Wasting your time? Do it right for results. Photo: iStockWorkout with Damien on Bodypass
Newsflash: old-fashioned, ‘globo’ gyms aren’t the best way to get fit. A classic gym membership has a bunch of people paying a small amount to hire a room and use the gear.
If you know what you’re doing you might succeed in getting fit. But the typical gym set-up just doesn’t work for most people. Here’s why.
1. Gym machines focus on one-movement exercises
Big machines like the leg extension and pec dec have been gym mainstays for decades. The problem is they move you in only one plane, but nearly every movement we do is multi-plane. These gym machines are not strengthening you for real life and are really ineffective – so why are they there at all? They were originally designed for bodybuilders who had hours a day to isolate and stress each muscle.
What to try: Use your own body weight in movements like a push-up or try free weights like dumbbells or kettlebells.
2. It’s too busy to have a decent workout
Have you ever gone to the gym and had to wait ages because someone was hogging the machine? I’ve been writing exercise programs since 1995, but even with all my skills it’s hard to program a good workout in a gym setting because the likelihood of all the machines being available when you want them, is super low.
What to try: There are loads of super effective moves you can circuit between that require minimal equipment and space – think burpees, pull ups, squats and skipping.
3. You focus on cardio
Spending time on a treadmill is not going to dramatically change your body. It will get you to a certain point but your body becomes efficient and you have to constantly work harder or longer to get the same fat burning result. Secondly, it’s at the muscle where fat is burnt, so the aim should be to increase muscle so that we can burn fat while we’re sitting around, after class.
What to try: Strength training in a high intensity circuit format – it burns a lot of fat, as the challenge to the muscles is huge and always changing.
4. You do the same thing, over and over
Large group classes don’t stress the body in new ways to make it adapt and become stronger. You end up doing the same workouts over and over again, which leads to boredom and doesn’t give your body the necessary stress to change.
What to try: Mix up your workout styles and formats. Try a short, sharp workout with really high intensity one day, a circuit the next using whole body moves swapping between the legs, upper body and abs and then an active recovery day involving a swim or walk on the third day.
5. Nobody is watching
To get results from exercise, technique is extremely important. The big three are range of motion, control and posture. The problem is it’s really hard to get these three factors perfect. So, unless a trained eye is on you giving you the right cues, you’re not getting the most workout benefit.
What to try: Find a qualified fitness professional in a small group format so they can guide you to minimise injury and maximise results.
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