Some people simply workout regularly because it brings them joy. It makes the endorphins activate and leaves you with a happy, accomplished feeling. For others, it can be difficult to find the motivation to get out and be active.
While it is certainly true that “any activity is good activity,” it’s also possible to engage in activities that aren’t quite as healthy as others. In the end, most of us work out because it speeds up our metabolism, gives us more energy, helps us burn fat and cultivate muscle, and leads to a healthier lifestyle.
However, most people might not be aware that you can work out in ways that will actually slow your metabolism down. Exercise is a great way to burn calories all day long, but you shouldn’t let your exercise endeavors go to waste.
If you’re constantly workout out, but can’t seem to burn calories and shed fat the way you want to, you might be going about things in the wrong way. Here are a few easily avoidable workout mistakes that will compromise your efforts and can actually slow your metabolism:
Falling Into A Rut
While routine can be a positive thing, doing the same workout day after day for weeks on end is extremely boring. Not only does it cease to be mentally engaging and rewarding, but it also stops being physically challenging and stimulating.
Over time, your body will become used to such regular activity and you’ll no longer be pushing your boundaries or exploring your limits. You’ll also see your results begin to plateau. Correct this trend by changing things up. How you do this is up to you. Any little change to mix things up, challenge yourself, and keep you on your toes is a step in the positive direction.
Slaving Over Cardio
While aerobic exercise is extremely important, and sometimes undervalued in gyms today, a workout regimen that consists of solely cardiovascular activity isn’t necessarily healthy. Resistance training is the best way to increase lean muscle mass and eliminate those stubborn bulges.
As we age, muscle gets harder and harder to keep around. Substituting a few strength sessions a week for some of your cardio days is a great way to maintain lean muscle mass throughout your 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. If you want to maintain your long-term health, especially as you get older, you’ll need to find a productive balance between cardio and strength exercises.
Getting Stuck in Fat-Burning Perpetuity
When you frequent the gym often, you might become quite friendly with the “fat-burning” setting available on most treadmills, elliptical trainers, stair climbers, and other cardio machines. The basis of the “fat-burning” option is lower intensity exercise because, at lower intensities, your body will utilize a greater percentage of its’ fat stores for fuel. In theory, you don’t have to work quite as hard and you’ll still be ridding your belly, butt, and thighs of unwanted fat.
The problem with this theory is that, although your body will burn a higher percentage of fat than carbohydrates at lower intensities, it will burn fewer total calories overall. For example, a 150-pound women doing a low intensity walk at 3 mph for 30 minutes will burn about 112 calories, 50% percent of which will be from fat, a total of 56 fat calories.
On the other hand, the same woman walking at a moderate intensity of 4 mph for 30 minutes will burn about 170 calories total. While her percentage of calories burned from fat will be closer to 40%, her total amount of calories burned from fat will be about 68 calories, still more overall calories from fat than burned at lower intensity.
Thus, you can see the benefits of switching up your workouts on a regular basis, avoiding an overreliance on cardiovascular exercise, and doing occasional interval training to mix high intensity workouts with slower recovery efforts.