You know what’s frustrating? When you decide you want to lose a few pounds, clean up your diet, start hitting the gym on the reg and see zero movement on the scale (or in your clothes). Little do you know you might actually be sabotaging yourself. Avoid these six common gym mistakes that might be stopping you from reaching your goal.
1. You do too much cardio
Cardio burns calories and is great for your heart, but doing too much of it can be a bad thing. If you’re running on the treadmill or elliptical-ing for hours on end, your body might actually start to eat away at lean muscle to fuel itself. Over time, that could slow your metabolism and make it harder to burn fat. We’re not saying you should skip cardio altogether; just don’t only do cardio.
2. You don’t do enough strength training
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Weight training will not bulk you up like a bodybuilder. (Your low testosterone levels will keep you in check.) In fact, lifting weights is an amazing way to boost your metabolism and stay lean.
3. You never change your routine
You know when you try a new workout class and you can feel it in every single muscle for days? And then, you keep going back and get less and less sore each time? As great as it feels to master a workout, it’s important to branch out. When you get too used to a set routine, your progress stalls and you stop seeing results. Once you feel yourself simply going through the motions, make a conscious effort to try a new class or work a different part of your body.
4. You reward yourself with bad food
While incentivizing workout works for some people (who celebrate their efforts with, say, a baller new pair of leggings), it loses some of its effect when the reward is food-based. Let’s face it, if you’re celebrating the end of a boxing class with three beers, a cheeseburger and fries, you’re not doing your progress any favors.
5. You don’t stretch afterward
No, stretching doesn’t help you lose weight, but it does prevent injuries, which could keep you out of the gym for potentially long periods of time. So by adequately cooling down after a gym sesh, you’re making yourself better able to stay on track and keep doing what you’re doing.
6. You never rest
You’re committed, and that’s great. But being too committed could actually be detrimental to your progress. If you’re not giving yourself enough time to rest in between workouts, your body responds by producing more cortisol, a stress hormone that makes you store fat. So even if you’re working out seven days a week, make sure at least a couple of those days you go a little easier and take a restorative yoga class, for example.