Don’t rest for longer than a minute between sets
Rest and recovery is an important part of any fitness regime, but you might be overdoing your rest periods between sets in the gym without even realising it. Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that the optimum rest period between sets is just one minute – any more than that spent resting, and your metabolic rate will take a big hit.
In their study, they asked one group of weight lifters to rest for one minute between sets, and another group to rest for three minutes. Despite the minimal difference of only two minutes in rest times, the weight lifters who only rested for one minute displayed a metabolic level nearly twice as high as those who rested for three minutes.
Never focus on your mirror muscles
You’ve all seen that guy in the gym who spends the majority of his time rooted firmly in front of the mirror, slowly doing bicep curls and staring intently at his own muscles in a way that kind of creeps you out. Getting obsessed with ‘mirror muscles’ like your abs, chest, biceps and pecs is easily done, but will lead to unbalanced levels of fitness, poor posture, and more injuries.
Instead of sticking to these muscles, make sure your fitness regime covers your whole body equally. Mirrors are bad news psychologically as well – according to a study published in the journal Health Psychology, people who work out in front of a mirror have less energy and feel less positive about their work out.
Never do an exercise you hate
Doing exercises that you hate with a passion is just an unfortunate part of being fit and healthy right? Wrong. Follow the rule that exercise should always be fun, and you’ll be amazed at your progress. But all too often people stroll into the gym with a frown on, head over to a machine that they detest, and eke out 45 minutes worth of grimacing and complaining. And what does that lead to? Poor form, a lack of effort, and a higher chance of injury.
With so many different types of exercise out there to choose from, there really is something to appeal to everyone. If you’re struggling to find one you love, try having a few friends join you. A study performed in Boston found that exercise is more enjoyable when performed with people you know, whether it be family, friends or co-workers.
Always plan your fitness regimeAlthough it can be liberating and exciting, you should never do a workout without planning what you’re going to do beforehand and recording what you did after your session. It’s been proven time and time again that people who plan and record their fitness regimes perform better than those who don’t.
According to motivation researcher Dr Heidi Grant Halvorson, people who set fitness goals and make plans work harder during their workouts and are more likely to stick to their fitness regimes for longer. If you don’t have a fitness plan you can create one for yourself based off your personal goals, or consult with a trainer to create one for you.
Never work out an on empty stomachForget all those tips you’ve heard about working out before breakfast to boost your metabolism for the day. Whilst it’s technically true that you burn more fat if you haven’t eaten for a long time, during this time your body also enters a catabolic state.
During a catabolic state, not only does your body break down your fat stores for energy, but it also starts to break down muscle mass at a faster rate as well. That means every workout you do on an empty stomach is actually eating away at your progress without you even realising it.