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Fitness and Health

Fitness and health go hand in hand, and this section of our health library is devoted to exploring the relationship between these two very important aspects of life.

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The 3 Biggest Fitness Mistakes



The 3 Biggest Fitness Mistakes

When people get into a fitness craze, they tend to freak out and get crazy with pumping iron and living at the gym. Some of these trends seem to be more frequent than others, but the reality is, most of it just isn’t necessary.

Courtesy of our fitness expert, here are some of the 3 biggest fitness mistakes and how they can be fixed and avoided.

3. The Need for Speed

Many people prefer to power quickly through a workout, or like to run 5 miles right off the bat. Although this may seem like a good idea, speed doesn’t automatically mean you are receiving the greatest benefit from your workout.

“The proper technique, and gradually building up your endurance are much more important than speed or rushing to do a bunch of exercises at once,” says Sean Wells, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA and the fitness expert at BistroMD. “You won’t see any benefit from rushing technique or from trying to do too much, too fast.”

One of the biggest mistakes Sean notices has to do with technique. Too often, people think they are doing an activity right, when they are actually putting themselves at risk for injury.

“Muscle strains often occur when you rush through a set of exercises too quickly,” says Sean. “Always pay attention to the quality of your form and technique—not the quantity.”

When doing squats, for example, make sure you always bend at the knee, stick your butt out, and that your neck and back are straight. This prevents injury and avoids neck and back strain.

This is also why warming up and cooling down are so important. Sometimes, people will rush to get to the gym, blow off their warm up, and then wonder why they are so sore or have injuries.

“Warming up and cooling down is a must for every workout, and shouldn’t be rushed through or brushed to the side,” says Sean. “Warming up and cooling down prevents soreness, and reduces the risk of injury to your muscles, like tearing.”

2. Sticking to Your Guns

Sometimes if someone feels like a certain exercise is giving them all the glory, they will just stick to their guns and do the same routine over and over. While you want to have some repetition in your workout, repeating the same activities constantly is not going to help you.

“More often than not, many people avoid cross-training and do the same routine, over and over again,” says Sean. “If you do the same routine over and over, this leads to muscle strain because the same muscles and muscle groups are being used.”

The best place to start is with a well-balanced blend of both strength-training and cardio. Every routine is different for every individual, so it may be best to ask a professional before taking the plunge.

“It really also depends on what your purpose is for exercising,” says Sean. “If you are training for an event, your regimen could be far more intense than someone who is just doing it for fun. Get your purpose in mind, first, and then start from there.”

For the average Joe who just wants to get fit, Sean recommends sticking with a 5 day per week schedule, with alternating days between cardio, resistance training and strength training. As the weeks go by, however, you need to change the intensity and the exercises involved in your specific workout.

1. The “Exercise-Diet” Syndrome

Although this mistake isn’t completely fitness related, it’s one of those things that is becoming more and more common: it’s the "exercise diet" syndrome.

“Exercise is not a free pass to eat whatever you want,” says Sean. “Many people think that if they exercise every day for hours upon hours, they will be able to maintain their physique. This is not the case."

The bottom line is you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. If you eat a 1,000 calorie cheeseburger, it’s going to take at least an hour to burn off those extra calories. The best kind of diet is one that is going to help you maintain a healthy metabolism.

“Exercise is never intended to be a replacement for a healthy diet, and it shouldn’t be,” says Sean. “Your body simply won’t be able to keep up with the pace of eating whatever you like.”

For more tips from our experts, please visit our healthy facts section for more information.

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