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Avoid Common Fitness Pitfalls
by Lynn Bode

While exercising isn't complicated, it's very easy to make mistakes. Often times the mistakes are made because of lack of proper technique, training or simply due to rushing to get the workout completed. Regardless of the reason for the mistakes, they can lead to injuries, or at the very least be counter-productive to your fitness goals.

(Article continued below.)

Of course it's important to know specifically what to do to be successful at meeting your health and fitness goals, but it is also crucial to understand what not to do. So take note of the following common mistakes and how to avoid them. These tips will help ensure your workout time is effective and help prevent injuries.

Too Much, Too Soon
Many new exercisers try to lose weight or tone up too quickly by exercising too frequently or trying exercise programs that are too difficult for their fitness level. Be sure to start with an exercise plan that takes your current fitness regimen (or lack thereof) into account.

Pie In The Sky Goals
Despite what many advertisers would like you to believe, it's unrealistic to think you can lose 30 pounds in 30 days or that you can have Hollywood abs simply by doing 10 minutes of crunches a day. It's good to set goals but be sure they aren't too aggressive and realize it's okay to periodically re-define them.

Ignoring Expert Advice
It's always advisable to consult your physician before starting an exercise program. Working with a fitness professional is also a good idea so you can learn proper technique, the latest fitness information, and learn how to avoid injuries.

Over-Exercising
If you start to feel overwhelmed, neglect important daily activities in order to work out, or repeatedly get injured, then it might be due to exercising too frequently. Realize the importance of balance, and that more is not always better. Consider reducing the frequency of your workouts or the intensity of some of them, and periodically resting for a few days or a week.

Improper Breathing
Sure, breathing is an involuntary bodily function, something that most individuals tend to ignore. But breathing correctly during fitness sessions is very important. Incorrect breathing can lead to lack of oxygen and even faintness. When working out ensure that you don't breathe too shallowly and try to breathe through the nose and out the mouth.

Selecting the Wrong Weight Size
Choosing the proper weight size when strength training is trickier then it sounds. Lifting weights that are too heavy for you can lead to improper form and ultimately to injuries. Use weights that are too light and the exercise session can be ineffective. If possible consult a fitness trainer to determine the correct amount of weight for your size, strength and goals. A trainer can also help you develop a plan for safely progressing forward on weight sizes.

Not Staying Hydrated
Drinking enough water on a daily basis is important. When you exercise you need to consume even more water. You should drink 16 ounces for every hour of exercise you complete. Plus you should try to consume 1-2 cups of water about 30 minutes before you begin working out.

Eating Too Little
No, that's not a typo. Not eating enough can be as detrimental as eating too much. When the body is not fed consistently, it goes into starvation mode. Five to six smaller meals, evenly spaced throughout the day, helps keep the metabolism running smoothly. Just be sure to control portion size.

Hanging Out Instead of Working Out
Just showing up at the gym is not going to help you get more fit. Socializing while leaning on a weight machine won't build muscles. It's important to enjoy your exercise time but make sure that the focus remains on physical activity.

Fixating on the Scale
If you think the scale doesn't lie, consider this: many professional athletes would be considered obese based on their weight alone. Look at the bigger and more relevant picture. Monitor your body fat percentage, if possible. Otherwise track measurements. Also don't underestimate the importance of improved physical and mental wellbeing.

About The Author:
Lynn Bode is a certified personal trainer specializing in Internet-based fitness programs. She founded Workouts For You, which provides affordable online exercise programs that are custom designed for each individual. Visit: http://www.workoutsforyou.com for a free sample workout and to sign-up for their monthly fitness newsletter. Fitness professionals take your business online, visit: http://www.trainerforce.com

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