While it’s common knowledge that regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body and mind – not only does it strengthen your muscles and bones, improve cardiovascular health, reduces stress, boosts memory and promote better sleep – simply pushing yourself to the limit in the gym just isn’t enough.
In order to reap the benefits of exercise, it’s important that you do it right, so we spoke to Michael Sole, founder of The Den, to see the most common workout mistakes that might be sabotaging your workout goals, and how you can fix them…
Trying to work at 100% intensity every single session
Blame social media, but it has now become increasingly popular to completely wear yourself out yourself in the gym. Whether it be because you see those posts on Instagram telling you to “show no weakness”, or the fact you feel as though you haven’t accomplished something without crawling out of the gym, there is valid reason not to obsess over going ‘full tilt, full time’.
The body adapts much better to greater amounts of sub-maximal work over time rather than continuously trying to achieve maximal output from every single session, which is likely to result in ‘forced rest’ due to injury or burn-out.
While there are definitely times where 100% efforts are required, and if done so correctly, will encourage great adaptations to take place, this is not the case all the time.
At The Den DXB, classes are programmed in blocks to ensure clients follow the required periodic increase and decrease with training intensity to ensure everyone gets the most out of their training. It can be a tough task to switch the mindset for a lot of people, however the results speak for themselves.
Whether this be replacing a HIIT class for yoga or simply substituting a gym session for a long walk, people get stronger and fitter when they start training with structure and purpose and the results can be astounding.
Judging your workout success by calories burnt
Suggesting that a certain workout is the ‘best’ because it burns the most calories is misleading to all of us. For most people, firstly addressing their diet and controlling calorie intake from a dietary perspective will be far more beneficial than trying to burn 1,000 calories in a workout. We should be eating in moderation – not rewarding ourselves with huge meals after every workout just because we burnt a certain number of calories in the gym.
Performing movements that don’t complement your goals
Going to certain classes or working out in a certain way just because it is regarded as ‘cool’ definitely isn’t the best strategy when it comes to achieving your goals. While training should be fun, exciting and diverse, there are some movements that are just not applicable to everybody, and therefore unnecessary for them to be including in their workouts.
Take CrossFit, for example. When it comes to some of the movements involved and how they translate to the everyday person and what they want to achieve goal-wise, it’s not always suitable. The Den takes exercises that Michael deems good from CrossFit, F45, Barry’s Bootcamp and the like to create a strength and conditioning-focused program designed to get people stronger and fitter. It bridges the gap between your generic group training class and a real training experience.
Choosing quantity over quality
High reps at the cost of movement quality? It’s like dining at a buffet that costs you nothing but you can’t actually taste anything. Learning how to move through an exercise properly should be the first step when it comes to introducing a new exercise to your training, and the only way to get better is keep practicing.
Do not add intensity through additional weight or speed with any movement until you are able to perform it correctly. A good coach should be able to guide you through this stage to ensure you aren’t going to be at risk of injury or developing any poor habits.
Choosing HIIT over strength work
Females shy away from solid, structured strength training because there is a stigma of this causing them to be ‘big and bulky’. Nonsense. In fact, the common desire to be more ‘toned and defined’ comes from doing stringent training. Muscle tissue is required to give a toned and defined look.
A well thought out combination of both HIIT and strength exercises are perfect in most cases, so bear this in mind when you consider the next step in your fitness journey. Strength training will help with not only the way you look, but also the way you carry yourself day to day.
Follow The Den on Instagram here.