Whether you’re a seasoned gym bunny or curious newcomer, there will always be a few things that slip the net when it comes to being in a gym environment. Don’t worry, most of us will have been there!
I had a lot of time to think over the last few weeks having been out with injury, so thought I’d bring you a quick one on the things you may want to think about before your next session
Ignoring your mobility and flexibility
“Ok, let’s warm up”; most people would opt for a static stretch (think back to those PE lessons), a quick jog on the spot or jump on the treadmill. Whilst these can have benefits, they aren’t what you should go to first off. Think about the movements you’ll be doing in your session; planning some upper body? How is a 30 second sprint going to warm up your shoulder or chest muscles? Likewise statically stretching your quads isn’t going to be effective pre deadlift session.
Instead, opt for dynamic stretches such as Leg Swings, Glute Activation, Shoulder Dislocations and even light dumbbell work as shown below. You want your muscles to warm up in the way you’ll use them to avoid injury.
These exercises are also a great way to assess your mobility and flexibility over time; not only will they be super effective at preparing you for a session, but you may also start to see improvements in the range of your leg swing, or that your glutes and lower back don’t feel as tight…
Not planning ahead
Especially if you have an early morning session to attend or are heading to the gym straight from work. Planning your food is probably one of the most important things you should be doing. Ever feel light headed and dizzy mid rep, only to remember you last ate 5 hours ago (or even the previous evening?) it’s not a pretty situation to be in; best to avoid that one!
This is equally as important if you train solo in a commercial gym, i.e. without a PT or not as part of a class. What kind of session will you be doing today? How long have you got? What is your aim for the session? Going in blind usually results in a half arsed attempt at a session, feeling frustrated and not achieving a lot. Be mindful that you’ll probably need to wait to use certain equipment, especially if you go at peak times, so plan a session accordingly.
Wearing too much makeup (ladies)
Eh-hem… Sorry to pick on you ladies, but it’s true. Not because people don’t wanna see a pretty face of makeup, or that your makeup is in fact still intact post class or session, but your skin is HATING you for it.
I absolutely get it that for some, makeup is a protection thing, I for one hate not wearing makeup (sad really!) but if I’m training, I try to wear as little as possible. Think about it, you’re covering your pores in a plasticky foundation which will only get clogged up and produce ANOTHER spot when you start to sweat and the pores open further. Yes it’s a vicious circle of wanting to hide the spots you may get, but trust me, try training without the slap and see if it make a difference. If it’s something you simply can’t imagine doing, why not opt for a light BB cream instead? Then wash it off after the sesh and reapply. ✔️️
Oh mascara is totally different, just make sure it’s waterproof 😉
Wearing your active wear for too long
Some will hate me for this, but again it’s sooooo true.
Who’s guilty of training, leaving the gym, grabbling a coffee, running some errands and doing the housework whilst still wearing their Active Wear?
Me! I am guilty of this. Totally and utterly. Slap my hand.
This is the same kinda thing as the makeup, but it’s just as true for guys, too. You’ve undoubtedly sweat during your session, and keeping that sweat close to your body, usually under some sort of lycra / non breathable material, ain’t good. Just a few examples of why it should be avoided include ingrowing hairs, fungal toenail infections and back-ne (spots on your back)
“But My active wear is so comfy!!”
Yes, I know! Just change into a fresh set post workout… 😉
Repeating old routines
You had a PT a year or so ago that wrote you a nice little routine, some of your favourite exercises are in it, it worked initially so you stick with it. Such a common theme in mainstream gyms, and we even get clients at EBW telling us they have done the same in the past, too. But if you really want results, you need variety! You don’t want your body to get used to the same old thing, that’s when you plateau, you stop stripping fat or gaining muscle and it all becomes dull. Mix things up by taking up some group training sessions instead, or if you’ve just done high rep work for a while, why don’t you see what a few months of heavier deadlifts, squats and presses can do for you?
Ignoring bodyweight exercises
One of the stand out exercises for me is the chin up or pull up. So many people want to do them, so many people can’t and even more people do them wrong…🙈 but they are probably one of the BEST exercises you should learn to master correctly, as they are a great all rounder (one of the best core strengthening ones, too!)
Alongside the two above, you should be incorporating Press Ups, Dips, Planks and Leg Raises into your workouts to use the body in its natural form. BUT, make sure you’re taught how to do them properly; I’ve included a few pointers below for things to watch put for;
Pull Ups / Chin Ups: Make sure you hang from a fully straight arm at the bottom of each rep
Press Ups: Hands shoulder width apart, under your shoulders. As you lower to the ground, your elbows should go BEHIND you, not out to the side. Doing half press ups? Make sure your hips are in line with your back – don’t leave your bum in the air….!
Dips: Don’t go too low! Over extending the shoulder will only lead to injury, going to just below a 45′ bend in the elbow is fine
Leg Raises: Try and push your lower back into the floor as you lower your legs and try holding onto something behind you for support.
Following workouts from “InstaFitters” 🙄
Oh Gaaaahhhhd! My BIGGEST pet hate are these guys! Credit where it’s due, there are plenty of legit trainers out there with awesome plans and video to follow. But keep an eye out for the ones that aren’t quite all that.
I follow one person in particular who I wanna shout at every time I see their videos 🙈 In a productive manner of course. I have never seen one arm rows, cable rows, deadlifts and pull throughs done so badly…. I just don’t wanna be the guy to call them out… I don’ want an Insta war! If you’re unsure of who to follow, look at their credentials. And remember, just because they have thousands of followers, it won’t always mean their content is very good…!
So, how many are you guilty of?