Are You Sabotaging Your Workout?

By Stepy Kamei

We all know how important staying active and working out on a regular basis is for maintaining optimal health and wellness. Still, our lives and schedules are so frantic and fast-paced these days that way too many of us end up inadvertently leaving our health by the wayside, falsely thinking we don't need to bother to maintain it as long as it isn't bothering us in any way. Getting in a good fitness routine a few days a week is one of the most effective ways a person can keep their physical and mental health in a good place. Still, it's not always enough to just go to the gym -- you need to make sure you're performing the right kind of workout in the right way, and taking care of your body outside of your workouts if you really want to get the most out of your gym membership. 

Avoid Getting Stuck in a Routine

Like many other aspects of our everyday lives, it's pretty easy to get settled into a standard routine at the gym. You may start to use the exact same machines for the exact same amount of time on the same exact days of the week. Over time, this kind of monotony will not only stop being fun -- it will stop working to tone and condition your muscles. The body needs to be exposed to a variety of workouts and fitness routines in order to get and stay fit. You can certainly continue using your favorite set of machines or enrolling in your favorite classes, but just be sure to mix it up now and again. For example, if you go to the gym three days a week, alternate those days so that one day you're doing a cardio workout, the next day you're doing a high-intensity interval workout, and the third day you're practicing yoga or zumba. 

Sometimes, It's OK to Skip the Gym

Once again, having motivation and willpower to exercise is a great thing to have, but you should never push yourself if your body is clearly telling you it needs to rest. If any type of exercise routine causes you to feel pain or discomfort, discontinue it immediately. You may want to rest throughout the day as well. If you're feeling sick, exhausted, or otherwise low energy for any reason, you shouldn't drag yourself to the gym. You'll only serve to burn yourself out and leave your body more vulnerable to illness and injury.