Bad Gym Habits You Need to Break Now
Are you working against yourself with your bad gym habits? All too often we get into a rut, not realizing that our habits are making it harder to achieve the gains we work so hard for. At best, these habits limit us. At worst, they can be dangerous for us and those around us. Take a moment to check through and see which gym cardinal sins you are guilty of – and then get busy repenting and reforming your heathen ways.
You Use Static Stretches
Stretching before you work out is important, but are your stretches actually limiting your potential? One study found static stretches reduce muscle strength and speed during a workout, which is why more and more trainers are advising against them. Instead, you should go for dynamic stretches like walking lunges or jump squats. These increase your muscle’s blood flow and temperature, which helps reduce your risk of injury and improves flexibility.
You Chugg Too Much Water Before a Work Out
Hydration is a crucial component of a proper workout. No surprise, a failure to properly hydrate limits your endurance. But if you drink too much water before going to the gym, you can end up experience nausea bad enough to need to cut your training short. Drink enough water throughout the day and avoid chugging right before you head out.
You Chew Gum While You Work Out
I know I fall into this habit. Before I head out on a run, I pop in a piece of gum so I can focus on chewing and not my burning muscles screaming at me. A little distraction in the form of minty freshness is nice, but chewing gum messes with your breathing technique. It can change the pattern of how we breathe and how deep of a breath we take, not to mention it takes up some of our focus which is the last thing you want when dealing with heavy gym equipment that can break or tear something if not handled properly. And not to mention it does pose a choking hazard.
You Sacrifice Sleep to Make it to the Gym
There are never enough hours in the day right? So you set your alarm early, cutting back on sleep to make time for a workout. But not getting a good night’s rest can affect your focus, balance, and ability to properly work out. It can also elevate your heart rate unnecessarily. A good night’s sleep is important for your overall health. Don’t trade it in for extra gym time.
You Compete Against Someone Else
You know that one Adonis who can outlast and outperform everyone? You are not him. Stop trying to keep up with him. When you do, you push yourself beyond what you are capable of and risk overexertion or injury. Focus only on your ability and your goals. Learn to block out others around you. You can reach Adonis level but on your own time.
You Don’t Practice Good Gym Hygiene
A gym is a breeding ground for germs. You need to be proactive in your cleanliness habits to prevent all too common issues like fungal infections. Always wipe down weights before and after every use. Clean your gym bag often (think about it – it’s a dark, sweaty damp place that is a paradise for bacteria). Always wash your water bottle after each use. Change out of your sweaty clothes as soon as you can. The sweat from your clothes sits against your skin, clogging up pores and even trapping bacteria in any cuts and putting you at risk of an infection. Never walk around barefoot in the locker room (or else risk getting a foot fungus or wart viruses).
You Don’t Push Yourself Hard Enough
The feeling of exhaustion when we work out is partly mental. That is not to say it is all in our head (the feeling of our burning muscles is very real). But the “I’m tired and I need to stop now” thought often happens long before our bodies really need to stop. It’s why people who engaged in motivating self-talk worked out longer than those who didn’t, they worked to overcome their self-limiting mental roadblock.
Often we don’t realize the bad habits we’ve adopted over the years. They creep up unnoticed and stick around longer than they should. The next time you go to the gym, be more aware of how your bad gym habits may be limiting your work outs and your ability to improve. Breaking your PRs is hard enough without bad habits holding you back.