As a fitness professional with 17 years of experience, I have personally witnessed a lot of mistakes made by exercisers in Bethesda. At this time of the year, there is an influx of new members who have decided to pay for a gym membership in Bethesda to improve their health. I applaud each and every one of them because they have made the right decision. However, many make this decision not fully understanding or appreciating what needs to take place in order to achieve that “Beachbody.” Shall we take sometime to discuss the Five Common Mistakes Made by Bethesda Exercisers? We will also consider some solutions to those mistakes.
1. Don’t forget about Nutrition: Our society has done a very good job of stressing the importance and benefits of exercise for those who want to lose weight. We have been told; if you want to lose weight, go the gym and exercise. This is partly true. What we need more education in is the importance of nutrition, first, when it comes to weight loss. If there were such a thing as the best exercises in the world for weight loss, they would not work if you do not have a good grasp on what goes in your mouth. Weight loss (and just general good health too) depends a lot upon what and how much you eat. My 1st recommendation is to make sure you get a good understanding and practice of eating healthy BEFORE joining or working out at your Bethesda gym. As a personal trainer in Bethesda, I am not allowed to provide you with an eating plan like a dietician can, however, I can make suggestions. My suggestion is to follow an eating plan where you are consuming the following on a regular basis: water, vegetables, fruits and lean, properly treated meat, poultry and fish. While I am not a fan of promoting diets, I do believe that the Paleo way of eating (http://authoritynutrition.com/paleo-diet-meal-plan-and-menu/) is an excellent choice for weight loss and making a lifestyle change with one’s eating.
2. Treadmill for 30 minutes: After you have a good grasp on your eating, now it is time for you to take advantage of your Bethesda gym membership. One of the most common pieces of equipment people use in the gym is the treadmill. It is a great piece of equipment that can certainly allow you to improve your heart, lungs and help you lose weight. However, running on it everyday for 30 minutes at the same pace is not necessary and can be dangerous (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/14/running-weight-loss_n_4123911.html). Our bodies are not designed to withstand the “pounding” that running on the treadmill will give you. My recommendation is to add variety with what you do and how long you do it. How about going for a run outside for 20 minutes, trying the elliptical machine (which is designed to have less impact to the joints of your body) at a harder intensity for 15 minutes or trying a spinning class for 45 minutes. Our bodies typically respond better to variety as long as what we are doing has the appropriate intensity.
3. You Do Know How to Read: One of the biggest mistakes that new (and current) Bethesda gym goers make is not reading the instructions on the exercise equipment. Yes, we live in advanced society where typically we can “figure” things out our own with very little supervision, however, let us not apply that thought process to the gym! A lot of injuries can be avoided if one would take the time to read the instructions before trying any of the machines. If after you have read the instructions and you still cannot figure out how to use a particular machine, please ask for help from a Bethesda personal trainer. Yes it is ok to humble ourselves and ask for help. We are not designed to do everything by ourselves, so, asking for help is a good thing and you will thank me later!
4. Flexibility is Important: Have you ever watched a professional athlete prepare for a game either on TV or live in person? If you have, then you should have noticed that they are doing various things to prepare their bodies for their game. This is called a warm-up. During a warm-up, one of the most important things they do is flexibility work or stretching (http://blog.nasm.org/certified-personal-trainer/from-gabby-the-importance-of-flexibility-training/). The reason why this is done to ensure that your body is prepared for movement, otherwise you could injure yourself. In my experience, many people avoid this because they do not have the time or they do not think it is important. Friends, in my humble opinion, this could not be further from the truth. Research shows that stretching helps to avoid injury and it also improves one state of mind.
5. Your Body Needs a Break (Rest): In our fast paced society, it is easy for us to get caught up in the rat race. We have this place to go and we need to meet this deadline and before we know it, we end up over stressed with a nervous breakdown! This type of thing can help with our exercise too. We have these major goals to accomplish and we want them to happen right now, so, we do as much as we can as quickly as we can do it. Just like this approach does not work outside of the Bethesda gym, neither will it work inside of the gym. Rest is important. All of the hard work that we do in the gym is dependent upon our bodies getting enough rest to ensure that the physiological changes will take place. Research show that not only do we need somewhere b/w 7-9 hours of sleep each night, but, we also need rest within our exercise routine as well. Generally speaking, it is ok if you take 48 hrs. in between your weight training days. With your cardio activity, research that this can be done almost everyday. My recommendation is weight training 2-3 times/week and cardio activity 3-5 times/week. http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sampleworkouts/a/RestandRecovery.htm
6. Bonus: Hire a professional. I know I originally said 5 Mistakes New Bethesda Gym Members make, but, I have to be completely honest; there are 6 and the sixth one is the biggest mistake new Bethesda gym members make. If you are serious about your health and really want to make 2015 your best year yet, then, you must hire a fitness professional. A fitness professional or certified personal trainer can ensure that you do everything right the first time and avoid making the five mistakes listed above. Make sure you do the following to ensure your fitness professional is the right fit for you: look for someone with experience, who has multiple certifications, practices what they preach, interview at least three of them, ask your friends for referrals and go with your gut when you make the selection.
So, there you have it. Hopefully, you will read this before you make any of the five (or 6) mistakes!