Every day you put in the time, the effort, you sweat in the gym yet the results are not showing? There can be a few reasons: poor exercise form, bad workout habits or lack of knowledge when it comes to nutrition and diet all can cost you a number of precious calories.
1. Move the whole body
Holding on for life to the sidebars while walking on the treadmill or the elliptical trainer will cheat you from the largest possible calorie burn! Hold your arms up slightly and move them consciously not by using the power of the machine doing the movement for you.
If you like cycling – take it out, sitting on the static bike while reading a cosmopolitan is not going burn the calories you are hoping for. If you can read a magazine or scroll down your instagram feeds, you are probably not working out hard enough, but instead you are wasting your time while holding on to your calories. Instead try to listen to some music or an audio book.
2. Don’t waste your time
If you are a member of a busy gym with a short time to spare workout, this can also sabotage your goals. Let’s imagine you only have an hour to workout but have to spend about 5-10 minutes waiting to get your turn on a machine. At the end, you probably wasted around 20-30 minutes just waiting around letting your body cool down in between, this negatively impacts the overall quality and effectiveness of your workout. Instead, don’t wait for the equipment to be available – fill the time with other exercises that do not require machine such as sit-ups, planks, or push-ups. If you prefer more of a cardio go for some burpees or star jumps.
3. Skipping stretches or not doing them correctly
Looking fit and strong is one thing, feeling strong and being able to move is a whole another thing. Holding a stretch for only a few seconds does little or nothing to increase your flexibility and it may also result in an injury further along the way. Instead try to hold still for at least 5 breaths – 20 to 30 seconds. What you also have to pay attention to here is doing the stretches correctly, watch videos online, consult with a personal trainer or join a yoga class.
As an example – let’s imagine you are trying to stretch your hamstrings in a forward bend, if you round your back just so you can touch your toes, you are actually preventing your hamstrings from getting stretched, not to mention you also put extra strain on your back. To do the stretch correctly – bend from the hips rather than your back and only reach down to your knees if that’s where you are for starters, if you persist you might surprise yourself how much further you can bent in just a few weeks due to your hamstrings and hips loosening up. Remember, stretching should take place at the end of your workout as a cool down and not in between of exercises.
4. Are you getting tired? Don’t stop!
Giving up with things when they get hard does not work in life and it most certainly isn’t going to work inside the gym either. Simply showing up sometimes isn’t enough either, no results would ever be delivered if you don’t put the extra effort in. Increase the weight, go on for extra 5 minutes, add another 3 reps…whatever it takes to get you outside your comfort zone.
Repeat some positive affirmations to yourself to keep motivated. It has been proven that cyclists who talked positively to themselves, cycled two minutes longer than those who did not. Keep telling yourself: ‘I am strong’ or ‘I can do this’ to get through the tough spots.
5. Exercising on an empty stomach may not be the best idea
Some people claim that exercising on an empty stomach will burn more fat, however having a small 150-calorie snack an hour or two before your workout may go a long way! It will also save you from thinking how hungry you are throughout your whole workout. Researches show that exercisers who ate breakfast before exercising had a significantly higher fat-burning rate compared with those who ate post-workout.
Working on an empty stomach you might not be able to push yourself as intensely or burn as many calories, and you might also lose some muscle mass. A banana and some natural plain yogurt would do the job.
6. Drop the abs!
Spending 30 minutes doing crunches is not going to bring many results. Yes, they might strengthen your abdominal muscles, but most of these are hidden under a layer of fat and crunches are not going to burn much fat. Instead, try exercises that engage your core as a part of your workout routine, natural movement or balancing exercise engaging your entire core and lower back muscles with exercises such as planks and side planks. Exercises that engage and strengthen the abdominal muscles will not only improve your performance but also help reduce injuries and aid with lower back pain.
7. Do I need to rest?
Yes you do, but you don’t need to rest for 2 days after an intense workout. Your muscles do have to work hard to rebuild some torn-down tissues after a hard workout, but that is what will ultimately make you stronger and more sculpted. Intensity is however more important than frequency!If you do feel tried and sore, the worst thing to do would be to rest and let your muscles to get stiff. So on your days off, chose active rest. Try power walking, running, swimming, cycling, yoga, go for a hike or a little walk.
8. Trick your brain!
Over eating is most of the time what sabotages people’s goals. Drinking water before meals will make your stomach feel fuller so you might feel satisfied and feel full while really, you are only 70% full as opposed to 100%.
9. Eat mindfully
This includes healthy, organic food – whole-grains, vegetables, plenty of fruits, legumes, and some natural fat from nuts/ seeds. It is also important to focus and on being with your food while eating it, not getting distracted, not eating too fast and not over eating. Eating natural foods full of fibre will also keep you fuller for longer and secure regular bathroom visits. Aim for complex fibre filled breakfast, lunch and dinner + 3 snacks throughout the day consisting of not more than 100-200 calories + drinking plenty of water.