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Get Fit Faster: 8 Gym Habits You Need to Stop

April 13, 2015 2 min read

When you walk in the door of the gym, your intentions are good but is it possible that your routine is standing in the way of your fitness goals? Here are 8 common gym mistakes you may be making:

1. Overdoing Cardio

People tend to overemphasize cardio and neglect strength training according to fitness expert Jorge Cruise, author of Inches Off! Your Belly. Throw in a quick strength training session to build more lean muscle which will help you burn more calories throughout the day.

2. Exercising at a moderate effort

Breezing through your workout is good for your heart but isn't so great for melting fat. For fat flushing results, Cruise recommends doing shorter, more vigorous (think high intensity) workouts at least 6 days a week.

3. Using the elliptical

This machine allows you to relax. It does some of the work for you so your body falls into the rhythm and doesn't work as hard. Cruise suggests strength training for weight loss but says that if you have to get on the elliptical or the treadmill, turn up the resistance or raise the incline to make your body work harder.

4. Attacking belly fat with ab exercises

“Crunches only target one small muscle group and don’t help you lose the fat covering up the abs,” Cruise explains. “Abs start in the kitchen. Controlling your insulin levels with the right diet is the best way to get rid of that stubborn belly fat.”

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5. Working out for long periods of time

Long workouts can make you hungry which can lead to overeating. According to Cruise, "It’s also been shown that after a long workout you become less active the rest of the day." Also, shorter workouts make it easier to sustain a daily commitment.

6. Hydrating with calorie-laden sports drinks

Chugging a sports drink after your workout only fills you with sugar. Sugar your body may store as fat. How counter productive! Drink water during and after your workout to get hydrated without all the sugar and calories!

7. Saving cardio for the gym

Cruise suggests doing your cardio in short intermittent bursts through the day. "Be more cognizant of walking places,” says Cruise. “Instead of fighting someone for the closest parking spot at the grocery store, be daring and journey to the farthest place you can park.”

8. Using exercise machines

Machines can help you tone but they won't be as effective as dumbbells or a kettlebell because they do some of the work for you. Free weights allow for a better range of motion and engage secondary muscles instead of working them in isolation. If you don't have free weights, use your imagination. A gallon of water makes a great stand in. Are you making any of these mistakes? What, in your gym routine, can you change today?

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