fitness

6 ways you could be unknowingly sabotaging your workout.

Image via iStock.

Small habits in your exercise routine can have a huge impact on your overall fitness. Sometimes not in a good way. We spoke to fitness expert and director of New Outlook Fitness, Nat Carter, about how to avoid these sneaky workout saboteurs.

1. Avoiding your weaknesses.

We’ve all been there, you know your weak arms are crying out for a weights session but you’re not strong so you stick to running – you’re good at that so it’s fun. Actively avoiding the areas you know you could improve on is not going to help you become fitter.

“It’s just another form of procrastination. No one likes to focus on their weaknesses or flaws but we also don’t benefit from avoiding them or sweeping them another the rug,” explains Carter.

“Rather than putting all your weaknesses into one workout, factor them into your current workout once or twice in your ‘workout’ week. Once you can nail them, find another weakness to crush,” Carter explains.

2. Not paying attention to recovery.

One of the biggest ways we can sabotage a workout doesn’t actually happen during a session, but rather when it’s done. Not focusing on how we wind down our muscles after a workout, or what we fuel our body with beforehand, will affect your performance.

“Our body is an awesome piece of machinery, but we need to look after it properly to maintain energy levels and prevent injury. It’s so important that you factor in your down time. This means getting a minimum of seven to eight hours sleep each night, providing your body with whole food nutrition, fuelling your workouts and avoiding low calorie diets,” Carter explains.

Not having the proper recovery can ruin your workout. (Image via iStock.)

3. Texting and checking social media.

You wouldn't go into a business meeting updating your Instagram or talking selfies would you? So avoid it in the gym.

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"Treat your workout as an important meeting with yourself. It's all about getting your workout done and distractions like Facebook, Instagram or your emails, will only slow you down and prevent you from seeing results faster," Carter says.

(Image via iStock.)

4. Allowing too much time for recovery.

Just as not having enough recovery can be bad for your workout, so can having too much of it.

"You've heard the saying 'too much of a good thing' - well this can be true when it comes to recovery. Yes, it's essential to have rest but your week on week off basis is far too long. 72 hours would be at the further end of time for recovery and in this situation we're talking for the more elite individuals with a full training schedule. For your average gym goer, three to four times a week, you will be fine with a day on, day off basis," explains Carter.

When we spend a lot of our time sitting for our jobs, we need to prioritise moving. (Post continues after gallery.)

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5. Having a set routine.

It's cliched but it's true: variety is the spice of life. If your exercise regime consists of a 20 minute walk four times a week, it's important to prioritise switching things up to increase your fitness.

"Within a four to six week period, you should try out different styles of workouts, however always keep in mind one base goal," explains Carter.

So if your goal is "strength" this might include a weights schedule where you gradually increase the weight and intensity of your moves over the time period. If it's "running fitness", you can set yourself a range of cardio session (skipping, running and interval training) to get you there.

6. Bailing on your workout.

"Too many women go on this crazy internal fight with themselves when they don't see results. They list a multitude of reasons fitness failed them but many times it's the other way around- you gotta give old fitness some time. It's the small sum of effort, day in and day out that will give you great results. So stop the mind games, put your headphones and get moving," Carter says.

Our advice? Even if you've only got a 10 minute walk in you, lace up your shoes and head outdoors, it'll do wonders.

Are you guilty of any of these?

You can read more about Nat Carter on her website, New Outlook Fitness. 

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