The 10 Most Common Weightlifting Mistakes
#7 No Cool-Down
Converse to the warm-up, the cool-down's aim is unsurprisingly to cool down the muscles and ease them gently out of an intense workout. It is unwise to not perform a cool down as, like warming up, it helps prevent a build up of lactic acid in the muscles which causes cramps, stiffness and prevents your muscles from being able to recover. A good weightlifting session is rendered useless if the muscles cannot reform, leaving them stiff and you unable to go back to the gym for a few days as a result.
Like warming up, a cool down can be as simple as a five minute jog. If you've completed a particularly heavy weight lifting session, start with a hard run to a jog to a slow walk and then finish with some stretches and finally, have some water to drink.
#8 Poor Diet
Diet and exercise should go hand-in-hand and a bad diet can single-handedly undo everything that you have strived for in the gym. Primarily, you need to decide whether you are lifting weights to gain muscle or to tone your body. If you plan on doing the latter, it is advisable to formulate a healthy, low-fat diet in order to burn that excess fat away while gaining muscle. Eat food stuffs with a low glycemic index as these generally have less of an effect on the blood glucose levels. Whole grain foods - fruits like apples and pears and vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus and cauliflower - are imperative for this diet.
However, if you're seeking a bigger set of muscles, carbs and fats should be embraced as an important part of your diet. Despite what many weight-loss diets say, carbohydrates are needed as they are our primary source of fuel. Without it, the body would have little energy available for lifting weights and therefore it would begin to eat away at other sources in our body: specifically, muscle. Fats are equally as important, but only the good kind, which can be obtained from healthy foods such as avocadoes, olive oil and nuts. Trans-fats are never good for you.
#9 Overemphasis on Supplements
Supplements are called so precisely because they supplement your diet. They do not exist as a replacement for a healthy diet, or an effective exercise regime for that matter. Supplements should be considered only when you already have a suitable diet and a weightlifting plan which works for you. You should never, under any circumstances, take supplements in place of actually lifting weights: the only weight you'll be gaining is in fat. Before buying supplements, it is worth looking at some of the various brands' claims with some cynicism. If they claim a result that sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Do some research and talk to your doctor before you pick yourself a supplement.
#10 Overworking Your Muscles
Many guys at the gym believe that the more time you working out, the bigger your muscles will grow but when it comes to weightlifting, always remember that 'less is more'. A session that lasts for hours is doing your muscles, joints and central nervous system a great disservice. The act of actually lifting weights is only one part of muscle growth: time needs to be designated to rest in order to give the muscles an opportunity to grow. Tears are created in the muscle tissue when lifting weights; only while resting do the muscles repair themselves and, in the process, become larger.
A healthy diet and a decent amount of sleep will optimise muscle-growth and have you in good form when you return to the gym. A small, nagging injury is one thing, but if you do not allow these injuries to heal then it could very easily become something much more serious. Every 3 months or so, take several days off training (or more if required) in order to really let your body recover.
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