You might not even realize that these five things are ruining your workout, but the most certainly are. It’s easy to fall into bad habits, but it’s even easier to stay in bad habits once you’re there. The first step to solving any problem is understanding that there is a problem. If you want to get the most out of your workouts, you need to trim the fat—literally and figuratively.
These five things are common and often overlooked in the exercise world. Smoking, poor eating and sleeping habits, and more can ruin your workouts and hold you back from your potential. Why wait? It’s time to make a change today so you can have a better workout tomorrow.
You’re not actually surprised that smoking is on the list, are you? Smoking is a habit that’s inherently incompatible with working out. The two lifestyles contradict each other. How can you get into shape when you’re actively destroying your heart and lungs? How can you make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle when you’re actively poisoning yourself? You can’t reconcile the two; one needs to go.
Smoking will not only destroy your internal organs, it also increases your mortality rate. Smoking-related complications claim the lives and health of thousands of Americans every year, and while smoking is declining across the country, the damage it inflicts is more devastating than ever.
So, are there alternatives to smoking? Luckily, there are more than ever. You can try tobacco free chew, nicotine gum, vape pens, nicotine replacement therapy, or quitting cold-turkey. There are also herbal cigarettes that are said to help fight cravings.
2. Unhealthy Snacks
We all have a tendency to reach for potato chips, crackers, and other unhealthy snacks. Who doesn’t love chips n’ dip? Crackers and peanut butter? Ice cream? It’s so easy to reach for the unhealthy stuff, because it gives us what we want. Sugar creates a similar feeling to morphine, and has been discovered to be an addictive substance. That’s right—you can become addicted to sugar. This is why so many Americans love soda, ice cream, and other sugary treats. Once you have a taste, it’s difficult to resist eating more of it!
There are hundreds of alternatives to unhealthy snacks like ice cream and soda. Focus on eating fruit instead. You’ll still get the sugar your body wants, but you’re not just consuming empty calories. Fruit contains nutrients and vitamins your body needs, whereas soda is pure sugar.
3. Poor Sleep Habits
Not getting enough sleep can cause you to fail at your workout. A tired body can’t perform at its best, and a tired mind isn’t focused or disciplined. If you want to maximize your workouts, you absolutely must get your sleep schedule under control. How many hours of sleep are you getting? Are you staying asleep? Are you tossing and turning all night?
It’s time to address the things that are preventing quality sleep.
Set a strict go-to-sleep and wake-up time, and stick to it for a week. You’ll start to notice that your body falls into a natural rhythm, but it takes discipline to maintain it. Utilize an alarm clock, and get rid of that old, rickety mattress!
4. Poor Form
Poor form isn’t only holding you back from a good workout, but it’s also putting you in danger. Weight-lifting or even cardio workouts can be dangerous if you’re not adhering to the proper form. Lifting weights above your head without proper form can cause back injuries, which could prevent you from lifting in the future.
Proper form is a necessity for a good workout. Never learned how to do it? No problem! There are classes, trainers, and instructional videos that can help.
Hire a personal trainer or ask for help from a gym associate. It’s better to spend a few minutes learning proper form than to spend hours in the hospital because you’ve injured yourself. Not to mention, you’ll maximize your workouts with proper form!
5. Not Staying Consistent
Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles to a good workout is a lack of consistency. You can’t just work out one day per week and come back three weeks later and start again. The longer you wait, the closer you get to starting completely over, and then you’re back at square one. Consistency is the key to a good workout routine. It builds muscles, increases endurance, and solidifies your resolve/discipline.
Some people work better with a schedule, and others need the push from an accountability partner. Personal trainers are also a good option, and they’ll help you with more than just your workout. Your diet and lifestyle habits will also be addressed for a happier, healthier life.