HAVE you been working out diligently, yet still not seeing the desired results? Could it be that while you're spending countless hours in the gym, you are not doing the exercises exactly right?
Well, if that sounds vaguely familiar, then check out this list of common fitness errors.
* Dumbbell Swinging. You think you're doing some serious dumbbell curls, but in actuality you are just swinging the dumbbells. Aside from the fact that you could possibly injure yourself, the momentum of swinging the dumbbells is doing little to nothing to strengthen and tone your bicep muscles.
To correct this problem, you need to control the weight and not let the weight control you. So, instead of furiously swinging the weights, give yourself a two-second count when curling the weight and a five-second count on the down.
* The Big Gripper. You love the elliptical machine and insist on gripping the railing for dear life, or you hug the console with your upper body draped across the top. Not only is this bad form, but it significantly reduces your cardiovascular benefits and calorie burn.
Maintain proper posture while exercising on the elliptical, and if you use the hand rails at all, it should be a light touch - not a death grip.
* White Knuckle Incline. Walking on the treadmill on an incline certainly has benefits and will actually engage more of your muscles and have you working harder. That is, as long as you are not white knuckling the top of the treadmill and holding on for dear life.
I see so many people with the treadmill at the highest incline holding on and basically being dragged up hill by the machine. Aside from being pointless, you could potentially do some harm to your knees or wrists with this ill-formed technique.
It is far better to lower the incline and speed to a level you can manage with proper form. Keep your abs engaged and maintain proper posture while using the treadmill.
* The Spot Reducer. It never fails: I always see some woman wrapping up her midsection with plastic wrap or putting on the dreaded sauna suit and then sitting in the hot sauna for hours. Again, this is pointless, and you are not losing a single pound. Human beings are about 70 percent water, and as soon as you rehydrate that water weight is back again.
So, skip this self-defeating and dangerous practice and sweat it out on the gym floor where you can really make a difference.
* You exercise but neglect your diet. Many people complain that they exercise all the time but just can't seem to shake those excess pounds. The harsh reality is, those extra pounds are hanging on because you are either consciously or unconsciously overeating. Unfortunately, no amount of exercise can replace poor nutrition. If your diet isn't right, you're not going to be tight. Bad nutrition will annihilate all of the best exercise intentions.
If your goal is weight loss, proper nutrition is a must. No doubt, bad nutrition will hold you back, but good nutrition will get you noticed.
* You diet but don't exercise. Dieting alone is another recipe for disaster. While it is true that dieting is roughly 80 percent of weight loss, the 20 percent that is exercise is essential for maintaining your balance, flexibility, cardio, strength, shape and tone.
With that said, permanent weight loss requires a lifetime commitment to both diet and exercise.
* Workout Rut. We all seek comfort, and this is especially true at the gym. Many if not most people love to stick to their favorite fitness class or gym routine. Why try something new, when this is so much fun, right?
Well, in order to stay fresh we really do need to mix it up and be a little more adventurous with our workouts. So, once you hit a personal plateau, switch up the duration, intensity, sets, reps, weight or exercises.
Kimberly Garrison is a wellness coach and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia. Her column appears Wednesdays.