We’re all used to watching reality TV shows with their trainers barking at their clients to “Go harder! Go faster!” and “Push ‘til you drop!”. You could be forgiven if you thought that exercising was all about ‘No pain no gain’ however if you want real, permanent and lasting results to your figure and fitness – nothing could be further than the truth.
Any good fitness program will tell you it’s important for you to include a proper warm up and cool down stretch, and we also discussed how to keep your body guessing with the FITT principle in last week’s article. But here are 7 of the critical workout mistakes you probably don’t even realise you’re making!
Doing way too many crunches
So many girls come to me with the goal of having a flat tummy or a six pack and they tell me they’ve been doing sets of 100 or more different abdominal exercises at the end of their workouts – but they’re wondering why nothing seems to have changed? Well guess what… Crunches are actually really ineffective at creating a flat stomach but really good at creating neck problems and getting strong hip flexors! At the end of the day a good diet that doesn’t make your stomach bloated is the best way to flatten your tummy. The best way to strengthen your tummy is by mixing things and targeting your different abdominal muscles.
- 30 x medicine ball twists for your obliques (side abs)
- 20 x lower leg raises for your rectus abdominus (your six pack abs)
- 10 x 10 second holds – on all fours, suck your belly button into your spine as much as you can until you create a vacuum underneath your ribs (your transverse abs – the internal ones that go around your stomach like a belt )
Only using light weights with high repetitions
It’s great that so many women embrace strength training these days, however you might be only getting a fraction of the benefits if you aren’t pushing your reps to fatigue. Just mucking around with a couple of 2kg hand weights will give you a nice burn after a while, but not really any real strength benefits. A great way to gauge how quickly your body is improving is to find a weight you can complete 12 repetitions where the last few reps are a real strain (without sacrificing your perform form of course!). Then as you get better each week, keep pushing yourself to do one more rep each time until eventually you can complete 15 repetitions at that weight.
Once you’ve reached 15 – woohoo – someone’s getting stronger! Time for you to go up in weight and repeat the 12 to 15 process.
Exercising to punish yourself
Let’s say there’s a piece of chocolate cake calling your name, and you decide to eat it whilst telling yourself, “I’ll just go workout super hard tomorrow”. That’s called ‘bargaining’ and it’s totally a symptom of the All or Nothing cycle. Trust me, unless you want to ricochet between being an obsessed fitness fanatic and a sluggish couch potato – you don’t want to fall down the trap of punishing yourself with exercise because of something you ate.
The reality is – unless you spend about 2 hours sprinting on the treadmill, it’s highly unlikely you’ll actually burn that cake off. On the flip side – it’s very likely that you’ll burn out, give yourself adrenal fatigue (making it even harder to metabolise fat) and start hobbling around with some kind of nasty repetitive strain injury. Instead, find an alternative to that chocolate cake by reaching for a paleo style dark chocolate version, or ask yourself “What am I really starving for?”. It might just be that you need to eat more nourishing food earlier on in the day so you don’t fall victim to that sugar fix in the afternoon.
Advancing too quickly
Sure it’s fun to try new things out, a one legged squat perhaps, or a particularly steep incline ab machine, but here’s the thing – they can also spell out DANGER and that means injury!
Even though it’s not that exciting to take it slow, I can promise you that you will build strength way faster by looking after the foundations of your core and asking a fitness professional to show you the basic building blocks of those exercises.
Trust me, success tastes way sweeter after a little period of hard work, sweat and sacrifice!
Not being balanced
It can be really tempting to go overboard on certain exercises especially if you feel like they’re targeting your “trouble spots”. However, the best way to a fit, healthy and balanced physique – is to train with full body compound exercises that work your body in all planes of movement!
That means theres not really much point to doing standing bicep curls and side raises unless you add a squat in with them or some step ups while you’re doing them. It’s also super important that you don’t overload the front of your body with push ups and squats which creates strength imbalances and niggling injuries. Always ensure you work the back of your body too by working the hamstrings, gluts and all your scapula retraction muscles (they’re those ones that make you squeeze your shoulder blades together).
Chatting too much!
I know we all love having a fitness buddy, but if you can do a cardio session whilst holding a conversation – you’ve failed in activating your anaerobic threshold. That’s the highest level that your body can work out without accumulating lactic acid, and it’s absolutely essential that you keep pushing that level if you want to get fitter.
Here’s a solution for you to get a cracking workout AND have fun with your mates!
- 6 x 400m runs with 90 seconds rest in between.
Disclaimer: You’ll probably be too puffed to want to talk in the rest periods, but atleast you’ll get an incredibly effective work out done super fast and then have plenty of time to look up at the clouds and catch up on the latest goss!
Exercising only for appearance goals instead of performance ones
There are so many girls showing their gorgeous bodies off on instagram which can be super positive if it inspires you to get out and exercise.
However that can be a double edged sword. It’s super easy to feel deflated if you compare the difference between yourself and others (jeez even I’ve been guilty of it, and I’ve been a fitness model and bodysculpting champion!) The problem with exercising with only appearance goals in mind for instance, “I want a flat stomach, or I want to look more toned“ instead of performance goals i.e. “I want to be fit enough I can run 5km without stopping” means that it’s really hard to measure how close or how far away you are from your goals.
S.M.A.R.T goals are a great way to make performance orientated goals. Just ask yourself are your goals smart i.e. Are they…
S – Specific?
M – Measurable?
A – Achievable?
R – Realistic, and have a
T – Time Frame?
Try my SOS Move Challenge:
Get your sporty sister of support and try this session at your local park or oval!
Bianca Aiono believes “Healthy is the new Skinny” and is on a mission to bust the myths of the diet industry and save us from the exhaustion of the weight loss merry-go-round.
The personal trainer, elite Crossfitter and former international body shaping champion has simplified her philosophy after a 10 year personal struggle with body image, which, at its worst involved diet pills, binging and eating disorders. Bianca has been there and tried it all when it comes to traditional diets and strongly refutes claims that losing weight is simply eating less and exercising more. Her research confirms hormonal imbalances and a poor mental attitude are behind most issues
Bianca is BionicaFit and represents a revolution to the propaganda plagued diet industry. Check out her website for your free gift – a 7 Part Video Training series “ The 7 Deadliest Dieting Sins – The Critical Mistakes You Don’t Even Realise You’re Making & How To Avoid Them”