by Harmony Heffron

With the best intentions you go to the gym, working out hard to get the results you want.  You try to do all the right things while there to maximize your results and minimize your chance of injury. Of course, you stretch before you start, wear appropriate shoes (do NOT wear construction boots on a treadmill) and listen to your body, right? Injuries are all-too easy to receive.

Before you pat yourself on the back too hard though, here are a few common gym mistakes you might not have thought about:

1) Not Eating. Lots of people don’t eat before going to the gym. They think by having no fuel in their stomachs they will burn up extra body fat instead. This is a huge mistake. Not having enough fuel in your body can lead to shaking and dizziness. Your body will also not have much energy to work with, making it more likely that you will exercise less, giving up early because you feel tired.

2) Becoming Dehydrated. When you exercise you sweat right? Sweat is mostly water. So water (sweat) leaving your body, combined with not drinking enough water, equals dehydration. I know this sounds simple but if you are working out in a warm environment or are hitting the sauna you are more likely to become dehydrated as you work out. This can cause cramping, stress your internal organs, and cause you to feel ‘out of it’ and distracted, raising the risk of injury. Don’t try walking to the water fountain more often,  this will only distract you from your workout and give your body too much time to cool off if you’re working on a cardio routine. Bring water bottles with you, keep them next to you, and sip from them OFTEN.

3) Not Taking Time Off. The harder you work the better the results will be. This may be true at the office, true when you’re studying for a test, true when fixing up your house, but it is NOT always true at the gym. I know this will be hard to hear for some gym rats, but you have to take some time off every once in a while. Rest days are important chances for your body to repair itself and build new muscles. If you are feeling tired after you work out, you probably need a rest. Working out should make you feel energized and healthier.  If you’re not feeling this way it’s your body’s way of saying that you’re pushing it too hard.

4.) Becoming Bored. Boredom doesn’t sound too dangerous but it can destroy even the most dedicated Spartan’s workout. Having the same routine for too long, doing too many exercises you secretly hate, or just having a case of the winter doldrums are all common culprits. One day you go to the gym with enthusiasm, the next you’re trying to think of any excuse that you possibly can to stay home. Thankfully there are things you can do to try to fight off the foe of ambition. Try varying your routine, not only will it help you keep things interesting, but you’ll probably end up exercising some different muscles your previous routine wasn’t using. Getting a new gym partner or listening to new music or podcasts while working out can also be good ways to shake things up. If your gym offers any classes, this can be one of the best ways to get out of your exercise slump. Even if it isn’t something you’d usually take, try it at least once. Either you’ll find something new you love to do or you’ll have such s horrible time you’ll be THANKFUL to return to your old, boring routine.

And the best way that I can think of to beat the boredom blues is to get out and do a Spartan Race.  You’ll stay motivated as you train for the race and you can rest assured that you will NOT be bored on race day.

Picture credit: kaiafitsacramento

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