As beginners, many of us are apprehensive to go and get out there and start our fitness journey. This anxiety is related not just to the fact that we are doing something way out of our comfort zone but there are many other factors associated with it.
We may not be confident enough to start our training, we may become conscious of the fact that people may judge us, that we may be doing something wrong, plus no one wants to look like a fool in front of others. No matter what the reason there are some mistakes that the majority of us are guilty of.
And even if you are an experienced person does not mean that you may not be making these mistakes, you may not be aware of them or simply it may not have affected you and so you didn’t give it a thought! Nevertheless, it is always better to be aware of these mistakes so that it becomes possible for you to avoid them.
Mistakes indeed make men perfect but why always learn lessons the hard way! So read ahead to find out if you are making any of these mistakes while you train and be sure you don’t do them henceforth.
Mistake No 1
Underestimating the Importance of Right Breathing Techniques.
When we first start training our main focus is on our form and technique. We aim to get that right after which we focus on lifting heavier weights or increasing the training volume. Seldom are we told that when we exercise it is equally essential for us to pay attention to the way we breathe.
Not many follow this and hence this knowledge is rarely or never passed down. However, we must understand these breathing techniques as they will help in providing the body with maximum amounts of oxygen that help in increasing your workout quality as well as recovery.
The most common mistake people frequently make with breathing while stretching or exercising is to hold their breath and/or breathe shallow and rapidly. Neither of these techniques, especially breath-holding, should ever be done during activity due to both decreased performance and an increased risk of injury.
One of the most highly effective breathing techniques that can be utilized is to inhale on the “way down” and exhale on the “way up”. To practice, this technique inhale deeply for a count of two and then exhale for a count of two. For example, during a chest press, you would breathe in (count 1 then 2) as you lower the bar down toward your chest, then breathe out (count 1 then 2) as you push the bar up and straighten your elbows. The key is to keep breathing – fill those lungs! (1)
Mistake No 2
Wearing incorrect footwear to the gym, mostly running shoes during Weight Training
This mistake is frequently committed by many gymgoers. Basically, attire and that too correct type of footwear would be the least on our minds when we join the gym. The main reason for this may be that we do not really know that there is a difference between running shoes and gym shoes.
We may go for the fanciest option or choose the most trending brand but the key here is the functionality. Wrong shoes may increase your chances of injury and also put undue pressure on your leg joints.
The main difference between these two types of shoes is that the sole of the training shoes is more flexible allowing for movements in all directions while that of running shoes allows movement more in the forward direction. Also, the distance from the heel to the toes is more in the running shoes and this may have extra cushioning for a more effective running experience. Training shoes are flatter.
Mistake No 3
Overdoing the intensity in each session. (For example, trying to lift weight close to 1RM every session)
As we start seeing progress in our bodies and losing weight and as we start lifting heavier we are usually tempted to lift the same in every training session. Some of us may aim for the highest weight every time we lift. And although this may be a big confidence booster it is not always good for our bodies. as important it is for our muscles to experience the micro-tears in form of exercise, it is equally important for the muscles to rest and undergo a period of recovery in form of lesser training intensity.
Hence, lifting close to 1 RM every training session is not advisable.
Overdoing the intensity will not only decrease the recovery but it is not sustainable in the long run either. You may start feeling fatigued. Also, if you are not able to lift that much it may even negatively affect your motivation.
You should understand that your progress is not necessarily measured by the amount you lift. A simple gain in confidence or your old clothes fitting better is also progress!
Mistake No 4
Not spending enough time on Flexibility Training
Flexibility training is very important even when you are lifting weights. It is may not help you in weight loss per se but it has its own added benefits. And this part is something that many gymgoers commonly fail to do as we are more focused on completing the workout. flexibility training can be incorporated into your workout routine as a part of your warm-up and cool-down.
The right warm-up will loosen your muscles and tendons to increase the range of motion of various joints, and literally warm up the body. It will start by increasing body heat and blood flow. Warm muscles and dilated blood vessels pull oxygen from the bloodstream more efficiently and use stored muscle fuel more effectively.
Similarly, a proper cool-down will get all your physiological parameters back to normal. It is recommended that you send at least 10 to 15 minutes towards warm-up and cool down respectively. This gets us to the next mistake as to what stretches are to be performed during warm-up and cool down respectively.
Mistake No 5
Doing Static Stretches at the start of a Resistance Training Session.
Static stretching should be incorporated into your cool-down routine but we commonly perform them during the warm-up and this is wrong. Now the difference between the two is that dynamic stretching involves mobilizing the body parts or engaging in some form of movement while static stretching involves no movement whatsoever.
Due to the motion, dynamic stretching will increase the body temperature and thus help in warm-up while static stretching will help in cooling down by decreasing the heart rate.
Interchanging them can prove to be potentially harmful to the body as static stretching at the start will not warm your body resulting in increasing the chances of injury while training.
The most effective way to reduce these mistakes while training is to enroll yourself under a personal trainer who can not only recommend exercises based on your goals but also make you aware of your mistakes pre-emptively and help you to either correct or avoid them.
Let us know in the comments section which mistakes among these were you making during your training. We sincerely hope you will not make these mistakes again!
Pankaj Narsian (INFS Faculty)
Dr Pooja Nilgar (Content writer and editor)
- Devor, S. T. et al. (no date) ‘Proper Breathing During Exercise: Importance for Safety and Performance’.