You aren't getting what you want from your gym workout – your fitness levels aren't changing and you don't feel as strong and fit as you thought you would. Kevin Foster-Wiltshire GymCube founder, celebrity PT and Reebok Master Trainer talks to us about the things you're probably doing that are actually hindering your fitness goals:
1. Having your mobile phone on you
It's a gym crime we're all guilty of, but one of the biggest mistakes that you could be making is having your mobile phone on you. Kevin says that you may benefit from mobile devices because fitness apps can help you train, but switch to airplane mode.
"If you're tempted to look at Facebook, emails or send or read texts then you're resting more than you think you are – and time will just fly. Before you know it you have spent five minutes on Facebook and it does affect your performance as if you're resting too much between sets your heart rate drops and that can have a detrimental effect on your performance."
So switch off from the outside world and give 100% to your workout.
This is a mistake that so many people make, says Kevin. The one thing that people should do more often to get better results (but fail to do so) is rest. By training too much you can cause fatigue, where you'll feel more tired and lethargic. It can also cause sleep problems and lower your immune system, so you'll pick up colds more easily.
"I see a lot of people sign up for 10Ks who have never run before. They immediately try and run it without any training. They go out every night and eventually they burn themselves out."
Kevin advises doing crossover days, where you don't rest but you change what you're doing. If you're a runner, take a break for one day and go for a swim. This will allow you a day of gentle training, where your body won't be over trained and can rest and restore itself.
This is a huge problem in the gym, says Kevin.
"I would say that everyone who I come across in the gym thinks they drink enough but they don't. Did you know that even if you're 2% more dehydrated, this will cause an under performance of 20%? And it could be this percentage that makes you miss the results that you want. I tell clients to drink about 3 litres of water a day. Make it more achievable by drinking bottles of water instead of glasses."
Get a 500ml bottle of water and have one in the morning, one after your first snack, one after lunch and so on, advises Kevin.
4. Eating at the wrong times
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"People who are looking to lose fat from their body shouldn't be having high carbs just before they train, contrary to popular belief. What happens is that they burn the carbs while they're training – and not the fat. So if they don't have carbs before they train, the body will be forced to burn energy from their own stores, so it will burn fat."
Eating after training will help you to recover and repair. It will mean the next time you train, you'll be able to train harder and get better results.
5. Doing the same routine day in day out
This is a fatal flaw that many of us make and it definitely affects performance, says Kevin.
"So many people go to the gym day after day and do the same routine and the same classes. They will maintain their fitness but they will not improve from that position. If someone hasn't done something for a while, doing a new activity will shock the body and give it a wake-up call to adapt and improve."
It doesn't have to be about speed or weight, there are so many different variables. So change the type of exercise you do, the duration, the repetitions, the intensity and rest periods.window of opportunity of about 30 minutes after you train to get the optimum results of recovery boosting benefits from food.
6. You're not wearing a fresh kit
What's the secret to better motivation at the gym? It could be as simple as wearing a fresh gym outfit that will motivate you more than your old tatty gear.
Pick an outfit that is flattering and builds your confidence. Scientists have reported a phenomenon they call enclothed cognition: the effects of clothing on cognitive processes. In a study by carried out by the authors Hajo Adam and Adam Galinskythe at the Northwestern University, Evanston, volunteers were either asked to wear a lab coat or given nothing special to wear, and then performed attention-related tasks. Those wearing the lab coats were much more successful at the tasks than the group wearing just their everyday clothes.
So the next time you think you won't bother making an effort on what you are wearing to the gym, consider this decision again.