Whether you’re new to the gym or have been going for years, there are some errors that even experienced gym-goers make time and time again. Not only can this lead to boredom or lack of results, you could be increasing your risk of injury.
If you’ve reached a plateau in your training or you’re not getting where you want to be fast enough, there’s a good chance you’re making at least one of these mistakes. It’s time to get it right, with the help of celebrity trainer and founder of 5 Star Bootcamp, Danni Levy. With her advice, you can reboot your workouts to get the results you want – pronto!
1. Don’t spend hours on one cardio machine
‘Cardio is central to fat loss, but if you spend more than 50 per cent of your workout time on it, think again,’ says Levy. To really improve your shape, weight train. Your body will drain its glycogen stores doing weights, so if you do 20 minutes of cardio afterwards your body will switch to burning fat.
2. Don’t hide at the back of a class
‘While group exercise is a great way to have fun and get fit, many of us join classes without being given any guidance on technique,’ says Levy. ‘When classes are large, instructors can’t be expected to notice every single movement of every single person, so if you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to get yourself noticed! Bad form will not only cancel out the effects of all your hard work, but lead to poor posture, lack of enjoyment and possible injury. Instructors are there to do just that: instruct. So don’t be embarrassed to ask!’
3. Don’t just use fixed machines
We’ve all been there; you join the gym, an instructor shows you round the fixed resistance machines and you receive your new exercise programme – all on machines! ‘Although fixed machines do serve a purpose, especially for beginners, you’ll get more from your time and effort if you do a dumbbell or body weight circuit,’ says Levy. ‘Many machines isolate one muscle, which means you burn fewer calories and work fewer muscles. Plus, if you’re not using a machine, you’ll work your core, which helps to build a more functional body.’
4. Don’t ignore your weaknesses
‘We all have exercises we enjoy more than others, and that’s normally because we’re better at them,’ explains Levy. ‘Take a step back and admit your weaknesses, then set about making them your strengths. If you have slim arms, but your thighs could do with some trimming down, sign up to a Spin class and include more squats and lunges in your programme. Perhaps you carry weight around your midriff? Chop into your waist with dynamic medicine ball movements and cable woodchops. Work on your weak areas and it won’t be long before you become the whole package.’
5. Don’t abandon your goals
‘Working out with a partner or group of friends can be great fun, but if you’re training alongside someone with totally different goals, this can be detrimental to your own progress,’ says Levy. ‘If your fitness levels are unevenly matched, or you enjoy different things, be honest with yourself and your training partner and go your separate ways after the warm-up. You can always enjoy a sauna or coffee together afterwards, or get together every week for a weigh-in and progress review,’ adds Levy. ‘You can still reap the benefits of joining the gym together, you just need to keep your goals in mind.’