If it seems you are not seeing the results you want after spending hours in the gym, maybe it's what you are doing there that you should be thinking about. Here are five mistakes that women make in the gym.
1. No heavy lifting.
Although many women understand the benefits of strength training, still we hear women worrying about bulking up and avoiding the dumbbells. Weight training, especially for women over 40, can help transform your body and increase lean muscle mass. Think about lifting heavy enough weights or performing enough repetitions to feel your muscles fatigue. When you are muscles get tired, they are sure to get stronger.
2. Holding on.
There are hand rails on every cardio piece of equipment in the gym including the treadmills, elliptical and even handle bars for the upright bikes, but holding on when doing cardio eliminates your core muscles stabilizing the body and coordinating balance muscles. That means you are getting less calorie form and results from your workout. Try to stay upright with abdominals pulled in, breathing down into the belly and letting go of the rails. On some pieces of equipment like the ellipticals, you may be challenged. But keep in mind, it is better to hold on and let go gradually than fall off!
3. Skipping the mirror.
Sometimes we don't love what we see in the mirror and therefore avoid seeing ourselves in one at all costs. But the mirror gives up great feedback when working out. It helps us see our form, so that we can correct it and get more out of each exercise. Make sure when you are performing strength work to see and connect your mind with the muscles you are working. Guys do it all the time -- they focus and concentrate and watch their every move. Stop thinking they are watching yours, and watch your own form.
4. Post fuel fail.
Men get it right by taking a post-workout supplement with protein, while many women skip the protein drinks after their workout because they don't realize the impact of having a protein drink, which helps replenish and rebuild muscles. This helps your metabolism burn more calories and slim your shape. Make sure you are getting at least 15 grams of protein post workout and watch the calories -- keep those under 200.
5. Cardio daydream.
Have you ever watched the glazed over eyes of someone on a treadmill reading a book or watching TV? It is not wrong to multitask, but realize that when you read or watch TV on a treadmill leisurely you burn considerably fewer calories, due to lack of focused movement patterns, because you are holding onto the rails to stay tuned into TV. That means you have to stay on the equipment twice as long! Make your cardio efficient and push yourself to breathlessness. Sprint, climb or increase the pace even for a minute, then recover. The interval bursts do two great things for your body: they increase your aerobic capacity (so skiing in altitude is easier!) and burn more calories than steady-state work.
Don't waste your time and efforts when you can be seeing a healthier you in half the time. Push yourself ladies, and let's see those smiling faces when bikini beach season hits.