Horrible Fitness Habits That Actually Sabotage Your Workout

Getting yourself to the gym is half the battle; working out effectively is just as important to your weight loss and strength goals. What if we told you that the one thing you’re almost certainly doing is sabotaging your workout? These seven actions are detrimental to your goals, and one may surprise you.

If you don’t warm up, you’re setting yourself up for failure

woman stretching

Prevent an injury by warming up and cooling down your body. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Fitness experts have debated the benefits of stretching before exercise. Most concur that at least a small warm up before exercise will go a long way. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends stretching each of your major muscle groups at least two times a week for 60 seconds per exercise, according to WebMD.

Training without a plan will lead to a less effective workout

Fitness instructor exercising with his client at the gym

A session or two with a trainer can help you create a fitness plan. | iStock.com/SolisImages

Learning what your body can handle and what exercises you find enjoyable are crucial to a successful workout. If you’re training with little direction, experts say you may be doing yourself a disservice. “People kind of have to learn what their body can tolerate and can’t,” says celebrity trainer Adam Friedman.

If you’re strolling through the gym without a set plan, you’ll waste time and give yourself an easy out without trying to figure out what to do next.

Overexerting yourself will do more harm than good

man lifting weights

Don’t push yourself too hard. | iStock.com

It’s tempting to push yourself during a good workout. Once the endorphins from consistent exercise kick in, we feel limitless and strive to make the most of the session. However, if you’re overexerting yourself, you may be pushing your muscles beyond what they’re capable of.

The National Safety Council defines overexertion as a “non-impact injury resulting from excessive physical effort.” Muscle sprains and strains may be acquired through lifting weights or intense cardio. Set limits and take consistent breaks to evaluate how tired you really are.

Resting too long in between sets will kill your motivation

woman wiping her sweat at the gym

After you break a sweat, take a short break (keyword: short). | Funduck/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Men’s Fitness recommends timing your rest periods to stay on-task at the gym and get an efficient workout. By wearing a stopwatch or using your phone timer, you’ll have a clear indication of when to end your rest period.

For strength training, rest approximately 3 to 5 minutes between lifting sets. To increase muscle endurance, the best rest period is 45 seconds to 2 minutes between sets.

Texting is distracting to your progress and those around you

Woman sitting at the gym on her phone

Take a break, but keep your eye on the clock. | iStock.com

Leave your phone in the locker and use a watch to track your workouts. Texting will distract you from your goals, slow down your exercise, and increase your rest time in between exercises. A study published in the journal Performance Enhancement & Health discovered how harmful your phone may be to your progress.

The study found that texting while exercising affected balance and stability by 45%, compared to those not using a phone. Talking on the phone impacted balance by 19%, which while not as impeding as texting, was still enough to cause risk of injury.

Not eating enough pre-workout will compromise your results

Man wearing gym clothes and a gym bag grabs fruit and a bottle of water for after his workout

Make sure you grab a snack and drink some water. | iStock.com

Healthy food has calories, which become energy that fuels your workout and keeps your stamina up. People trying to lose weight will frequently diet in addition to exercising and cut their calorie intake too much.

Nancy Cohen, a professor in the department of nutrition at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, told CNN her recommendations for pre-workout carbohydrate intake.”By eating carbohydrate-rich foods that are low in fat and low or moderate in protein, you can make sure you have enough muscle glycogen as fuel for your physical activity,” Cohen said. Try these healthy snacks for a pre-workout fix about an hour before you hit the gym.

Everyone may be sabotaging their workout by listening to music … here’s how it’s slowing you down

woman checking her phone and listening to music

You would never think your music could be part of the problem. | iStock.com

Studies have discovered something potentially contradicting to your daily exercise; your music slows down as you exercise, and as a result may slow down your progress. “It seems that as exercise intensity increases, the human organism prefers a higher tempo,” Dr. Costas Karageorghis, a sports psychologist at Brunel University London, told Business Insider.

“However, there is a ceiling effect in terms of music tempo preference at around ~140 bpm (beats per minute) and any increase in tempo beyond this does not result in correspondingly enhanced aesthetic responses or greater subjective motivation.” If you cut out music it could allow you to focus on your breathing, accelerate your pace during cardio, and keep up the motivation.