Signs Your Workout Habits Are Actually Working Against You

We’ve seen you out there, kicking ass in the fitness department. You’ve got a routine going; you’ve made friends in class and you’re always excited to sweat. We’re not here to tell you to press pause for momentum – keep revving, girl – but we do think it’s good to double-check you regularly! of habits to make sure you’re on target and taking care of your body in the process.

For example, are those sore muscles the result of a good workout or are they the result of overstressing? And are you giving your body enough (or too much) time in between workouts? For the answers to these questions and more, we asked a pair of top fitness trainers.

Your muscles never have time to recover.
It’s good to have goals, but make sure you’re treating yourself well during your workout. Your top priority shouldn’t be repetitions and the time you put in at the gym, but form.

“Pushing your body too hard when you’re tired is a major mistake,” says yoga instructor & CTA-certified Life Balance Coach Lauren Zoller says.” Try to take some time to listen to your body before your workout. If you are too tired from your workout the day before, take a day off. Your body needs time to repair itself.”

Rachel Piskin, fitness trainer and co-founder of ChaiseFitness, agrees. She says, “You don’t need to workout every day in order to see results. In fact, if you don’t give yourself proper rest between workouts, you’ll start to compensate for form by not properly using the muscles, thus posing a risk of injury.

You are dealing with lower back pain
Injuries can also be the result of poor form. For example, if you experience mild or severe lower back pain immediately after a workout and this is your form over the following days Bad Signs.

“When your lower back hurts immediately after a workout, it could be that you’re not engaging your opposing abdominal muscles. A weak abdomen can force your lower back to handle the added load of weight, which can put unnecessary stress on your spine,” Zoeller explains.” Practice adding an abdominal exercise between each weight rep to open up your core. Also, actively engage your abdominal muscles before picking up the weights before each set.”

If you have access to a fitness trainer, talk to them before, during or after your workout to see if they can help you! Perfect your form. Many fitness classes are led by instructors who will be happy to help you.

Your knees are weak or painful.
Zoller says weak or achy knees are another sign that your form has room for improvement.

“Your knee may be rotating internally or externally during the squat. If you’re constantly rotating during any type of squatting exercise, you’re putting added stress on your knees,” she explains.” Perform weightless squats at a slow pace in front of a mirror [and observe] if your knee rolls toward your big toe (internal rotation) ), or rolling towards your little toe (external rotation). If you begin to notice internal or external rotation, practice doing weighted squats slowly until you can squat straight down without internal or external rotation. ”

Again, it’s all about your own pacing and focusing on technique.

You’re just doing cardio.
There’s a fitness myth that cardio is the only way to cut calories, but that’s simply not true. Worse, this mindset may even be holding you back.

“People often focus too much on cardio and the idea of losing weight and burning fat,” says Piskin.” What they don’t focus on is creating a balance between cardio and strength training in their workouts. It’s that balance between the two that allows you to see a huge shift.”

You feel dizzy, light-headed, or constantly yawning while exercising.
You may think that purposeful breathing is just something yogis do, but getting enough oxygen while exercising is super important.

“Feeling dizzy or lightheaded during a workout can mean that you’re not breathing correctly and you’re pushing too hard. It’s a sign that your brain isn’t getting enough oxygen,” says Zoeller. Yawning is an early sign that you’re not getting enough air, too. It’s your body’s way of pulling in as much as possible.

The fix is to be purposeful about your breathing and even make it a part of your workout. For example, inhale when you lift the dumbbell and exhale when you drop it. Or, take two deep breaths in when you run and then two breaths out.

“Also, make an effort to listen to how your body feels,” advises Zoeller.” If you start to feel dizzy, take a break, drink water, or practice square breathing to bring your breathing back to normal. To perform square breathing, take a moment to close your eyes and imagine the four sides of a box. As you practice this breathing exercise, visualize tracing a box with your mind’s eye as you breathe. Breathe in for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, and breathe out for a count of four.”

You spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to do.
Going into an open gym with no game plan is one of the biggest fitness mistakes you can make, says Piskin. Not only is it overwhelming and distracting, but you can easily spend a good chunk of your time trying to figure out what to do instead of Really use the precious time you’ve carved out for exercise.

“Make it standard practice to create a weekly workout plan for yourself. You’ll maximize your time in the gym this way and see results faster,” she says.” For example, Monday is a cardio workout on the treadmill, bike or elliptical. Wednesday you do upper body and ab workouts with machines and free weights. On Fridays you do circuit workouts between cardio bursts and lower body.”

A set plan means you get more actual workout time and better focus in every movement.