Workout Mistakes Even Pros Make from Workout Mistakes Even Pros Make
Workout Mistakes Even Pros Make
Workout Mistakes Even Pros Make
No one is perfect, and no successful athlete has ever gotten to his or her elite level without a few bumps along the way. The one thing that puts seasoned trainers and gym-goers under the same denominator with beginners is mistakes. Everybody makes them; and some are more common than others, no matter how many years of experience you have. Even the professionals can make errors when trying to build muscle and strength,” Jeff Yellin DPT,CSCS, USA-W, ART, Partner and Regional Clinical Director at Professional Physical Therapy, says. “The key to success in the gym is variability and consistency.” Mistakes are part of a learning curve.
Too much cardio in too little time
“Too much of any particular type of exercise in too short of time, especially without adequate prior strength and endurance, can always increase one’s risk of injury,” Jeff Yellin DPT,CSCS, USA-W, ART, Partner and Regional Clinical Director at Professional Physical Therapy, says. “With professional athletes, it might seem as though their workouts are what got them to the highest level and thus a good strategy might seem to be to copy what they are doing,” he adds. Do yourself a favor and don’t.
Many reps with heavy weights
Anytime someone uses heavy weights to exercise, the risk of injury is higher, Yellin says. Lifting heavy weights is one of the best ways to build pure strength and increase muscular size, he adds, but the keys to making sure the heavy weights do not result in injuries are: Make sure you have a solid foundation of strength prior to increasing to heavier weights; ensure your form does not break down when lifting the heavy weights; and provide yourself with adequate rest and nutrition between workouts. “Lifting heavy weights too frequently with improper form is a sure fire way to end up at the doctor’s office,” Yellin says.
Not eating enough carbs
Carbohydrates are an athlete’s main source of energy for workouts and sports activity,” Yellin says. Although there may be times throughout the year when carbohydrate intake levels can be manipulated in order to alter body composition during an off-season, it is imperative that athletes eat enough carbs during their sport season to perform optimally, he adds. “If not, [they] risk higher rates of injury and poor performance due to altered mechanics and timing sequencing from quicker muscular fatigue.”
Compare to other pros
Even people who have established regular exercising and training habits watch the pros and expect to be able to either achieve their same level of performance or perform at a similar intensity as the pros’ workouts. “Their mistake is frequently made of expecting the same results in a short amount of time, or at all,” Yellin says. “Too often, they do not take the time to establish a solid foundation of strength prior to engaging in their types of intense workouts as the pros did for many years beforehand.”
Slow, controlled movements while lifting weights is a great method for working the muscles and minimizing injury and stress on the tendons and joints, Yellin says. But look around the gym and you’ll see that even the regulars move too quickly. The slow pace helps build a solid foundation of strength and conditioning, and helps teach the correct form when working out so injuries are avoided.
Not working on what they need to improve
Often, the pros develop muscle and strength in an environment that provides positive feedback and reinforcement, Yellin says. “They like to succeed and hate to fail.” It is for that reason that they may shy away from working on the things they are not good at during gym training, he adds. “Be sure to focus on your weaknesses and prioritize these as goals early on during your workout, while you have the most energy and time.”
Sleep is a huge component during one’s training. “It is the time when your muscles have a chance to recover from their intense workouts,” Yellin says. The task of juggling training with regular jobs and caring for family makes finding time for sleep quite difficult. Understand that not every workout has to be performed with all-out intensity, Yellin adds. “On days when you are more exhausted than normal due to poor sleep the night before or a stressful work day, a full on rest day can be beneficial for recovery.”
It’s easy to get into the trap of training too much, especially if you feel fine. Pain isn’t always the first indicator that you’re hurt. Overuse injuries are very common. “The key is knowing your body and what you can withstand during a workout, and adjusting accordingly based on how you feel during the workout,” Yellin says. When beginning a workout program, always start out slow and gradually increase the intensities and volume over time, as you understand how your body responds to your training,” he adds.
Professionals often don’t have the option of taking days off, as it is their job and source of income, and they can feel the scrutiny of not being on the field from the media and fans, Yellin says. “There are always other athletes gunning for their jobs so they need to stay healthy and perform.” Some of the things that the pros can do are: Ensure a good off-season training regimen for building adequate strength and healing from lingering injuries; manage their working intensities during practices, and optimize their sleep and nutrition, Yellin says.
Cutting calories too fast
Everyone at some point in their training has made the mistake of cutting too much food from their regular diet. Getting in optimal shape is not about eating less; it’s about the quality of the food you consume. Eating too little may result in lost fat, but you will lose muscle first, which will lead to a much slower metabolism as the body literally thinks it’s starving.
“I see a lot of clients that haven't been informed or have not practiced their focus on breathing during their reps,” Ahmed Tafti, Personal Trainer & Fit Body Bootcamp owner, says. “Too many people hold their breath during the movement instead of breathing out on the positive movement and breathing in on the negative.” He or she will usually feel lightheaded, lose energy quickly, and potentially hurt themselves without breathing properly, he adds.
Not visualizing muscle activation to targeted specific muscles is another common mistake, Tafti says. He sees too many gym-goers going through a movement mindlessly. “This keeps them from engaging or isolating the proper muscles that are meant to be activated.” As a result, clients tend to use other muscles to compensate for their week ones. “This opens them up to injury, and slows down the process of building strength,” he adds.
Lacking a partner
There are days when you don’t feel like training, and sometimes you won’t. This is where the training buddy comes in. He or she can talk some sense into you, so you don’t get into a vicious cycle of feeling tired and not exercising, causing you to regress. A motivated partner is enormously helpful as he or she will push your limits, helping you become better at what you do. They can also make the workout fun.