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Don't Blow Your Workout

Don't Blow Your Workout


Not getting results from your exercise program? Chances are you're making a classic blunder, say fitness experts. Fortunately, most are easily corrected. Here are 10 key areas to reexamine if you're not getting the results you expect, and a batch of warning signs that should never be ignored. Socializing. Too much chatting may require you to slow down a cardio workout or spend too much time between sets, minimizing the impact of your exercise. Misusing equipment. Complicated gym equipment often leads many to avoid its use or poor -- even potentially injurious -- form when exercising. Watching the mirror. While occasionally checking your reflection to make sure you're in proper form is encouraged, focusing on the mirror to the exclusion of all else can be dangerous in a crowded gym. The myth of 'burning' junk food. Eating before exercise can cause sluggishness, nausea, and cramps. And chances are you aren't burning as many calories as you think you are, so that snack you scarfed before your workout may put more calories in than you burn off. Not enough variety. Doing the same routine or using the same equipment day in and day out allows your body to compensate and burn fewer calories. It also becomes boring, which is a key factor in why many fall off the workout bandwagon. Setting unachievable goals. It likely took years to pack on those extra pounds, so don't expect to lose them all in a couple of weeks. A good approach: Set a small goal, and when you reach it set a slightly higher one, and so on. Spotting. Not all equipment requires a spotter; check with a gym staffer to see which do. And if you use a spotter -- or serve as one yourself -- make sure to stay focused. Straying attention can result in injuries. Too much down time. Too much rest between sets and you lose aerobic benefits. If you're building muscle structure and improving bone density with light weights, rests between sets should be short. Power lifting requires longer breaks. Your gym clothes. The health club isn't a fashion show. Keep clothes comfortable and practical. And limit your jewelry -- it can get caught in gym equipment. Being a weekend warrior. If you work out only on weekends, you get all the pain and very little long-term gain, say experts. Ignoring warning signs. Some soreness is inevitable, but severe, persistent, or increasing discomfort requires immediate medical attention. Chest pain, pressure, or dizziness during exercise should never be dismissed; they could be warning signs of a heart attack.

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