It’s OK to cheat on your workouts every now and again. If you look at it like I do…cheating a little on your workout is better than not working out at all! Here are some common “cheats” and if it’s a good idea to do them:
Stopping to walk during your run. DO IT! It will actually help you run further, burn more calories and prevent injuries. Just try not to stop for a walk more than 2-3 times during a 30 minute run.
Not Stretching Before A Workout. GO FOR IT! Stretching before a workout hasn’t been proven to benefit you in any way. Stretching afterwards can boost strength, prevent injury and increase your range of motion. If you feel you need to do “something” before your workout-dynamic movements are the way to go. They are far more effective in “priming” your muscles for action. Movements such as arm swings and butt kicks are good dynamic movements to try to get you warmed up!
Skipping The Last 3 Reps. BAD IDEA. Those final reps are where the magic happens. You actually have to stress your muscles to get them to change. Your final reps should always be challenging, but not to the point that you strain or hurt yourself doing them. If this is the case you should switch to a lower weight, so that you’re still challenged, but not “killing” yourself to finish.
Resting Longer Than The Suggested Time During A Circuit. GOOD IDEA! Many circuits call for short rests-usually 30-60 seconds, BUT if you are struggling after a hard set, take an extra 30 seconds. This will benefit you in your next circuit, allowing you to complete it with perfect form without compromising your calorie burn.
Exercising When You Are Dead Tired. NOT GOOD! If you are sleep deprived you lose less body fat and more lean muscle mass, not to mention you’re not focused on proper form which ups your chance for injury. Commit to doing ½ your normal workout, you never know you might have a boost of energy to get you thru the rest of it. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started.
Leaving Class Before Cool down. IT’S OK! The walk to the locker room or out to the car is sufficient to get your body temperature back down to normal. Sitting or standing still immediately after a workout however is not a good idea, this could cause your blood to pool in your extremities-making you cramp up or even faint!
Blowing Off Lower Body Strength Training. DON’T DO IT! During cardio your leg muscles only get partially worked out. Muscles like to work in pairs so when you do the same cardio workouts you work the same muscles all the time and their “partner” gets neglected. Pairing your cardio workout with strength training corrects that imbalance so you stay injury free and you get great looking legs as a bonus!
Not Drinking Water During Your Workout. IT DEPENDS! Unless you are doing a MAJOR sweat session or working out for more than one hour you can totally get away with drinking at least 6oz before your workout and 10oz after.