2 minutes. This can be easily eaten up by scrolling on your phone if you’re not paying attention! Rest intervals can be as short as 20 seconds and still provide benefit when endurance is your goal.
#9 Doing The Same Workout Routine Every Day
The human body is a master at adaption. If you want to continue to make strength and fitness gains, it’s important to mix things up. Doing the same workout over and over again can also eventually lead to muscle imbalances.
#10 Not Having a Plan
Starting a workout without a set plan can lead to wasted time and reduced efficiency. Also, not setting aside time for a workout and assuming you’ll “just fit it in” somewhere during the day can also be a problem, as if we don’t priortise our workouts they seldom happen! Remember that while you have to put in the effort in the beginning to plan your workouts (both when they’ll happen and what you’ll be doing), it will become easier as you go.
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