5 Exercise Mistakes That Can Hijack Your Calorie Burn
You go to the gym regularly, lift weights and attend classes. So why is the scale not budging? Poor exercise form or bad workout habits can greatly reduce your calorie burn. Here are some of the most common ways to cheat your workouts without even realizing it.
- Watching TV
Many gyms and fitness centers have televisions so members can catch up on the news or watch movies while doing cardio and even weightlifting. However, if you spend half your workout flipping through the channels, it distracts you from the reason you came to the gym in the first place. If you must watch television, choose a channel and leave it there so you can focus on your workout.
If you can read text while on the treadmill, you are cheating yourself from a good workout. Magazines and smartphones cause distraction that takes away from the intensity of a workout. Listening to music is fine, in fact it can reduce your perception of effort and increase endurance by 15%, according to several studies.
- Holding on too tight
Holding the sidebars when walking on the treadmill or hanging on tight to the handles of the elliptical trainer cheats you out of the largest possible calorie burn. Use the rails only as a guide, keeping your fingertips lightly on them. If you can’t maintain proper form without clutching the bars, try lowering the incline or slowing down your pace.
Lifting weights involves two phases: a concentric (contracting) move and an eccentric (stretch) phase. If you swing your arms when doing a move like a bicep curl or a tricep push-down, you build momentum and sacrifice results by not controlling the eccentric phase. Practice a two-second count on the concentric move and four to five count on the eccentric.
- Giving up during classes
Take an intense cycling class, for example. If you don’t increase the tension when the instructor tells you to, you will coast through and cheat yourself of a good calorie burn. The same applies to other classes where you substitute an easy activity such as jogging in place instead of a more strenuous exercise because the latter is more difficult. Tell yourself, ‘I am strong’ or ‘I can do this’ and plow through tough spots.