Going to the gym is a great start but it’s not a guarentee for weight loss results. Certain gym mistakes can make you fatter.
You read that right. Spending hours in the gym doesn’t necessarily guarentee results if you’re doing certain things wrong. Other mistakes can just make it so there is a lot of room for improvement.
1. Focusing too much on cardio
The number one gym mistake making you fatter is focusing too much on cardio. Most people think cardio is the best weight loss workout for fat loss. However, by only putting effort into cardio you are leaving a lot of weight loss results on the table.
The belief that cardio is the best weight loss exercise is so popular has a few reasons. One of these is because if you look at calories burned during exercise minute by minute, cardio indeed burns more calories than weight lifting.
But that’s not the complete weight loss story.
When you focus your attention on a longer time frame, things start to look different. Weight lifting helps you build muscle.
Your body uses energy (calories) to do all kinds of things like keeping your heart beating, moving you around, digesting food,… The more mass (weight) you carry around, the more energy your body will need to do all these things.
This is a common reason of weight loss plateaus. You lose weight and this causes the things you did before to lose weight to become less effective.
Now, another way to gain more mass but in a healthy (and better looking) way is to build muscle. Muscle also burns slightly more calories compared to the same weight in fat.
Long term weight loss
So if you compare the total fat burning effects of a cardio workout versus a weight training workout over the course of let’s say 3 days that’s when you see that weight lifting is a more time-effective exercise for long term weight loss.
So if you want to burn a lot of calories in the next 30 minutes, you can go for cardio or hiit (high intensity interval training). However if you want the most long term weight loss, so almost everyone, you might want to think about doing more weight lifting.
Now, the best weight loss exercise for you isn’t always the one that is the most time-efficient in burning calories.
If you absolutely hate weight lifting, chances are you won’t keep doing it for long. The exercise that doesn’t get done doesn’t burn any calories. The message is to choose a kind of exericse you will keep up and preferably something that helps you burn a lot of extra calories.
Why not both?
If you want to speed up the process even more, you can consider doing both.
Too much exercise isn’t healthy either and it can even stop weight loss results. Doing both is more for the people who are looking to lose those last few stubborn pounds.
If doing both is right for you and you want to do them during the same workout you should do one before the other.
Try to do weight lifting before you start your cardio. The weight lifting will deplete glycogen stores and the cardio will help you burn a big amount of fat. You can also do both but on separate days.
However, if you have to choose between cardio and weight training for optimal long term weight loss, you should go with the weight lifting.
2. Not training at high intensity
A second mistake people make is not training at a high intensity.
One kind of exercise can have different weight loss results depending on how intense you do it.
Just imagine one person jogging for 15 minutes compared to someone sprinting 15 minutes. There will be a difference in calories burned.
This mostly applies to cardio-like exercises but you could also reduce your rest time in between weight lifting. This will most likely get your heart beating that little bit harder.
3. Too afraid of discomfort
Another thing that happens to a lot of people is that they are afraid of discomfort.
There is always this voice that tells you to slow down, to take a break, to eat that unhealthy snack. This is your body wanting to play it safe, to not risk any discomfort.
However, the way to get better, to lose the weight is by changing your habits. And this will feel a bit uncomfortable in the beginning.
It’s the same with exercising. To become better, to be able to lift heavier weights, to run for longer you will have to get uncomfortable at some point.
The best results come when you push yourself enough (and not too much). That’s the way you will get more muscle that burns calories for you and the way you will be able to run for longer.
4. Not switching up your workout
This fourth mistake ties in with number three in a way.
When you do something often, you become used to it both mentally and physically. The problem with this for losing weight is that you will see less and less results from the same workout. On top of that you will also see less calorie burning because you start losing fat.
So what you need to do is switch up your workout. This might mean using heavier weight, running longer, running harder or just doing another kind of exercise that uses different muscles.
5. Only using machines
The fifth and final gym mistakes that can make you see less results than you could is only using machines.
This mostly applies to lifting weights. Machines are great for targetting a very specfic muscle. However, by using free weight you train all kinds of different muscles. This is particularly great for losing weight since more muscle means more calorie burning.
Some of the best training equipment tools available are barbells dumbbells, cattle bells and body weight.