7 worst fitness mistakes women make
Exercise errors women need to avoid
It can be so frustrating for some women to continually make the effort to go to the gym after work, or head out for a run three or four times a week and yet see no discernible difference in your body shape. But why is nothing happening for them and what can they do to fix it? Well here are some potential reasons why the perfect body still eludes some of us....
Having a cake and a coffee afterwards
Okay. So I am going to put my hand straight up here and admit that one of my favourite things to do after a workout is to sit and have a coffee and a cake. The trouble is, by doing that you are probably packing away 500-600 calories that you may not have burned off. A nice cappuccino can account for 300 calories and even a skinny muffin is bound to be around the 250 mark. Even if you’ve worked out for an hour, at best you are replacing the calories you’ve burned off. At worst, you will be in calorie deficit, as your workout calorie burn will be lower than your treat. Ooops.
Underestimating the amount of calories burned
This leads nicely on to the next point and that is underestimating the amount of calories we burn. We like to treat ourselves to that cake because we think that by popping on some lycra and heading out of the door for a power walk or a run, we have burned a lot of calories. The trouble is, we may not have worked quite as hard as we think. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, just increasing your pace slightly can have a profound effect on the effectiveness of your workout. A woman who weighs around 150 pounds will burn around 140 additional calories an hour, just by increasing her walking speed from two and half miles an hour to 4 mph. So the message here is speed up to tone up.
Holding on to the treadmill while running or trying to pull and push on the elliptical trainer while you work out, are just two of the major mistakes women can make if they use gym equipment. Poor technique not only inhibits your calorie and fat burn, it also exposes you to the risk of injury. For instance a lower back problem can be the end result if you don’t get it right on the rowing machine, while your hamstrings are in peril if the seat of the exercise bike is set at the wrong height for you. It’s really important to concentrate on technique and the muscle groups you should be working on. If you have any doubts, then talk to an instructor at the local gym.
Fear of weights
While men run at a dead sprint to the weights area and love to parade happily in front of the wall-sized mirror, women tend not to. In fact a lot of women are scared to death of lifting heavy weights. Why? Because they worry that reps of anything too heavy will turn them into the incredible dreaded bulk. It really won’t. The male hormone testosterone is what contributes to increased body mass associated with weight training in men, while the female hormone oestrogen prohibits the ability of muscles to bulk up in the same way. Ignoring weight training also means women are missing out on significant health and fitness benefits. It’s a fantastic way of burning calories and fat, and a stronger body and core makes you injury resistant. Plus, stronger muscle and increased bone mass will help combat the risk of osteoporosis.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of jumping onto the treadmill, popping on some headphones and doing a steady workout in the fat burning zone while catching up with your favourite soap or indeed The Kardashians. The trouble is you need to push your body to really burn calories. Although you will burn fat and calories according to the machine’s calculations, interval training is the best way of getting the most out of your workout. Periods of intense training activity followed by active recovery are the best way to go. If you’re reading a book on the treadmill or glued to the TV, the chances are, you probably aren’t working as hard.
Expecting too much too quickly can be another trap it’s easy to fall into. Having made the decision to get fit it can be frustrating to not to see quick results. The temptation is to do far too much, too soon and then lose interest when you haven’t dropped a dress size in a fortnight. It takes time and commitment to get a killer six pack and you just won’t achieve it simply by doing 100 crunches every day. So brace yourself for the long haul when it comes to getting fit. You need to commit to doing exercise regularly and repeatedly, but you will get results in the end.
Aiming your fitness guns at one particular part of the body is another common mistake. You really do need to lose any excess body fat before you can target one area in particular and try and turn it into muscle. Plus, doing the same workout day in day out becomes monotonous and can lead to a loss of motivation. So keep it fresh with plenty of variety, including indoor and outdoor exercise. It will get you where you need to go in the end.