By Cody Bollerman
If you have just recently started hitting the gym more regularly, it is natural to feel more experienced than you actually are. However, you cannot afford to be as nonchalant as the folks that have established muscle memory and the familiarity that comes with years of hard work. Therefore, let’s talk about some of the most common, but also most obvious mistakes made by new fitness buffs.
Drinking Little to No Water
Although most people know the importance of regular hydration, CBS reports that over 75% of the population in the United States consumes less than the 6 daily cups prescribed by the Institute of Medicine. This basically means that more than three quarters of Americans are functioning in a chronic state of dehydration. Seeing how even mild dehydration influences both mental and physical performance, this statistic is quite shocking. Realistically, most physically active people need to drink at least twice the amount. In addition, if you are a heavy sweater, you need a drink with some electrolytes to help you replenish and retain all the fluid you lose during a workout.
Neglecting Warm Ups
For some reason, most people walk into a gym, do a couple of arm circles, hit the bench and start lifting weights. A proper warm up session will increase your circulation, heart rate and the neural drive to working muscles. In a recent Journal of Strength and Conditioning study, researchers sought to determine what the best warm up really is, and how it might affect your strength. Of the two groups tested, the one which did not do warm ups (while the other had 5-minute warm ups) did not see any performance boost. Conversely, the group that had 15-minute long, low intensity warm ups gained the benefits of increased body temperature without any unnecessary fatigue. Furthermore, certain workout clothes may help you manage your body temperature, allow for a full range of motion, and prevents inflammation and muscle soreness. Luckily, you can easily find affordable gym clothes that will do just that. I’ve been using them for years myself, and I have yet to completely ruin a piece.
Within an hour of completing your workout, your body needs to load your muscles with fuel and energy. The intake of the right nutrients stimulates protein synthesis (muscle growth) and the renewal of muscle glycogen. If you neglect this time window, your body may end up in a state of catabolism. Just this year, researchers from the McMaster University uncovered significant new evidence in the quest for the elusive goal of simultaneously losing fat and gaining muscle. The scientist studied two groups of young men that underwent a month-long regime of hard exercise. Both groups went on a low calorie diet, but one had lower levels of protein than the other did. The high-protein group experienced sufficient muscle gain, while the low protein group did not gain muscle mass.
Spending Too Much Time in the Gym
While it may seem ironic, this is a concept you should take into account for the sake of your schedule, and more importantly, your body. One of the biggest misconceptions most average gym-goers have is that you need to spend a couple of hours a day lifting weights in order to produce a fit and toned body. According to a study of over 300 men and women, published in the Journal of Current Biology, people who hit the gym twice a week burn about 200 calories more than your average person does. Furthermore, the study explains that over time, your body adapts to higher activity levels, and it changes your metabolism so that fewer calories are burned.
According to the figures provided by Statistic Brain, almost 70% of gym-membership owners never use their membership cards at all. Just going to the gym on a regular basis is a task by itself, but once you arrive there, you have to make the most out of the time you have on hand. With a wide range of machines and workout regimes available, it is easy to get confused. You have to know what you want to do and how long you want it to take; and if you focus on one workout that targets a few areas, you will start to see progress after just a couple of weeks.