Back in the gym after the summer? Determined to shift the pounds put on during the vacation?

To keep you on track during the first few weeks back and so that you don’t waste your time in the gym or let newly activated gym membership fall to the wayside here are ten mistakes I see all the time and tips on how to overcome them .

1/ AVOID THE “ALL OR NOTHING APPROACH”. “I don’t have much time so I wont bother at all”. If you don’t have time for your whole usual workout no problem. Research shows that even 10 minutes of exercise has health benefits. So don’t use lack of time to skip.

Alternatively don’t go crazy for the next few weeks without giving the body time to recover between workouts. You need a couple of days rest weekly so overtraining doesn’t lead to injury and destroying your training program – leading to more time off and delaying your goals.

2/UNBALANCED STRENGTH TRAINING PROGRAMS such as training just the abdominals or chest and biceps for visual appearance only can lead to injury. And injury results ultimately in time off and demotivation. You should be training all muscle groups to achieve a strong balanced body.

3/TRAINING WITH BAD FORM is a sure way to get injured in the gym. There are so many ways to damage your shoulders, back and knees it is worth hiring a recommended personal trainer at least for a few sessions to assess and improve your technique.

4/WISE EXERCISE PROGRESSION. Don’t try to do too much too soon – start gradually within your limitations and build slowly. Maybe have a personal trainer put together a program to suit you and go back to have it updated and made more challenging to suit your progress at regular intervals.

5/AVOID NEVER CHANGING YOUR ACTIVITY OR WORKOUT ROUTINE. Unchanging workouts , although you enjoy it at first, can least to boredom, which then leads to lack of motivation and not working hard enough for results, the body  no longer responding and changing to exercise. Overdoing it and not alternating  more challenging days with easier days can lead to injury and burnout.

7/ALWAYS FOCUS ON YOUR WORKOUT. Whether watching TV, reading, having your head in social media or chatting with friends, it all contributes to distracting you from your workout and slowing you down. Don’t allow the quality of your exercise become effected.

8/COOL DOWN PROPERLY AFTER YOUR WORKOUT. Allow your heart rate to lower and stretch. You will help reduce the risk of injury and improve your flexibility. Don’t dash straight for the door or to the showers.

9/PRACTICE CORRECT GYM ETIQUETTE. This can range from refraining from bad manners and being rude to lingering on equipment after you have finished your set, chatting loudly on your cell phone, not using a towel while on machines or benches or not wiping them down when you have finished working with a piece of equipment. Always be considerate of others around you.

10/ SET REALISTIC GOALS. Many people aim to lose too much weight too quickly  (like a 10kg in 4 weeks) or have goals which are too vague (‘’I want to lose weight and get fit’’). Establish specific training goals which are appropriate for your fitness level and the time you have allowed yourself. A good personal trainer can help you plan this.

Anna Louise – Fitness Consultant