It’s always a rewarding feeling after you’ve conquered a workout in the gym. You’ve been focused and determined; slaying away in the gym harder than you ever have before. There’s just one thing frustrating you. You aren’t seeing the results you were hoping for after a solid amount of committed time and effort to your workout program.
With your relationship to your training, there are a few non-negotiable when it comes to seeing your fitness results: you should be doing some sort of training on a regular basis and you need to keep a healthy balanced diet. If you aren’t eating properly you will not achieve your results. Bottom line. But that’s an article for another time.
If you are looking to maximize your training sessions, let’s go over 5 workout rules you can totally, completely ignore.
Rule #1: You should never eat before a morning workout.
Fact: This one is outrageous. Would you get into your car and drive it on an empty gas tank? You wouldn’t get very far. The same can be applied to your body driving you through your workout. Your body needs fuel to function. People think they’ll burn more fat in the morning if they don’t eat before a workout, but if you are going to wake up and do an intense workout you should be eating 60-45 minutes prior to hitting the gym. Eating something with both carbs and protein will provide you with all the energy you need to blast through your workout morning, noon or night. A banana with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter. A smoothie. A rice cake with a tablespoon of almond butter and a drizzle of honey.
Rule #2: You should only stick to one workout.
Fact: Yes, If you want to plateau. There is however, always more than one way you can get to where you want to go. By keeping your workouts different, you can be sure that you will continue to achieve results and not be prone to feeling stagnate in a routine. Especially, if you are looking to gain lean muscle mass. Our bodies have an incredible way of adapting to stress. Changing up your routines will force your body to work harder and not remain complacent.
Rule #3: Pounding out time on the treadmill is the best for your cardio and calorie burn.
Fact: All in all cardio workouts are important, especially if you are training for an endurance event you’ve set your heart on. But, if you want to mix things up, circuit routines that involve lifting weights or moving through bodyweight exercises at a quick pace are also great for building strength and burning fat. Building muscle is important for calorie burn—while cardio burns more calories per minute, lifting weights can help you burn more calories after the workout ends as your muscles piece themselves back together post lifting weights and build lean muscle mass.
Rule #4: You have to be sore after a workout.
Fact: Never true. Do not be fooled by this. Just because you aren’t seeing results should not force you to feel that you need to go harder and feel sore for days to come.
Soreness does not equate to how hard you trained or how hard your workout actually was for your body. Your level of post-workout soreness can be a direct result of a slew of factors, ranging from the types of exercise you’re doing to your quality of recovery. I explain this to my clients often: Sure, you’ll want to step things up, but don’t feel like you need to push your body to an extreme in order to see gains. Or be in the gym for hours at a time for that matter as well.
Rule #5: When performing a squat never let your knees go past your toes.
Following this ‘golden rule’ could actually be affecting your form and hurting you more than helping you when squatting. This becomes detrimental to your form and limiting your mobility for a perfect squat or lunge. And remember, proper form leads to better results. Some people are just built differently and the truth is, at the very bottom of a squat, your knees can go slightly beyond your toes. The key here is not to let your knees extend so far forward that you put undo pressure on them, so there is a small range that is acceptable. So while your knees are important, focus on really pushing your butt back and down and keeping your weight in your heels throughout the movement.