Let’s be real — working out isn’t fun. The results and feeling you get after you work and get your fitness on are, which makes it more than frustrating when time and effort is put in only to yield zero results.
Steer clear of these workout mistakes most women tend to make and bask in bikini-bod glory when you begin to see the real differences these small fixes can do to your routine.
1. Crunching it up constantly
We all want that flat and toned tummy, so the more crunches the better, right? Nope! Crunches and sit ups will only take you so far. There is no such thing as spot-reducing fat–all abdominal exercises do it spot-build muscle. Plus, if you perform the same exact ab exercises over and over, you will dive straight into a plateau and get nowhere. Instead, add in some variation with planks, or compound moves that target multiple areas along with your core, like squats, leg raises, or dead lifts.
2. Thinking cardio is king
Next time you hit the gym take a look around and you’ll notice a gender divide: cardio machines ruled by women and the weights area as man territory. Sure, cardio is great, but once again, sticking to only one type of exercise can only get you so far. Cardio is the best way to shed fat, but as far as getting toned and lifted… this won’t help.
3. Fear of weights
Since we’re on this topic of divides in gyms, it must be said: women need to stop with this fear of weights! Lifting will not bulk you up, promise. Even if getting toned isn’t your main goal now it is still very helpful for losing overall weight. The more muscle a person has, the quicker fat burns. When you have muscle, you burn more calories even when simply resting. Ever notice how much quicker it is for guys than women to lose weight in general? This is because men naturally have a higher muscle to fat ratio, making the process easier. Drop those tiny 3 pound dumbbells, challenge yourself, and lift!
4. Focusing on quantity over quality
Going to the gym is never a competition–all those squats are pointless if you don’t take proper form. Any workout move is. Remember that your workout isn’t meant to impress that cute guy across the squat rack–it is meant as a time for yourself. Perform quality reps for maximum results and spend less time wasted on junky filler reps.
5. Not eating enough, or at the right time
In order to avoid overcompensating for workouts (“Oh, I worked out today, so I can treat myself with extra dessert!”) it’s common for people to cut down a lot on caloric intake. Usually it’s the cuts are too much. Diet is an huge, integral component of making changes for your body, so eat up on good, nourishing food that fuel your body. Eating something small post workout is also very important, as your body needs nutrients to recover and it helps kick up your metabolism.
6. Not drinking enough water
Did you know that about 75% of Americans are dehydratedwithout even realizing it? And that dehydration can cause you to gain weight, slow down metabolism and even store toxins in fat cells? Drink up, especially as the summer approaches! Ideally, it is best to aim for half your weight in ounces. Example: For someone who weighs 120 pounds, they should try to drink 60 ounces of water.
7. Over doing it
When you start getting back into the workout groove, you’re pumped and determined to run 10 miles every day, plus yoga class every other day, and weights four times a week! Yeah, scratch that plan. If you kick start with such a heavy routine, especially as a beginner, you will wear yourself out way too quickly. It just ends up being discouraging and back to lazing on the couch you’ll go.Remember, consistency is key, so even if your routines don’t compare to Instagram famous workout gurus, if it’s challenging enough for you, be consistent and proud that you’re actually doing something.
Photo credit: adapted from blacklerphotos | Flickr