Avoid The Top 5 Mistakes Women Make In The Gym
1. TOO MUCH CARDIO
Cardio is most effective for people who are overweight and new to exercise. Overtime, however, the body adapts and begins to use energy and oxygen from more convenient sources, i.e. muscle tissue.
Excessive cardio is also related to an increased appetite for sugary foods to replace the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is lost during periods of chronic stress. (Such as TOO MUCH CARDIO!)
The main way cardio hinders your fat loss efforts is through the increased production of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is catabolic, i.e. it uses up muscle tissue and slows down protein synthesis.
Less muscle mass equates to a slower metabolism and a slower metabolism leads to your body burning fewer calories during rest.
Other effects of high cortisol include:
Increased insulin resistance making the body unable to tap into fat stores for energy.
Imbalanced ghrelin and leptin levels (hormones that regulate hunger).
Suppressed growth hormone and testosterone levels (associated with increased fat gain).
Avoid running on the treadmill at the same speed for prolonged periods of time. Avoid anything over 30 minutes, especially when doing steady state Cardio.
Numerous studies have found High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to be most effective for fat loss.
A typical HIIT session involves a brief period of sprinting followed by a longer period of walking.
Sample HIIT workout: 15 second sprint followed by 45 second walk, for a total of 15 minutes.
2. FEAR OF GETTING BROAD
Most women either use weights that are too light, or they don’t lift weights at all.
Sure, diet and cardio may help you drop some fat. But what will be under it?
The answer is: Not much! You will still feel flabby.
Lifting weights is what will develop tone and reveal the overall appealing shape of your body.
You will not develop curves using 5 lb. dumbbells. Use weights that allow you to complete 8-15 reps. Don’t be afraid to progress up to using the 20, 30, or even 40 lb. dumbbells or more.
Remember: More muscle mass also means a faster metabolism. A faster metabolism means your body will burn more calories at rest.
Don’t worry: Your muscles will not grow beyond your aesthetic ideal… unless you overfeed them.
This is where keeping your diet in check comes into play.
3. ATTEMPTING TO SHRINK THE WAIST WITH EXCESSIVE AB TRAINING
I have observed women in the gym diligently doing crunches, side bends, leg raises, and various other ab exercises day after day.
Although the myth of spot reducing fat stores has long been busted, many women still believe that they can shrink their waist by training their abs.
Sure: Ab training can pronounce the muscles of the core and create a tighter stomach, but it will not do much to cut down the fat.
Training your abs 2-3 times a week is more than enough, and some say it’s still too much.
Your fat loss efforts should be focused on diet and an HIIT routine.
4. REPETITIVE WORKOUTS
When you work your muscle, you are essentially breaking it down. For muscle growth, you need to allow time for recovery.
Remember: Your muscles grow outside the gym.
If you are doing the same workout every day you are either:
1) Not allowing enough time for the muscles to recover
2) Not working out hard enough
Break up your workout split to train each muscle group once a week.
5. INADEQUATE POST WORKOUT NUTRITION
After a workout your muscles are depleted of glycogen and craving nutrients.
It is important to get a proper post-workout meal in order for your body to ignite the muscle repair process. A good benchmark for a proper post-workout meal is about 30 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbs.
Experiment to see how your body best responds.
During the hour after a tough workout your muscles are like sponges. They absorb much of what is consumed. It is very difficult for your body to gain fat during the post-workout window. Your body drives the nutrients straight to the muscle rather than storing them.
The 1-hour post-workout window is also the BEST time for you to consume your guilty pleasures.
Want to learn more? Come try out one of our group training classes and see how much fun it is to get fit, lean and healthy. Is it easy? No, but It’s not as difficult as you’ve been led to believe. Call now at and change your life!
Bernard Oostra is a Certified Personal Trainer, Health and Wellness Lifestyle Coach and Owner of The Healthy & Fit Lifestyle Center Dalton GA 706-313-0013