All too often I see people, (not always, but typically girls) doing the elliptical or stairmaster in hopes of building a defined lower body, moving straight to an ab workout and leaving the gym. This workout surely breaks a sweat and burns calories, however, it won’t give you the body you’re likely looking for from working out. Here are some gym mistakes I see all too often, and how you can change them to get more results out of your workout. Working out should be an enjoyable experience that is intended to clear your head, and make you feel healthier and more balanced!
1.Doing planks, crunches, and sit-ups everyday do not get you abs!
The way to building defined abs is not through working your core every single time you workout. While building a strong core is critical to physical form and overall strength, the way to defined abs and lower body fat is not strictly through a core workout. In order to build a strong core, you typically should work your core muscles 2-3 times a week, and not in a row. Give your muscles time to repair and rebuild and mix up your workout with circuits focused on time or the number of reps. Building a strong core will only become visible when the body has reached a certain percentage of body fat.
2. Full body circuits are great… Not every time your workout
All too often I see female gym goers move from cardio, to arms, to legs, to abs – every time they are hitting the gym. Full body circuits are great for fast fat burning HIIT circuits, however, not everyday. You have to give your body and muscle groups time to repair after each workout. Try not to work the same muscle group extensively two days in a row. Focus on one muscle group everyday and try to incorporate cardio into your workout 2-4 days a week.
3. Squats are not the only way to build a butt
Doing two traditional style squats, without weights, or with low weights, consistently will never give you the butt you’re likely looking for. Increasing weight periodically, straight leg deadlifts, hip thrusts, split squats, jump squats, leg press and lots of other lower body workouts with variety and varying difficulty will give you the results you may be looking for. Typically, I turn to my favorite Fitness Instagrammer or youtuber for inspiration, because most will post workouts focusing on specific muscle groups and they have very targeted workouts that produce results.
4. Cardio burns fat fast- but lifting weights builds muscle mass, tones your muscles, burns fat, and raises your metabolism
The best way to burn fat and gain muscle is not to do straight cardio. Incorporating light weight lifting in your workouts will likely give you the results you’re looking for, and can significantly improve your metabolism which will increase the rate at which you burn calories at rest. Don’t ditch cardio completely!
5. Lifting will weights will not make you look “manly”
One common misconception of lifting weights as a female may be that your worried that this type of exercising will lead to a more “manly” build, and will take away from your femininity or shape. Unless you begin full on body building, there is nothing to worry about. Lifting weights or incorporating weight training into your workouts will only help accentuate the best parts of your body and appear more toned and lean.
6. No one is looking at you at the gym! Do what you want without feeling judged
When I talk to my friends about working out, one of the things that we always discuss is feeling judged, or feeling like people are looking at you or judging what you may be doing. When I really thought about it, I realized that I was so focused on what I was doing, I was rarely looking at other people, and if I was it was a split second memory that I would likely never think about again. So, there’s no need to worry that what your doing at the gym is weird, unnecessary or even that people are looking at you, because most likely they don’t even notice!
7. Incline Walking is great, but there is a strategy to it
Incline walking for a long time is a great way to burn calories and break a sweat, but it is not effective if you hold the treadmill! It defeats the ultimate purpose of the workout which is to challenge yourself with a consistent uphill pace.