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According to the American Council on Exercise, here are 10 Workout "Goofs" to avoid:

  • Not stretching. Stretch before and after aerobic activity. Prior to stretching, warm up as stretching cold muscles can cause injury. Flexible muscles are far less likely to be pulled than tight ones.

  • Skipping warm-up. Like stretching, muscles need time to adjust to the demands placed on them. Rather than hitting the treadmill running, for example, take a few minutes to walk, build up to a light jog, and then hit your stride.

  • Skipping cool-down. Due to time constraints, many people head straight to the showers after their last repetition. Instead, take a few minutes to lower your heart rate and stretch your muscles. This will improve flexibility and help prepare the body for your next workout.

  • Pretending you're Arnold. Lifting too much weight is the best way to injure yourself. Gradual, progressive resistance is a far more effective-and safe-way to increase muscle strength.

  • Being aWeekend Warrior. The mistake of the person who tries to fit a week's worth of exercise into a Saturday afternoon. For weight loss, it's more effective to sustain a moderate workout for longer periods of time than to exercise intensely for only a few minutes. For others, the expectation that a workout must be intense to be effective can lead some to burnout or injury while others abandon their training altogether.

  • Acting like Joe Camel (minus the cigarettes of course!). Only camels can go without water: for the rest of us water is a necessity! Drink plenty of it before, during and after your workout.

  • Climbing K2 while on the treadmill. What's the point of cranking the machine up to the highest level if you're just going to support your weight on the side rails? It's much more effective-not to mention easier on your wrists and elbows-to lower the intensity to the point at which you can maintain good posture while lightly resting your hands on the rails for balance.

  • Posing, instead of training. While it's true you don't want to overdo it, sitting on an exercise bike without pedaling won't burn many calories. You should exercise intensely enough to work up a light sweat, get your heart beating up into that training zone, and feel a sense of satisfaction for having completed your workout.

  • BelievingMore is Better. Look in the mirror, do you see someone with bulging thighs and stomach, chalk-white hands yelling in Hungarian? If the answer is no, then stop trying to lift like youÍre competing in the world heavy weight championships. The most effective way to train is to control the weight: the weight shouldn't control you. When you have to jerk the weight, you're likely jerking other muscles as well. This is can lead to strain and injury, with the muscles of the back being particularly vulnerable.

  • Eating for a marathon. If you are trying to watch your calorie intake watch out for meal replacement drinks and bars that advertise high energy. High Energy often means high calorie. There are many low to moderate calorie meal replacement drinks and bars available in our clubs, that will supply the proper balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat.

    Avoid these goofs and you'll be better able to reach your fitness goals!

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    Note: Information on this site is intended for general reference purposes only and is not intended to address specific medical conditions. Information on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice or a medical exam. Prior to participating in any exercise program or activity, you should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. No health information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition.

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