The one mistake we see women make is overdoing on cardio—just running on a treadmill at one moderate pace, without changing things up. The solution: adding interval training—bursts of high-intensity moves—to your routine. So whether you’re running, biking, swimming, whatever, go hard for a minute or two, then slow down (that’s your recovery) for the same duration before going full-throttle again. Over time, shorten your recovery time.
No Heavy Lifting
Many women resist strength training for fear of bulking up, but this is a huge misconception. Women don’t bulk up as easily as men, and by adding just a little bit of lean muscle, you’ll burn more calories all the time. Try weight-bearing moves such as squat jumps and lunges—as well as Pilates if you are still hesitant to pick up a set of dumbbells.
Improper form not only will hinder your progress, but it may lead to injuries that can sideline your weight-loss goals. Take advantage of the personal training session when you sign up! Have a professional trainer show you the right way to do several key exercises such as lunges, squats, and push-ups. If you’re working out alone try to stay in front of a mirror, which provides instant feedback on your form.
Putting Your Workout on Autopilot
If you find yourself in the same spinning class every week, you might need to try a yoga class to change it up. Once your body gets comfortable and knows what to expect, it’s easy to hit a weigh-loss plateau, so you put in the time but stop seeing changes. Mixing up your workout requires you to recruit different muscles all the time, and it also keeps your body guessing (and burning fat!).
Running on Empty
Exercising without water, or on an empty stomach is always a bad idea! Many people work out first thing in the morning or after work, they often haven’t eaten in hours. Training without a source of energy will not benefit you. Try to eat a healthy snack or mini-meal like almonds, a piece of fruit, or a low-cal energy bar an hour before you hit the gym. Always carry a water bottle!
Skipping Out on Stretching
Many come to the gym, jump on the treadmill, run, and leave. If you’re making the effort to work out, spend the few extra minutes warming up beforehand and stretching afterward. This will help prevent injury, and you’ll get more out of your workout.