We barely set aside enough time to get ourselves to the gym considering how busy we are. Then, when we finally get there, it’s not uncommon to feel either exhausted from all the running around or totally unmotivated. But if we’re not approaching our workout with at least a little bit of enthusiasm, we might lose out on some of the major benefits exercising has to offer: sharper concentration and memory, better sleep patterns, more energy throughout the day, and happier moods.
No matter how cranky you were before you got there, going to the gym is pretty much a guarantee for feeling a bit more vibrant, with a bit more pep in your step. All those endorphins in your body make for a better mood than before, that’s for sure. The small mistakes you make at the gym definitely won’t cost you those endorphins, but if you keep making them over and over again, you could slow down all the progress you’re trying to make — or at the very least, you could get so bored that you stop working out altogether. And that’s never a good thing.
1. You do the same workout every time you go.
We’re creatures of habit, and that fact rings true in every part of our life. But that’s not necessarily a good thing when it comes to working out. If you’re doing the same routine every single time you get to the gym, you’re not going to make any progress. Your body will get used to all the movements, and you won’t build the stamina and strength you desire.
Look up some new workouts, add in a few differences here and there, and mix it up! Your muscles will have to keep guessing, which means they’ll only get stronger.
2. You take a lot of breaks during your workout.
We know, there’s a lot to catch up on when it comes to social media, and sometimes we make the mistake of using our gym time to see what the latest on Twitter is. Try to get yourself out of that habit, though, because if you take too many breaks, your heart rate will just come back down to resting over and over again. And then you’re not getting the same cardiovascular benefits, you’re not building up the strength in your muscles, and it just won’t amount to much of a workout at all.
3. You never lift weights or do strength training.
A lot of women make the mistake of only doing cardio because they’re afraid they’ll turn into muscle heads with massive biceps if they lift weights. But even workout queen Jillian Michaels herself says this is a big no-no. Don’t be scared of the strength training. It builds and maintains lean muscle mass, gives you good bone density, boosts your metabolism, and burns fat way better than a treadmill can. You won’t bulk up unless you’re trying to lift like an Olympian. If you don’t know where to start, take a resistance training class or do a session with a personal trainer.
4. You leave all your makeup on your face.
You might think leaving that blush and foundation on won’t make much of a difference while you sweat it out. But dermatologists highly recommend removing all the gunk off your face before you start a workout, because all your makeup could clog your pores and cause inflammation. Even the non-comedogenic kind will sink into your pores, aggravate your skin, and potentially cause acne to appear. Um, no thanks. Take some makeup remover wipes with you.
5. You don’t stretch properly after your workout is over.
You’re so happy to finally be done that you just rush outta there, right?! Hang on a second. You’ve heard it a million times, but it’s true. You should really set aside the time to stretch before you head out, which will protect the muscles you’ve just used and prevent injury. Keep in mind that flexibility is just as important as strength, so don’t think that mindlessly stretching the wrong way (yep, there’s a wrong way to stretch) will do the trick. Put some time and effort into it.
6. You never work out with other people.
Being a loner at the gym has its benefits. You listen to your own music and don’t have to be bothered by anyone. But having a workout buddy can significantly improve your performance and get you moving and sweating in a way you never did on your own. When you know you’re meeting someone at the gym, the chances of you blowing off the workout are a lot slimmer. Exercising with a partner guarantees you’ll just be more motivated in general as well.
7. You don’t drink water during the workout.
You have to hydrate! We repeat, you have to hydrate! Bring your water bottle with you and fill it up at the fountain. If you’re parched while you’re at the gym, you won’t be able to do as much, and you’ll probably end the workout early because you just don’t have that much energy left. You don’t need to drink that much water when you’re exercising, but you should have about eight ounces every 15 minutes.
8. You’re not having any fun.
We know the gym may not seem like the most fun place on the planet, but it’s not meant to be a time of punishment. If you’re not enjoying your workout at all, that probably means you’re doing the wrong kind of exercise. It’s crucial to have fun while you’re working out. Find the right workout for you, whether it’s lifting weights, doing Crossfit, doing yoga, or attending a cycling class. If you don’t love it, you won’t do it.