Face it guys, even though getting in shape is usually easier for you than it is for the ladies, there are still a few blunders you’re making in the gym that are dampening your efforts. As compiled from weightloss.about.com and Men’s Fitness magazine, get back on track and exhibit those defined biceps already!
Doing too much too soon
Are you trying to clock a 5k after only a couple of sweat sessions? Think again. One of the most common weight loss, muscle building challenges that dudes face is the pressure to be tough. “Men are macho, so they might push too hard, go too heavy or do too much too fast and then burn out or get injured,” says fat loss expert and bestselling author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle, Tom Venuto. It’s imperative you remain consistent and steady with your workouts for long-term results.
Relying solely on cardio
A bunch of guys who want to slim down turn to fat-burning cardio to lose weight. But if that means abandoning the weight room, then they’re committing a serious fitness crime. “Building muscle turns you into a fat-burning machine,” says certified personal trainer and health guru Jason Corrie. Fitness expert Tony Schober explains, “I see men doing too much cardio too soon.” He adds, “Save the cardio for when you need it. If you start off with four to five cardio sessions in the beginning, you won’t have room to add in more cardio once your weight loss stalls.”
Lifting too much weight
Do you find yourself hitting the bench press at a ridiculous weight, your first week at the gym? Weight training is good but too much can be a mistake, as well. New York City trainer Matt Griffin who warns guys at his gym lifting too much weight. He says it’s an absolute myth that heavier is better. “Lighter weight with correct form will be much more efficient in gaining the results desired.” Plus, adding too heavy too soon can end up wrecking your back and knees, so beware.
Skipping the functional assessment
If you’re overweight and have lingering health issues, it’s a good idea to visit a nutritionist for diet help. Also, if you’ve recently been in an accident or suffer from arthritis, a good trainer will perform a functional assessment and then provide a programme of functional training exercises. This allows you to identify any areas of weakness or limitations in your range of motion that can affect your performance at the gym and prevent you from losing weight efficiently.
Banning compound exercises
Do you train only one muscle group at a time? “Don’t make that mistake!” warns Corrie. He recommends compound strength exercises that require muscle groups to work together to build strength. Compound exercises are more efficient and train the body more effectively by keeping your heart rate up and thereby facilitating more calorie expenditure. He shares, “Basics like the bench press, squats, deadlifts, and rows should be staples in your workout programme.”
We all know a dude who is busting all he got at the gym but he goes home to greasy nihari and naan.“So many people figure that doing a high volume of training is all it takes to lose weight,” says Venuto. He explains that training and nutrition go hand in hand. It takes both elements to lose weight successfully and get a fit lean body while also maintaining a healthy metabolism and immune system.
Relying too heavily on supplements
Fine, protein shakes with a dash of casein and glutamin are popular but they aren’t necessarily the fastest path to weight loss and scoring a six-pack. “Protein powders have their place, but if you’re trying to get lean I like to see people eating as much solid food as possible. Not only are whole foods more nutrient dense, but they fill you up better, which is so important in a hypo-caloric environment,” says Tony Schober, certified personal trainer and the founder of Coach Calorie. Hollywood stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton agrees. One of his diet tips for men is to eat real food instead of supplements or powders.
Overdoing steady state cardio
Moderate aerobic activity is fantastic for heart health, but guys who want to lose weight should work at various intensity levels, including high intensity intervals. Corrie shares, “Very often, you spend too much time in the ‘heart rate zones’ on their cardio equipment and that’s actually counterproductive to their muscle gains and weight loss.” Too many extended steady-state cardio sessions (think 45 minutes of continuous running at 6mph) can, in fact, raise the cortisol hormone levels in your blood, which can make fat loss even harder.
Stressing on quantity over quality
Just clocking in a certain amount of time at the gym will not guarantee weight loss or those abs you’re lusting after. The time you spend exercising must be quality time. “What guarantees results is using your time efficiently and that means three things,” shares Venuto. “Training smart (a well-designed programme), training hard, which we could call correct intensity (think intervals) and training progressively, where you push out of your comfort zone.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2016.