1. Skipping Your Stretches
So, come on be honest, how often do you stretch or even cooldown after your workout? At the end of my PT sessions I always do one or the other with my clients because it’s just, quite simply, really important for your body!
When you exercise you will, depending on your intensity, build up lactic acid in your muscles which, if not cleared, can result in some very achy muscles the next day. Stretching helps to reduce that lactic acid build, therefore helping to reduce muscle soreness the following day.
A cool-down can also have a similar effect so even if you don’t stretch at least make sure you cool-down lightly on a bike, if you have been in the gym, or finish your run with a gentle 5 min walk, for example.
When you stretch after a workout you should aim to hold the stretch for approx 30-45 secs in order to give the muscle time to “get into the stretch” and get the best results possible so it doesn’t hurt to climb the stairs to work the next day!
Psychology, stretching helps as well, as it gives you 5 mins at the end of your exercise session to chill, think about what a good workout you just had and to look ahead to the rest of your day or evening.
2. Not having a plan
Obviously we can’t all be olympic athletes but who says we shouldn’t try to train like one??
So, if you want to get the best possible results from your exercise sessions you must have a plan and, personally, I think your plan should be in two parts:
- Your bigger plan for your big goal: this could be running a half marathon ( I hear the Ealing Half Marathon is a pretty good one, but then I might be slightly biased!) it could be a weight-loss target, or a special event coming up, but whatever it is you should have it in your mind and also have a date by which you want to achieve it.
- Your plan for each week and each workout within that week: this doesn’t have to be written down in exact detail but it certainly helps if you write down, at the beginning of the week, what sessions you have planned and what you will be doing in each session.
Remember, fail to prepare then prepare to fail!
3. Rewarding yourself after a workout
Quite Simply, don’t do it!
Why would you work really hard in the gym or at your exercise class just to go and un-do all that hard work because you think you “deserve it “? You musn’t slip into the mentality that you can eat or drink what you like if you are exercising regularly or you will never get the results you really crave.
You can’t out-exercise a bad diet and if you don’t change what you are eating then it really will be a case of “one step forward, two steps back” every time with your exercise.