Top 4 Mistakes Women Make In The Gym
Let’s face it, health and fitness for many of us isn’t simply a way of passing the time, it’s a way of life, with some of us even earning a living from it in one way or another. Living healthy and getting in shape should be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, not one that we dread and can’t wait to be rid of so that we can go back to lounging around on the sofa whilst eating junk food.
As far as healthy living is concerned, on top of diet, regular physical exercise is another component that plays a pivotal role in allowing us to meet our health and fitness goals. When we think of exercise and physical activity, some of the first thoughts that will pop into our heads are thoughts of working out in commercial gyms.
Gyms are of course hugely beneficial as users will find a selection of the best equipment, amenities, facilities, and hopefully personal trainers that money can buy. With summer just around the corner, women all over the country are really stepping up their game in the gym as they’re determined to make 2015 the year that they finally achieve that elusive bikini body that may have eluded them for some time.
If you’re training religiously, week in and week out and are barely making any progress, or have perhaps hit a plateau, take a look at these common mistakes made by women in gyms all over the world and ask yourself whether perhaps you’re guilty of one or more of them. If you are, you may very well have found the reason for your lack of progress.
Mistake #1 – Staying away from weights (dumbells, etc) and resistance machines (like the lat pulldown)
If you’ve ever seen a competitive female bodybuilder, i.e. an IFBB pro bodybuilder, not bikini or fitness model, it’s pretty safe to say that some of them may perhaps appear a little, shall we say, masculine. Some of these hulking female bodybuilders put natural male bodybuilders to shame in terms of muscle mass and size and in some cases it may be difficult to differentiate them from males.
This may sound harsh but it’s a fact. Before we go any further, although many of them would never admit it, we all know that the reason for the deepened voice, the square jawline, the masculine features, and the facial and body hair is very probably due to various hormones and anabolic compounds.
For fear of not wanting to appear butch, or masculine, or wanting to look like a female bodybuilder, many women will stay clear of weights and resistance machines and will stick with cardio and bodyweight exercises instead.
First off, just to be clear, lifting weights will not make you look like a female bodybuilder from the IFBB, even if you train hard and heavy as achieving that amount of mass and size is only really achievable with certain, ahem, chemical assistance.
What free weights and resistance machines will do however, is help to build slight increases in lean muscle mass, tone existing muscles, tighten various body parts, and help burn excess body fat. Lifting weights will not turn you into a she-hulk, but it will make you look and feel better, so give the treadmill a break and pick up a set of kettlebells instead.
Mistake #2 – Not taking the gym seriously
Ok, we all want to take a little pride in our appearance but there’s a time and place for everything and if you’re applying makeup and are straightening your hair to go to the gym then you simply are not taking it seriously. Some women will hold back on their workouts for fear of sweating and looking flustered, making a “silly face” as they work, or messing their hair up and looking “a mess” in front of strangers.
We go to the gym to better ourselves, and in order to benefit from our workouts we need to really push ourselves as hard as we can. That means that by the end you should be red faced, your hair should be a mess, you should be out of breath, and you should be soaking in sweat.
Just remember, no matter how silly you may think you look when exercising, by going to the gym dressed like you’re ready for a night on the town, in many regular gym-goers’ eyes you look even more ridiculous.
Mistake #3 – Becoming obsessed
Men and women are both constantly aware of how their bodies look but generally it’s women that are even more obsessed with their bodies than men are. Of course there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get in shape and improve your body, but when it comes to working out you need to know when to say that enough is enough.
Some women can develop an unhealthy obsession with the gym and will spend countless hours working out, often training 7 days a week. This can be unhealthy as it can put a strain on personal relationships, and can lead to an unhealthy body image such as body Dysmorphia, in which a person believes their body to be unattractive when seen in photos or in a mirror, no matter how great it may actually look to everybody else. It can also lead to the next issue on our list which is…
Mistake #4 – Overtraining
As mentioned, some women will spend far too many hours/days in the gym without a day off, or perhaps will simply cram too much volume into each workout instead. This can result in overtraining as the body, under such intense stress, will not have enough chance to recover before it is placed under intense stress again during the next workout.
When it comes to health and fitness, time off from the gym is just as important as actually going to the gym. We need to give our muscles a chance to rest, recover, and re-grow after we workout, and by training too often, or by doing too much, we don’t allow our bodies the time to do so. Studies have found that training 4 days a week, averaging between 45 – 90 minutes, depending on what you’re doing, is optimal for building the perfect body so if you’re guilty of training too often, and doing too much, give yourself and your body a break and you’ll be amazed by what a difference it can make.
Miss Jane King's true passion is defintely spending time at the gym. She does personal training for her clients and specializes in endurance and nutrition.