If you’re taking the time to work out, you probably want to get the most out of it, right? You could be doing other things, like watching Netflix, but you’ve chosen to improve your mind and body (though Netflix is good for the soul). So we want to help you get the most out of your workout. Besides maintaining a balanced workout regimen comprised of strength training, cardio and stretching, there’s more you can do.
But first, here are a few workout don’ts:
Don’t chug a ton of water right before you work out. Compensating for your lack of water intake can actually be detrimental if you’re doing it right before your workout. You’ll feel sickly. Instead, be sure keep a water bottle handy so you’re naturally inclined to drink water throughout the day.
Don’t solely rely on gym machines’ calorie counting. Many of us will jog on a treadmill or stride on an elliptical until we hit our calorie goal. But if you’re supporting yourself on the machine, you’re not burning as many calories. Plus, there are other factors that go into energy expenditure. So even if you aren’t supporting yourself on the machine, there’s still the possibility that you’re not burning as much as you think. An alternative method, such as an app, website or even a personal trainer, could provide more insight.
Don’t train in the “fat burning zone.” Push yourself. According to Jillian Michaels, “The intensity of your workout is crucial to burn fat.” Therefore, anything less than an 85 percent effort is a waste of time when it comes to cardio. For women, subtract your age from 220 to calculate your optimal target heartrate. For men, subtract your age from 226.
But most importantly, don’t find excuses to not work out! Even though it’s tempting to skip a workout, one missed workout can soon become many missed workouts. Although it’s beneficial to take a break from time to time, whether for illness, injury or life’s chaos, try not to take a break when you are beginning your fitness journey. Exercise is a habit, and habits are formed through repetition.