Five common mistakes to avoid while working out

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By contributor Veronique Rioux

Veronique Rioux is a VIU Fitness Instructor who teaches classes for Campus Rec.

1. Only doing cardiovascular exercises

Most people who want to get rid of belly fat will do cardiovascular exercises, like using the treadmill, bike, or the elliptical. Doing cardio is great to get started, but it should not be the only thing you do. I once heard someone say: “A man should train like a woman; men should do cardiovascular exercises because they have more belly fat and die more often from cardiovascular disease. And women should train like men and do weight training workouts; because they have less muscle mass and that would help increase their metabolism.” Only doing cardio will simply create a “skinny fat” version of you. You need to lift weights to increase lean muscle mass, to tone your body, and burn more calories.

2. Don’t spend hours at the gym

I don’t believe in spending endless hours at the gym unless you are training for an intense athletic event or sport; I believe that an hour at the gym is enough. Over the years, I have noticed people taking lots of rests, maybe more rests between sets than the actual workload. I believe in circuit training, interval, tri-set, and superset training. It will maximize the time you have at the gym, will keep your heart rate elevated, and give you better results. Also, doing it every day will have more impact than doing too much and giving up.

3. Get out of your comfort zone

I see people so often at the gym texting while on the treadmill, or using weights too light to see any results. Use your time at the gym wisely. If you do cardiovascular exercises, integrate interval training, and when you lift weight, challenge yourself, use heavier weights, but be conscious of your ability, don’t lift too much.

4. Putting 100 percent effort at the gym with exercise and 0 percent in clean eating might not see the results you want.

If you put 80-90 percent effort in eating clean and 10-20 percent in the gym, you might see the results you are looking for. Cut out refined, processed food, sugar, unhealthy fat from your diet, and stick to a plant-based, low preservative diet as much as possible. Everyone will have different dietary needs, so be mindful of your diet, and do what works best for you.

5. Not setting realistic goals 

People want instant results and that is not realistic. A pound equals 3500 calories, so a pound a week can be realistic. Set up goals that you can achieve and that are realistic. Make time for the gym around your schedule and commit to going to the gym regularly. If you go two to three times a week, then stop going, you will not see the results you are hoping for.

Veronique Rioux will be at weight training room, helping students with their training for free Tuesdays and Thursdays 7:30–8:30 pm starting at the end of January. Fitness classes start on Monday January 23, 2017.  To register online: <viu.ca/campusrec/registration.asp> or at the  gym.