Saving the World... One Squat at a Time

3 Big DON'TS When Working Out

I usually talk about what to do to reach your goals. I feel like it’s time I talked about what NOT to do to reach your goals. These are things I have to tell people all too often, so let’s just put it out there now.

Don’t move without a purpose

aimless workout
                               Pencilmation Cartoons, YouTube

Every single physical activity should have a purpose. When we talk about getting fit, losing weight, or increasing strength, we have to perform movements that have been proven to be effective at helping to reach these goals. Just like we need maps and directions to get us from point A to point B, we need a plan that can get us from starting point to ultimate goal. Have you ever noticed that when you watch those silly half hour TV sitcoms, the storyline only progresses as far as the episode and each episode introduces a brand new plot? There is no continuity between episodes so there is never an overarching storyline, which means you can watch any episode during any season, and still get the gist of what’s going on. When you workout just for the sake of working out because somehow, you’ve got it in your head that anytime you sweat, you’re losing body fat, then your workouts are like these sitcom episodes. You’ll never reach your goals because, well, there is no plan (or storyline). True exercise programming requires honestly assessing your own physical and mental abilities, and building a plan to gradually take you toward your goal(s). Ask yourself, do I want to just work out, or do I want to train? 

Don’t fixate on body parts

No, you can’t exercise a body part and expect fat to drop from that one area. No, there’s no such thing as simply “toning up”. No, working exclusively on select body parts won’t make you any fitter or more attractive. Your body doesn’t utilize fat stores based off of what muscles you use the most. Instead, it chooses to consume fat stores from the entire body, (although some people see more change in certain body parts than others). In order to get abs to show, or get “toned” arms, you really just need to do two things: drop your total body fat, and enlarge your muscles. In order to have a more athletic figure, it is absolutely essential to exercise the entire body.  

Don’t move mindlessly

silly walks
                          Monty Python, Ministry of Silly Walks

Most of us New Yorkers walk around with a thousand thoughts racing through our heads, and the last thing we think about is where we are planting our feet. In order to get the most benefit from your workouts, you need slow it down and actually get to know exactly what good form feels like, and what bad form feels like. You also need to know where your body is relative to its environment, and recognize that without full awareness of the body parts you are exercising, you will never fully engage the right muscles. The single biggest lesson I try to impart on all of my clients is mindfulness. Without the ability to be inside our own bodies, we can never truly know what it is we need to do for it. Remember my five M’s:



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