Not all exercise programs are created equal and with the loads of conflicting information out there it can be difficult to sort through which ones deliver the best results WHILE keeping our sanity (because yes that is important too).
With so many women continuing to struggle, falling in and out of different programs, or staying stuck in ones that just don’t deliver what they are looking for, I decided to turn to fellow fit pros for their solutions.
With the combined experience of training hundreds of clients first hand I asked them to share the most common exercise mistakes they see women make, and what to do instead.
Not just in the short term, but in the long run, in creating an exercise routine that gets results and is enjoyable enough to sustain.
Jill Coleman, Owner at JillFit Physiques
So many women feel chained to cardio machines or feel like they need to be at the gym for a minimum of an hour to see results. And when they don’t see results within weeks of exercising regularly, they immediately think the answer is to do more.
For body change, intensity is the tool, not duration. So if your goal is to gain muscle and/or lose fat, time at the gym isn’t as important as intensity. And by nature, intense workouts need to be shorter to reduce the “pacing” effect.
Cardio is great for general mood enhancement and burning some calories, but will have little effect on the *look* of the body. For women who want to look more fit, doing a whole bunch of cardio is a huge mistake. It’s a waste of time.
A weight-training centric routine, short, intense and using heavier weights than feel comfortable is the goal. That, and oh, just be consistent for the next year 😉 A body isn’t made in days, weeks or even months!
Crista Jordan, Women’s Strength and Conditioning Coach at Elevate Athletics.
One of the things I see women struggle with the most is expecting instant results and not getting them. We have to remember our bodies take time to change. You might have a 4 week plateau where NOTHING happens. What!? Why is the scale not changing? Why are my glutes not growing!? We live in such a quick fix society, instant satisfaction or else! Women need to give themselves grace, have patience, and know that these things will come, and it’s not always going to be easy.
Sometimes we put in all our effort and don’t always constantly succeed. Bodies change in months, and they also change in years. But what is this really about? Is it really about the end goal? On the surface it may be about finally reaching that goal weight or having those “perfect” legs but ultimately it is about the journey.
I guess you could say this is a lesson in shifting your mindset. This is about changing life long habits, this is about taking care of you. This is about creating healthy, consistent habits that last a lifetime. Because I guarantee if you have some picture in your head of what you want to look like or some “perfect” weight to obtain and you reach it, that won’t promise you happiness with yourself and who you are.
You won’t get there in a month, or even a year. Love the process, no quick fixes, do it for more than the end goal. THIS is so much more than that!
Michelle Rycroft , Owner at Ripped By Rycroft
It’s interesting when you talk to women about their exercise routine and what they feel they have to do in order to reach their goals. Two things that repeatedly come up in conversation is that they feel like they have to be in the gym for hours and do nothing but cardio in order to “lose weight”. Thankfully there is a better way to accomplish their goals.
For women, the best way to approach exercise is to find an exercise routine that provides the most bang for their buck in the least amount of time. My solution to this is to use full body strength training routines 3-4 times per week. These routines can be designed as quick 20 minute or less metabolic circuits or traditional strength training programs.
The benefit of strength training over cardio is that it increases our metabolism naturally and allows our bodies to be more efficient at reducing body fat in less time. So if you’re looking for that hourglass figure, you need to hit the heavy weights ladies.
Blaire Rummel, Co-Owner at NWB
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Everyone would be sporting a magazine cover worthy body, no one would need a personal trainer, and there would be no need for diets or specialized nutrition plans.
Each body is different and responds to various techniques; another body type might reap the benefits of a methodology that doesn’t quite work for you. It’s frustrating at times because there isn’t one “size that fits all” when it comes to making changes to your body.
Fortunately it’s a lot more productive when we can learn about the common training mistakes we might be making in the gym versus what approach to take in order to necessitate change.
One of the main set backs I see is obsessing and overtraining.
Believe it or not, it’s an actual destructive training mistake you might be making if you are doing too much training. Getting carried away with too much cardio and training sessions can wreak havoc on your musculature and break down your body instead of building lean muscle. Focus on quality over quantity for optimal changes.
Another mistake I see is, falling for fads.
With the barrage of social media images of various athletes and gym-goers using the “latest and greatest” equipment to work out with, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and follow along without question. Unfortunately not all these fads turn into trends and most are about as temporary as a New Year’s resolution. Always do your research and question if a certain piece of equipment or training methodology is right for you.
Adele Jones (that’s me), Owner of The Fit Life
The most common mistakes I see women make are:
Overdoing the cardio and exercise in general.
It is very logical to think that the more exercise you do, the better results you will get. I see women working out for hours on end (usually with cardio), trying to burn more calories thinking that is the answer to their solution. It almost feels like an exercise badge of honor, the more I do the more successful and worthy I will be.
This typically does not work for two reasons. One, women ignore strength training and strip their precious muscle tissue. When you do hours of cardio your body will adapt and become less efficient at doing the same thing. Lean muscle from weight training helps your body burn calories more efficiently throughout the day and improves your quality of life by keeping you strong and functional.
Two, how realistic is it to try to sustain a routine that requires you to workout hours a day. I always encourage women to find a program that fits their lifestyle, that delivers the best results in the least amount of time.
A great way to go about this is using a priority method. If you only have two, 30-40 minute slots to workout a week, choose a weight based training session that uses heavy enough weight to challenge your muscles to fatigue by the end of that set. Going back and forth between exercises with a challenging weight can often have the effect of short cardio like bursts.
If you have an additional 30 minute time slot add training session. If you have another had a short 20 minute interval circuit. If you have another do whatever you damn well please. Dance, yoga, hike, swim. For specific results, it is about prioritizing the most effective type of exercise, not just doing more.
Thank you to all my contributors for their insight and expertise. Be sure to check out their sites to learn more about these fabulous ladies and soak up all the great knowledge they have to share. I will share their Instagram accounts on my feed so be sure to check it out here.