Mistake number 1: Isolation exercises such as bicep curls and the adductor machine (you know the one, where you have to push your legs together whilst seated)
For effective weight loss and to get the physique you really want it's no good trying to 'spot target' certain areas of your body such as your biceps, bingo wings, your thigh because you won't achieve effective results this way. Isolation exercises are useless if your goal is weight loss, or you want to expose muscles that are currently deep beneath a layer of fat. So how do you create an effective workout that simply melts away fat and gets you the body of your dreams? Its easy - you have to consider every exercise you do, and try to stimulate as many muscle fibres as you possibly can at one go.
Isolation exercises like bicep curls and tricep kickbacks won't get you results. You see people in the gym doing them, but 99 percent of exercisers in the gym don't achieve the results they desire, and give up after a few weeks! Don't follow the crowd, get the results with compound exercises.
Compound v Isolation Exercises
Compound and Isolation and Functional Exercises. Since you are training for a balanced and healthy body, and you want to tone up, lose weight and get fit, it is necessary to incorporate functional exercises into your training regime. The term 'functional exercises' is a greatly misused description of exercise, and many personal trainers rave about their functional exercise sessions when in fact every exercise serves a function.
Whether that function is to burn calories, sports performance, or to improve your ability to lift a dumbbell whilst balancing on a wobble board is a question you should ask yourself. When I describe an exercise as functional what I mean in the case of training for weight loss and muscle gain is that it is effective in just that - burning calories and creating enough stress to elicit a growth response and fitness, fat-loss, and toning.
This brings me on to the use of compound and isolated resistance exercises as a means of bringing on improved fitness and body composition. A compound exercise describes a movement about 2 or more joints such as a squat, lunge or press up. An isolation exercise 'isolates' muscle fibers, involving motion about only one joint.
Compound exercises rely on (and stimulate) excellent neuromuscular coordination between an abundance of muscles around the body all playing different roles from the prime movers to the stabilizing effect of fixators and synergists. Great for both effective weight loss and if you want to get ripped. As a person you will never use just one joint at a time in life and for your weight loss goal it is most effective to incorporate specific compound moves into your routines.
Mistake number 2: Relying on machine weights rather than free weights.
Gyms are packed with gimmicks. Gym membership teams are trained in how to sell to the average gym exerciser who wants to establish effective weight loss, and fancy machines make this easier. They don't care about results since your gym membership is tied-in for a year, and they'll get you tied in again next new years resolution season when you're feeling guilty about eating too much. So for now I want to tell you why to avoid gimmicky gadgets in the gym - machine weights. In fact while I think about it, my colleague and the person who trained me to become a personal trainer said recently ' the only good thing a smith machine can be used for is hanging up my sweat towel.'
The problem with machine weights, apart from taking up all the space, is the fact they force your body to follow a certain direction - the machines direction which may not be your natural movement. They also take the stabilising and synergistic muscles, and the fixators out of the exercise so you don't need to balance, brace and essentially work as hard. Back to mistake number one - less muscles being used equals less fibres being stimulated equals ineffective results.
Not only this the range of motion of the exercise is limited to the machines range, not to mention the strain on the joins from the unnatural movement path that they encourage. Machines may well allow you to lift bug weights, but that's because they make the machine easier.
Really the only machine you really should be seen on is the lat pull down, and unless your goal is rehab of a certain muscle, or hypertrophy around, for example a knee joint, then keep off the machines. Free weights and body weight exercises are the best for effective weight loss.
Mistake number 3: Going long and slow
LSD, that's what so many of us are addicted to right? Long Slow Distance, LSD, is te term used to describe the intensity and duration of, say, a 1hour run, a several hour bike ride or a long swim. It is the pace that can be maintained for ages. It is what a coach would call endurance pace, and it is not recommended for effective weight loss.
Lets take a look at the start line of the London marathon, or any marathon. Have you ever noticed how so many of the runners are fat, and that even the thin ones are soft and squidgy under their running vests. In contrast a track runner, training for 100m sprint will have a lean and defined body composition, and its all because of the hormones the long low intensity sessions elicit.
Don't get me wrong, cardio training is excellent method of exercise for losing weight, but only if done correctly. HIIT, or high intensity interval training is the key, and if you ever wondered how to get toned or how to get ripped by doing cardio exercise, then HIIT is the answer - the key to your dream results. Not only that, but HIIT is far more effective at getting you sports fitness too compared to LSD. So kick your LSD habit and take up high intensity interval training. Get significantly fitter in half the time! Sound good? Get 28% fitter in just 4 minutes - find out how!
Mistake number 4: Use the ab-cradle, crunches, situps to get the six pack you always dreamed of!
Would you like a six pack? Have you ever wondered how to get ripped abs? Are you looking to tone up your tummy and do you want to get rid of tummy fat? Well if the answer is yes, and you've been using crunches, ab-cradles and the like to sculpt your tummy, you've probably not had much success so far. In fact I'd take a guess that your ab-cradle is in storage and your crunches routine has been forgotten about - because it isn't working.
Abdominal muscles are present in all of us. We all have a six pack. Yes, really, we do. However, most of us have a layer of tummy fat that covers the abdominals like a blanket. Too much abdominal fat is extremely bad for your health, as is too little. But the great news is, that if you reduce your stomach fat your abs will soon be on show.
How best to get rid of tummy fat, and show off the six pack? Ditch the crunches and perform HIIT exercises, full body free weights and big-bang bodyweight exercises. You'll find that this results in effective weight loss, and before you know it you'll have toned or ripped abs.
Mistake number 5: Doing the same routines, week in week out.
GAS is what you are suffering from if you have stopped seeing weight loss results, muscle gain or fitness increases. General adaptive syndrome, GAS, brings us the dreaded plateau, and is the reason why most gym users quit after 4 weeks. It is the point where you begin to have feelings of monotony, boredom, sluggishness, and most importantly your weight stops dropping, your inches stop shedding and your body stops adapting to the demands of your fitness regime.
The answer and remedy is simple - mix it up! Your body is very clever, and since you began stressing it to get your initial weight loss or muscle gain, it has adapted, become fitter, leaner, more toned and now is not challenged by the workout it once was. Change your workout and your results will come. Keep changing your regime for the most effective weight loss results, since this really is how to get ripped and toned with long-term consistency.
Mistake number 6 - Women (and men) avoiding weights
Women - weights are not just for men. Men, weights are not just for bodybuilders. Don't be afraid to lift weights to get effective weight loss results. In my online personal training programmes and blog I will show you how to lift weights properly to get the results you want.
There are a lot of myths surrounding weight lifting and whether you should do it. Can I take this opportunity to assure you that lifting weights is good for you. For your primary weight loss and lean muscle goals it is extremely effective. It is a myth that women will bulk up. Male body builders have extremely committed nutrition and training with the sole purpose of muscle building hypertrophy and bulking up, and they have a really hard time doing so. And this is with significantly more testosterone in their body than women, making bulking up for women even more of a challenge. Rest assured, you won't get bulky by lifting weights if you don't specifically train for this. You will feel great, increase your bone density, offset osteoporosis, improve your mood, improve your self image, improve your body composition, create a fat-burning furnace in your body that will continue to burn calories even after your workout - at rest. You will look great.
Guys, you will not become sluggish by using weights. You don't have to be a meathead to use the freeweights section in the gym. Use freeweights properly to experience lean muscle gain, injury prevention, amazing body composition changes and physique, gain height as your posture improves, gain confidence outside the gym too, and as with women, your self image will improve.
Free weights are not to be avoided if you want effective weight loss. They are a very effective tool to use with body weight exercises and HIIT. You don't need weights machines though just a few basic bits of kit such as a barbell and dumbbells.